Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Would You Like Fries With That?

One of the things I hate most about our consumerist society is automated/scripted responses from front-line customer service staff.

During my lunch break today, I visited the Post Office and my bank.

Having paid for postage at the Post Office, I was asked: "Would you like to top up a mobile phone today?"

I don't have a pay as you go mobile phone. And if I did, I would probably top it up when I needed to, not when the Post Office gonk asked me.

This was in a busy Aberdeen city centre Post Office, with a huge queue of folk, presumably some of whom were there during their lunch breaks.

If this exchange takes five seconds per customer, even if the Post Office gonk is only serving one customer every five minutes, that's still a minute wasted every hour. Over an eight-hour day, that gonk could have served an additional 1.6 customers.

The elderly woman next to me was asked the same question: "Would you like to top up a mobile phone today?"

She may as well have been asked if she'd like to discombobulate her Higgs Boson particles. The gonk asked the question three times before giving up and assuming that the elderly lady didn't have a mobile phone in urgent need of top-uppery.

Then in the bank, having paid in some cash, I was asked if I had a mortgage, the bank gonk having presumably snooped through my account and noticed that if I did, it certainly wasn't with them.

"Yes, thank you" I replied.

"It's not with us, is it?"

"No, it's not"

"Would you like us to arrange an appointment to discuss our mortgage options with you?"

"No thank you"

I really do wish that gonks weren't forced to rattle off this sales spiel every time a customer crossed their path.

In a previous life, I worked in a call centre, and we had a scripted response when we answered a call: "Can I have your reference number please?"

[Customer searches for reference number, quotes their own phone number then their meter reading. Finally sources the reference number.]

"Thank you Mr McHughy. I see you have an outstanding balance of £23,675 on your account. Are you calling to pay that by debit card today?"

Cue Mr McHughy launching into an apopleptic fit during which he invents several new swearwords.

But my own personal favourite [and it is a favourite - it defied belief so much] was when I called T-Mobile to advise them I was leaving and would like my PAC code so I could transfer my number to a new provider.

"Hi, I'd like my PAC code please"

"OK, can I just ask why you're thinking of leaving us?"

"Because I've moved to Argyll and I don't get a T-Mobile signal in my house."

"It's just that, because you've been a long-term customer, we could offer you a good incentive to stay. We can offer 500 free minutes per month and 500 free texts."

"That sounds great, but unfortunately I wouldn't be able to use the free minutes or free texts as I have no T-Mobile signal in my house."

"Well, we could extend that to 750 minutes and 750 texts..."

"Which again sounds great, but unless you're also going to build a mast in my back garden, I'm afraid I'll still have to say no."

Modern society - I truly do despair sometimes...


Ian Jamieson said...

Something similar is when I get calls from PPI agents who want me to make a claim although I've never had PPI.

'Think hard, sir. Have you ever had a credit card, loan, or mortgage that may possible have had PPI?'


Keep up the great blogging.

Adullamite said...

I am followed when I go into the local WH Smiths, this since I indicated to the aged bat what she could do the chocolate she attempted to shove onto me.

Mike Smith said...

Heard in Govan. 'Can I ask why you're leaving us?'

'Because we're skint and you've kicked us out of the league...'

Anonymous said...

... of all of us who have blogged, laughed, and cackled, you are still the only one churning along........

... you are doing well, young man....... I am smiling.....


Groanin' Jock said...

"Churning" is probably the best verb to describe what passes for a creative process around these parts nowadays...