Monday, June 27, 2005

Customer disservice

I called my health insurance company a little while ago, and at the end of a successful customer service transaction, the representative cheerfully said, "I have one more question for you today: Did I just provide you with world-class customer service?" I said sure, not wanting to hurt her feelings, but thought: Well, that's a bit of an overreach, isn't it? World class customer service? Is there some sort of an international standard here? Are there customer service Olympics that I haven't heard about? Then again, compared to the couple of phone calls I made after that, maybe "world class" wasn't too much of a stretch after all. One company took me through a 15-minute chain of electronic menus to complete my transaction, and the other has kept me on hold for ... well, going on 5 minutes now. Perhaps a live human being, a short wait, and a brisk and competent transaction is what passes for the gold standard in customer service these days. Too bad the reason I had to call them in the first place was because they accidentally sent out a whole batch of cancellation letters to folks who weren't actually cancelled.

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