• March 23, 2020
  • By Leonard Klie, Editor, CRM magazine and SmartCustomerService.com

Don't Use Coronavirus as an Excuse for Service That Has Always Sucked

I've been having problems logging into one of my personal email accounts for the past few days. I tried to call customer/technical support line for the company--one of the largest telecommunications companies in the world. None was listed anywhere on the company's website.

After some exhaustive searches on Google, I finally found a toll-free number, and started calling yesterday afternoon.  The first thing you hear when you dial is a recording saying that call wait times may be longer than usual because of coronavirus. I sat there on hold for more than two hours, and no one ever answered. I called again several other times throughout the evening, each with the same result.

I began calling again this morning, still with the same result. After more than three hours (and counting) on hold today, and about five hours yesterday, my patience is gone. I'm done. I'm leaving the company for sure.

I'm generally a patient person and am usually willing to put up with a lot before I lash out in frustration. But this is just inexcusable. I might expect such bad service from a small start-up that doesn't have a lot of people or resources. But this is one of the largest phone/Internet/TV companies in the world. You mean to tell me a company like this couldn't set up a few agents to work at home and take a few calls? In just the past few days, I've written many stories about contact center vendors offering to help set up contact centers for remote work in two days or less. It should be a piece of cake for this company to do.

The company's customer service has been notoriously bad for years, long before coronavirus ever started disrupting our lives. Don't try to use coronavirus now as an excuse. You can't try to use the global pandemic to garner sympathy from a customer base that has been ignored for years.

Let me apologize in advance to the poor customer service agent who eventually picks up the phone, if that ever happens. I'm likely to unleash a stream of expletives that would require me to go to confession ASAP. Oh, wait, the churches are all closed, too, so I guess I'll just have to live with the guilt until the coronavirus pandemic is over.

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