Christmas has come and gone. All those high-tech gadgets and doodads have been bought, opened and… what’s that? Broken or with missing parts? Gasp! What now? What do you do? Do you cry? Weep uncontrollably, curled up in the fetal position? Do you call 9-1-1? Or do you do what most normal people do and bravely attempt to dial a hopefully knowledgeable and friendly customer service representative? You’re not alone. As a result, many of us are all too familiar with the scenes that play out in Discover’s “Peggy” credit card commercials. You know the ones. You call up with a question and find yourself talking in circles without coming to a resolution. But who’s resolution is the priority here, yours, or the company you’re calling?
Has anyone else noticed how the new millennium has seemingly brought about the downfall of customer service? I’ve certainly noticed. I myself had issues comparable to that of Jeff Jarvis. Jarvis purchased what would be a faulty laptop from Dell, and despite having a four-year coverage plan, getting his concerns addressed and problems solved was anything other than blissful. During a time when blog readership was finally reaching relevance, Jarvis wrote a blog post that resonated across an empathetic Web community to such a degree that even corporate giant Dell was brought to its knees (socially speaking, of course). As a result, Dell restructured its online presence to what it is today, and made a strong, vocal push to listen to their customers in order to avoid the possibility of another Dell Hell incident.
Before Jarvis, Dell and other companies didn’t necessarily need to listen to a single complaint (due to a lack of a social community, ready and willing to share their experiences). Let me pose a question: have things truly improved, or has a new layer of smoke and mirrors been installed to give the appearance of change?