Why Customer Service is Only Effective in Person

Posted on 02. Aug, 2006 by in Business

I suppose this title isn’t entirely true. Sometimes reaching customer service via telephone can be a successful experience if you happen to get the representative that knows what they’re talking about or can somehow get transferred to a manager. However, I wanted to focus more on other forms of customer service communication – namely chat and email.

Why is email (and instant messenger) a horrible way to contact customer service? I’ve broken it down into a few reasons:

  • No matter how much you write about your problem, error messages, and steps taken to fix it… NOBODY READS IT
  • If the customer service rep doesn’t really want to deal with your problem all he/she has to do is send you a canned reply. By the time you respond to the worthless advice your new email will reach a different customer service rep. No accountability.
  • It is next to impossible to talk to a manager.
  • The rep can’t hear your frustration, anger, and malice toward them. And you can’t hear the rep eating his bacon double cheeseburger while watching his favorite youTube videos.
  • The time between responses can take 10 minutes (via chat) or 3 days (via email). If you have a quick follow-up questions you can pretty much forget it.

Let me give you a recent example of the ineffectiveness of emailing customer service.

A few days ago (3 to be exact) I wrote to the customer service department at the US Postal Service. Since I’ll me be moving soon – but only to a “temporary” home until my permanent one is found – I had a few questions about forwarding my mail twice within such a short period of time. In my email I explained my situation in as much detail as possible. I then asked a series of questions regarding mail forwarding – hoping that at least one of them would be answered. Well, three days later (today) I received this response:

Thank you for visiting our website. It is my understanding that you would like to file for a Change of Address.

I regret that I am unable to process your Change of Address via email. Change of Address request may be submitted in any one of the following ways:

– For a $1.00 verification fee, a domestic Change of Address can be filed online (https://moversguide.usps.com). If you prefer not to pay the $1.00 processing fee, you will be offered the option to print and mail a Change of Address Order.
– For a $1.00 verification fee, a domestic Change of Address request can be filed by telephone (1-800-275-8777).
– You can pick up a Change of Address card at the local Post Office.

Once the card is filled out completely (both sides) and signed, the form may be submitted to the local Post Office, handed to the carrier, or dropped into a collection box (no postage is necessary for a Change of Address card). I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

After you have notified the USPS® of your change of address, it could take up to ten postal business days for mail to begin arriving at your new address.

If I can be of assistance to you in the future, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Thank you for choosing the United States Postal Service.

Regards,

Sovier D

Do you see the problem now with emailing customer service? Sovier D didn’t read one word I wrote! I didn’t want to file for a change of address – I can do that online in 5 minutes. What I did have were about 5 questions regarding the mail forwarding process that never got answered. Now I’m going to have to call or stop by the post office to ask my question… something I should have done at the beginning.

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