Friday, September 2, 2011

What Happened to Proper Telephone Etiquette??? A Rant...

PhoneImage by Pete Prodoehl via FlickrI don't know about you, but when I was in school, and later in business, I was taught how to properly handle a business call...


Now with so many forms of electronic messaging, it is getting worse...but, the business call is still the one that puts me on the edge...


First, I admit...the frustration level  for Mindless Bureaucracy within business is extremely low for me...Why? Because I worked for over 40 years, faced job burnout during that period...and...well, that's enough of that for now...


Here's what normally happens these days:

Caller: Hello, may I speak to Glenda  - This normally comes from a woman, very friendly, like, I'm just calling to talk... yeah...

...sometimes Glenda Bixler or Mrs. Bixler (of course, no caller checks your marital status, that takes time and interest in the one you are calling...and, oh my, using Ms. just doesn't work for most men...

Immediately, I am on alert...I go into my own professional mode...

My Response: Who is Calling please?

This is Graham Smyth... Sometimes, but not always a company name is given...all of this very fast or mumbled and you know that the individual has not been properly trained...and too often not able to be understood, seemingly irritated that I dare ask who was calling???

If I do not understand, I ask for repetition until I definitely know who it is...If I'm not able to understand the caller...you got it, I hang up! 

My Response: Yes? (If I'm willing to accept the call)


Is this Glenda Bixler?


Seriously, folks, you've already wasted my time...if I was not the individual talking, I would have already said "Just a moment." Right? Why must I confirm that you are talking to me, especially since you would have never told me your name/company if I hadn't asked??? Am I right?


And this is just the opening interactions...most times thereafter it gets worse!


One key point for me: If you have called my home, it is YOUR responsibility to create the business connection. Most people answer home phones with "hello" so it is important that the business caller identify him/herself immediately!


~~~


Yes, I'm on that list of "Do Not Call" for solicitation!


Nowadays, this is what companies are doing to get around that... (after the same opening as above, of course)


I'm from Brand X Company or XYZ Charitable Organization...


Of course, I have an immediate response prepared, "I'm not interested."


Oh, we're not selling anything (or asking for money), we'd like to ask you some research questions!


You know, I recently had a bank officer tell me that in order to NOT receive his calls, I had to sign up for Privacy! Gee, I thought I already had privacy...especially in my home... But you should realize that if you are doing any form of business with a company, then they have TOTAL access to you...
...............................


Why doesn't this happen anymore?


Hello, this is Jane Smith, from America's Best Credit Card Services. I'd like to speak to Glenda Bixler...


My Response: Speaking


Ms. Bixler, I need to discuss a question with your account, do you have time to talk now?




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Ok, here's my rant: I just got a call from a credit card company. I had not activated the card that was sent to me. I told the individual calling that I had also not activated any previous cards (and in fact I had cancelled years ago - or maybe not, because - I might have expected action on the email I would have sent!

Sooooo, today, after explaining I had not activated any of the cards for years, I was told with irritation "Well, you still have an account!" My immediate reaction was, "Well cancel it!"

"I can't...you must call..." Later, as she was getting nasty... "I cannot transfer your call..."

I have given up stating when I've sent an email to their online customer service group... I use email to have a record of my own actions. I have, unfortunately, learned that customer service is, for the most part, nonexistent...It is so bad generally that you are pleasantly SURPRISED when somebody efficiently and courteously handles your contact...

What Mindless Bureaucracy! In large companies it is deplorably worse. What happened to customer service...or "the customer is always right"...?

Not These Days in the U.S.!



If the customer does not initiate every single action, then...hey, that is the customer's fault... Just because I was calling you regarding activating your card, that does not mean I should be able to ensure your account has really been cancelled...and we are such an important company that we don't want to take the time to transfer your call... it's better for you to call direct so if our lines are busy...then you have to keep calling back and I won't be bothered with dealing with somebody else's job...


~~~~~


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Recently, I decided to purchase/start  a "diet program." optimistically thinking this would (1) save me shopping time since the food would be delivered... (2) save me money, since the huge cost (with promotional discount seemed to be about what I purchased monthly anyhow... and (3) it would save me daily time since food would be readily available and easily "nuked"...


Several things happened, I had signed up online, choosing email as my preferred contact mode (remember I like to have a record of my contact) and I optimistically signed up for auto-delivery...Reader Alert, be fearful of seemingly good deals...)


The product was to be delivered in two separate shipments because I had selected to have frozen entrees at a higher cost...so I decided to wait until I had the complete order before beginning. In the meantime I started reading the packet. One item was not in the box, so I immediately sent an email... (You guessed it, days later a return email told me to call...)


As I continued to read, I realized, contrary to what I thought it would be) that most of the entrees did not include vegetables...Nearly all vegetables and fruit had to be purchased in addition to what the program provided - so quick recalculation, I would be spending MORE per month for food...


Then I got the call that the frozen food was to be delivered. I decided to begin...and faithfully carried the little booklet  to complete as I sat down for breakfast of tea and a muffin...(you can do this online, which would be even more time-consuming!) That's when I realized that I was expected to eat 6 times a day! Had I not chose this program, thinking it would save prep time???


Now, I'm a single woman as you all know. Buying fruit and vegetables for one is very expensive--you rarely can consume what you purchase without it going bad first! So I had started to purchase Bistro salads...they are generally fresh, have a small size dressing measured out, a little chopped ham or egg, or other items...a very good choice, by the way...


Anyway, the book indicated your should eat this or that for one meal, versus the next, versus the next... So if I ate a salad as above, I really should have been eating the protein (meat) with breakfast, for instance...Beginning to get the picture? You got it...by the time that day was over I had spent that entire day trying to keep track and follow and divide food out into six slots of the day! Needless to say this program, which was preset and might work for many people...would NOT save me time and would drive me crazy (I do know myself!)...


At the end of the day when I opened the last (6th) selection, I chose popcorn...It was stale... Indeed 90% or more if you don't choose to pay for the frozen choices (which, by the way, you had no ability to choose) of the food is boxed or canned. Some is quite good; others not...


There was one other issue for me. Having a month's food was a lot more than I had planned for storage, or to say it better, I have very little storage space where I live and trying to find some place to stash a month's supply was difficult if I didn't want to just leave it in the box and shove it in a corner or sit on top of my dining table....


By the end of the first day...I knew this was not going to work for me...Not only did I not save money and time, I was forced into more time consumption than ever before...


Now...first...do you think I had, first, thought about going into a program such as this...and, do you think I had valid reasons for immediately deciding that the program would not work for me? I do, so if you don't, I'd like to hear and talk about it...


Because, you wouldn't believe what I had to go through to get OUT of the program! Want to know more?










Seriously folks...am I exaggerating? Do I expect too much in relation to how I am treated as a customer/consumer? Am I the one with the problem...or...






This is a "Wild Card" posting! Tell me what you think!

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