Several subsequent experiences have served to convince me that some large companies do not direct energy, resources, and training toward maintaining a high level of customer service despite the fact that it is the customer who keeps the bottom line healthy and the shareholder happy. Here are a couple of them.
I hold a credit card that allows me to collect points and redeem them for travel or other rewards through the auspices of a large travel rewards organization. For this privilege, and others, I pay a fee of $120 per year. In January of this year I used 90,000 rewards points, all accumulated through purchases rather than airline travel, purchases made over a few years, to book a return flight
When we arrived in Maui after a long and often frustrating day of travel, we discovered after standing for 45 minutes beside the luggage carousel that our bags had been left in
The frustration that we experience in these kinds of customer service breakdowns is primarily the result of the simple fact that in spite of what we may have paid, in spite of the time we have spent, in spite of the promises of the company with which we are dealing, we are throughout the process able to exercise little or no control over our situation and in the end are unable to receive satisfaction. A $25 gift certificate and a few apologies made by telephone and e-mail do not make up for the treatment I endured in that department store. A $100 travel voucher, virtually useless to us, does not come close to compensating for the loss of at least one day of our vacation. Nor do they affect the company enough to give the customer the confidence that such egregious failures to provide basic service will be seriously addressed. The companies are fully aware that most customers will not take their complaints any further once they have received “compensation.”
The bank recently replaced my credit card due to an unauthorized charge of some three hundred dollars made on my old card. I received the new card within a day of reporting the fraudulent transaction. Unfortunately, the new card was not linked to my online banking service, so I was unable to see recent transaction or to access recent or past e-statements. I called the bank and was treated most kindly and my problem corrected instantly. However, when I went back online to view my e-statement, I again could not gain access to it, so I called the bank a second time, only to be connected with an agent who was unable to understand my problem, no doubt partly because she continually interrupted me when I tried to explain it to her. Finally I was able to speak to a very pleasant person in Online Banking Assistance, who apologized profusely and then advised me that he would send an e-mail to the relevant department and that the situation would be corrected—in five business days or less! Naturally, I protested and was again greeted with profuse and sincere apologies but no promise of acceleration toward action on my issue. I was helpless. That same morning I had read online that the bank was showering its shareholders with unprecedented dividends thanks to record profits.
In this case, at least, my problem was corrected the next day.