June 30, 2012

What Is Customer Service?

I've been working in some form of customer service role for the better part of my entire work career. Everything from McDonalds at 16 to my current position as a tech rep and everything in between. Over the years, I've watched, listened and learned. Not just from fellow employees, but from customers.

It's gotten to the point, that I can take the average irate customer and calm them down and help solve their issues. The ones who don't, oh well.

Not to my surprise, I read an article today based on the, The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) reports. The company I currently work for was ranked the in the top 15 most hated companies in the US out of 255. Damn were shooting for the stars here.

Upon further reading, it states we plummeted 6% to an industry low of 66 out of 100 points for landline customer service. The best part about this? The companies only three fucking years old. Guess that's what happens when you get bought out by greed.

Here's the thing though. The company has a set of so called "Unifying Principles." A set of what you might say are ethics, that it's supposed to stand by.  But alas, the employees can't even get the board, supervisors or anyone to stand by them. Even the company as a whole doesn't stand by them. Let's have a look at them, (they can be found on the companies website).

Fairness – The Golden Rule
We will strive to:
• Exercise fairness in all dealings with customers.
• Treat business associates fairly in all transactions.
• Compensate and promote employees in an equitable manner.
• Be fair in efforts to meet and exceed the expectations of our shareholders.
• Treat others as we would like to be treated.
 

Honesty and Integrity
We will:
• Be truthful in all dealings with customers, employees, shareholders, business associates and the general public.
• Strive to conduct ourselves in a manner that will merit the respect of customers, employees, shareholders, business
associates and the general public.
 

Commitment to Excellence
We will strive to:
• Provide high-quality services and products in an efficient manner.
• Deliver the best possible customer experience.
• Provide favorable long-term value to our shareholders.
 

Positive Attitude
We will strive to:
• Emphasize the positive in all dealings with customers, employees, shareholders, business associates and the general
public.
• Approach every task in a positive manner with energy and enthusiasm.
 

Respect
We will strive to:
• Maintain genuine concern for fellow employees, customers, shareholders and business associates.
• Recognize and respect each employee, each customer, each shareholder and each business associate as an
individual.
 

Faith
We will strive to:
• Maintain confidence in our abilities as individuals to fulfill our assigned responsibilities.
• Trust in the capabilities of our company leaders and fellow employees.
• Have confidence that the strength of our combined, collaborative efforts will lead us to fulfill our company mission.
 

Perseverance
We will strive to:
• Continue to work toward our mission, goals and objectives in spite of obstacles and in a manner consistent with our
Unifying Principles.


I can say with a good amount of certainty, these are a load of crock. Why is that? Well...

The company no longer gives new employees adequate training. Most of the new hires don't know anything about their job when they get out of maybe a week, two at most now of training. When I started, we had six weeks. We knew what we were doing when we hit the floor. They don't hire anyone with any computer skills for the tech positions. Most of the new hires in the tech positions can't even run a computer.

We have customers in permanent bandwidth exhausts because they won't spend the money to upgrade the infrastructure. We have customers in bandwidth exhausts that have been going on over 6 months and in some cases over a year. Why? They won't spend the money to fix it. Yet they will charge you full price for the service you don't get. And keep funneling money into new projects that they can't even get running smoothly. On top of that, the sales reps try to sell you higher speeds either knowing you wont get it, but they get sales credit. Or not knowing you can't get it because they were never properly trained.

If you have our IPTV service, you get preferential treatment when it comes to dispatches. Meaning, your dispatches takes precedence over someone who doesn't have the IPTV service, even though they had tickets in first.But you don't get decent troubleshooting skills because it's not allowed.

They want to keep their cash cow tech support in outsourced centers instead of in house, and keep the basics of all support to a low level knowledge support. While training on outdated processes and procedure with broken tools. Which, the processes and procedure are written by people who have boldly claimed, they don't know how to take the calls they written the shit for. Can you say, teach me how to replace a points and condenser in your car when you don't know what the fuck it is?

How about taking so much away from it's employees, that the morale and attitudes is so low and make them loose money on their 401k's because you forced them to invest their money when they have no control over it. Or how about writing up an employee because he had to leave work a few hours early because his wife was in a car accident and didn't know if she was alright?

How is it fair to employees when they have one department doing the jobs of five other departments with no raise, no thanks but a "you're not meeting your numbers" attitude? Or even the fact that, you can work at home for the company. But you have to live in territory, which is fine. But force the employee to buy the services just for work? And if there is a network outage because of equipment failure, take it out of the employees paid time off? Not fair. Don't hire employees for work at home that can't go to the office if and when it always happens.

How is it fair, honest and show any respect to a customer, when the service they pay for is always broken. And yet all you can do is band aid it until they call in again tomorrow? Or buy off politicians in states to prevent a city from running it's own infrastructure because you don't want to service the area, yet don't want no one else to either?

