Customer Lack-of-Service in America

My blood pressure has been skyrocketing the last few weeks.

And that is because in the last few weeks I have had to make phone calls to either technical support or customer service for the following types of businesses:

Wireless Phone Service
The Post Office
Two online retailers dealing in stop-smoking products
Email provider
Mail courier service
Cable TV company
Regular phone company
Software company
Credit card company

I almost never spoke to a person that I could completely understand.  On NEARLY EVERY occasion I had to ask the person to whom I was speaking, to repeat what he or she was saying.  Sometimes I had to ask for them to repeat it 3 or 4 times before I finally said “I’m sorry, I have no idea what you are saying”.

On top of that, even when I could understand the person to whom I was speaking, chances were good that they had ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA what they were talking about.

Between the poor English, the poor customer service skills, and the poor knowledge of the product or service in question, I don’t understand how American companies can last.  For a long time, I think, people have been putting up with bad service and poor English because they thought they were getting a deal.  But let’s face it.  We all know it and sometimes refuse to admit it; YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR.

I know how to speak some Spanish, Italian, French, and know a bit about Latin and German; so foreign languages are not so foreign to me.  And I don’t feel like I”m some ignorant, self-centered American.  To me, there’s almost no such thing as “American”.  We all come from somewhere else if you go back far enough.

But, WHY THE HELL DO I HAVE TO PUT UP WITH THIS CRAP.  When I am calling a company for assistance, or technical support, or to purchase an item IN THIS COUNTRY, how can it be that I don’t understand a damned thing they are saying.

I know we’re all supposed to be politically correct, but too bad, I”ve had ENOUGH.  I have started just hanging up on people, or asking to speak to somebody else, or I’ll call back, or I’ll ask for a manager.  I refuse to put up with this anymore.

And going forward, whenever possible. I will not purchase anything from a company that does not provide the best customer service for the particular product or service I am buying.

And I am asking all of you to do this:  when you make or receive a call from a customer service person or tech support person and you can’t understand them, or you are struggling to understand them, say to that person “please let me speak to somebody who can speak English that I can understand”.  I don’t think there is anything wrong with that.

If I moved to Japan, and took a job as a customer service person at a Japanese cellular company, and my Japanese was so bad that the local Japanese people calling could not understand me, would I really be surprised if they asked to speak to someone with better language skills?  Or would I be surprised to get fired?  NO !   I would not !!

So why, then, I ask you, is it OK for this to be true here in America.  Yes we are a melting pot, and people emigrate here from all over the world.  But they need to learn English and learn it well. before taking a job where they are dealing with the public.

And who do I blame for this?  American companies.  The cheaper they CAN do it, the cheaper they WILL do it, regardless as to whether it’s the right thing to do or not.  And Americans will PUT UP WITH IT.

In my experience, the ONLY company who has made some changes in the area is AT&T.  If you call regular AT&T Wireless customer service during regular business hours, you are likely to get someone in this country who can speak English.  So, for now I’m going to stay with them.  As for the rest – SCREW ‘EM.  There no sense in “buying American” when American companies don’t “buy American” when the stock their customer service shelves.


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