Money & Career

Have you ever lost it with a customer service rep?

According to the 2011 Global Customer Service Barometer put out by American Express, 61% of us have lost our temper with customer service representatives – and most of us would prefer to go on holiday with our in-laws than spend time dealing with customer service departments.

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Have you ever lost your temper with a customer service representative? I sure have – and I’m not alone. According to the 2011 Global Customer Service Barometer put out by American Express, 61% of us have lost our tempers with customer service representatives – and most of us would prefer to go on holiday with our in-laws than spend time dealing with customer service departments.

I’m not proud of the times I’ve lost my cool. It never gets me what I want and under normal circumstances I am a very polite person. But there are times when trying to get what you need from a company feels like bashing your head against a wall repeatedly.

Like the time last December when our furnace died and we called to get that “front of line service” we’d paid for under our home heating protection plan (for $21.99 a month at that).

We were indeed offered service—a repair appointment in three days’ time.

It was minus 10 outside.

After several minutes of telling the customer service agent that I had an infant at home and that their Web site guaranteed fast repair service, I was getting nothing back except a script: “I apologize for the inconvenience” and “we are experiencing high call volumes right now” and “no manager is here right now for you to speak to but I can have someone call you back tomorrow.” 

By the end of the conversation I found myself yelling – then I put my husband on the phone and he yelled some more. Then they hung up.

Experiences of poor customer service like this are all too common in Canada. And it’s getting to us. According to the survey, we’re tired of being fed scripted answers and put on hold. We’re even willing to pay more for good service in the end. 

As for us, our furnace actually kicked back on in the middle of the night, thankfully. We still have no idea what happened. We finally did got a call back from our home service plan provider….in April of the following year. They wanted to follow up on our request for a service call.

At least they called back, right? 

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