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Thursday, December 01, 2005

Be forewarned, another email rant coming on…

I’m all for the wizardry of electronic communications and convenience, however I am getting increasingly bothered by the way it is destroying courteous service and common sense.

Have you noticed how the bigger, more successful, and more techno-savvy a business gets, the harder it is to do business with them? Of course you have.

First automated voice systems made it nearly impossible to ever call a company and get a human voice on the phone. If you did, they usually weren’t able to help you, for they couldn’t circumvent what their fancy electronics did either.

Now we can handle a myriad of business online — but only if what we need done has already been programmed into some data base first. Heaven help us if we need some assistance a programmer hasn’t already predetermined a self-help path of pull-down menus and mouse clicks for.

This is my most recent pet peeve, and its frequency is getting frightening. It’s no longer the exception to the rule; it is the norm. It is the automated email response.

This is the scenario: Your transaction with a company somehow goes wrong, and you use their email link to customer service, describing your situation in great detail, and providing them with every possible bit of could-be-pertinent information you can. This is what you get back:


Greetings from _____

Blah Blah Blah

I.E. one of our standard responses for a situation similar to yours which ignores all the other information you gave us in your email.

Please let us know if this e-mail resolved your question:

If yes, click here:

http://www.ifyesclickhere. (I changed these and they don’t work)

If not, click here:

http://www.ifnoclickhere. (but you get the idea.)

Best regards,

Member Services

Why don’t they just write back what this really says to us?

“We will provide you with an email address to customer service, but you have to play by our rules. We are very protective of whatever overburdened real people we may employ in Customer Service, so if we don’t fix your problem on the first try, we’ll have to make sure you can’t email us back with your evidence documented in the same email string. If we happen to make you angry about that, well sorry, we just have to take that chance. We’re a big company, we don’t really need to make problem children customers happy anyway.”
Oh yeah? We’ll see about that. I am already plotting your downfall.

Amen to that, Rosa. At least some of them tell you "Don't reply to this email, this is an unmonitored mailbox."

I am particularly fond of companies who have different policies depending on who you deal with.

My favorite one this week was from my famous blog hosting company.

I sent in a question to the designated place to send questions (the answering place; not the ignoring place). I received an EMAIL response telling me that I needed to forward my email to another email address at their company to get it resolved.

WHY couldn't THEY have just forwarded my email to that address?!?
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