And there is no commitment to excellence when even the engineers say were shooting ourselves int he foot with our own product because it doesn't work.  Yet it continues to be pushed and pushed to distances that shouldn't have it, thus upsetting the customer base even further,

I can see why our company made this list. They don't care about anyone but the share holders that can make them more money. They cut cost and corners so much, they don't see a straight line of sight anymore. If they would actually take a step back, look, listen and learn, then word of mouth and articles like this won't bare effect on us anymore.

I can say I no longer wake in the morning, knowing I have to go into work. It's an Aw Fuck moment each day. The fun of the job has all but been funneled away.

They tell us, "well, you're only getting the calls from the broken ones." Obviously it's all broken or lists like this would never mention our name. Or even get a whiff of us.




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June 20, 2012

A Little AA?

So a friend put it bluntly. I'm too damn bitter and angry all the time. Point is, she is correct. For as long as I can remember, I've spent more time carrying about others well being then my own. I've done what i could for others before myself. And during this time, I've never asked for anything in return.

But for awhile now, mostly the last three to three and a half years, things have gotten to the point that i've become an angry bitter person. I am surrounded by a lot of negativity at my job and for awhile at home. And in turn, it's taken it's toll on me.

A toll so much, that I actually had a melt down and hurt this friend in the process. Something I never would have done before. Guess I finally found something I didn't know how to handle. And i made choices that were not of best intentions.

So my friend told me enough is enough. It's time to start with me again. And I agree. Now, I just need to figure that out. How does one go from so many years of caring and putting others first, to putting oneself first? How does one go about telling people no, in order to keep oneself happy and even just content? I've always been a great listener. But I never listened to myself.

Is there a 12 step program? Is there a hotline? Or is it something one has to do alone or go about it with a little push from friends?

To be 100% honest, this bitterness, this anger, it's not me. Yes, everyone has their days. But day in and day out? No. So I guess I will have to take it one day at a time.

I think I have hit the boiling point. Something my friend had said just today, made me think about it. As yesterday, my Xbox account was hacked and over $100 in charges occurred to my bank account. Was i mad? Yes. Was I pissed? No. I actually laughed. I've been laughing about it all day today. But it's a sadistic laugh. Any normal person would be irate. I am not. So something is not right. But despite this issue and what's happened in the last few days, I've been in a good mood. Unexplained!
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June 18, 2012

Messed up Fathers Day

So i called my dad yesterday to wish him a happy fathers day.  he sounded like he was glad to hear from me. but then the tone kinda went under as he told me he had back surgery 2 weeks ago.
He didn't tell me, as he didn't want to upset me then. but as a result of this surgery, if it doesn't heal right, he may never work again. come to find out, he has a degenerative disease that decays the spinal bones. and it may come sooner rather then later, he may never be able to walk again.

Every since his mom died the week of my birthday last year, he's been in the dumps. he's kinda in the same boat as im in. work wise anyway. he's held 3 jobs in the last 40+ years. he's that dedicated, but at the same time he knows what comes first.

Then during this conversation, it came out about my breakdown awhile ago, you remember that right?! Anyway, he said he's sorry that he isn't able to help me right now. WTF????
Isn't it me who should be helping him? i mean after all, it was him who bought me my first two cars when i couldn't. it was him who sent me money in college for meds after a few days int he ER when no one else could or would. It was him, who took it upon himself for 37 years, to raise me as his own child, knowing I wasn't.

His only blood child is living back with him now to help around the house. and he will need it come fall to do all the wood and what not.
I knew one day, i would have to help take care of my parents. but it feels too soon. im only 38. my moms struggling to survive. now this.

I feel lost again. feel like i can't do enough. the job market in NY state is 10's worse then it is here. the politicians are doing everything they can to drive people out while the taxes go through the roof. and that whole area has some "spell" over it. as it just brings you down.  that's why i was glad i got out when i did.
I was always good at handling stress. but i guess not good enough because of what happened last time. im afraid i might break again. just because i know there's nothing i can do to help those that have helped me all these years.

You know. life sucks the biggest, smelliest pair of fucking monkey balls there is. and if this is, some kind of test, well i have a pair of size 12 feet that im going to turn sideways and put up someones ass and make them smile while i do it.

I can't help but feel helpless when not only am i struggling to get by again. but my close friends (which there are like 2 or 3) and my family. i was raised a lot better. but i just don't know what to do anymore.
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June 8, 2012

Blissful Ignorance

In the time that I was able to travel this land we call home, I've been able to see a lot, meet a lot of different people. I've met people who are hard working and I've met people who want everything for nothing. And it's the later that really gets under my skin.

Doing what I do day in and day out can be and for the most part is very stressful. For the better part, I can deal with just about anything you can dish out. But it's finally come to the point that my stress can't handle it anymore. It's mainly the ignorance that comes with.

I take, that life no longer requires people to think. Or process information before opening your mouth. Today a lone, I've been accosted enough, that if these people were in front of me, they would have been buried where they stand. I'm not one for violence, since I was bullied most of my life. But it's gotten to the point, that it seems people don't understand anything but violence. Because they sure as hell don't understand common sense.

Perfect example, when you switch from one cable tv provider to another and your new provider doesn't carry the exact same channel line up as the previous one did. And demanding the new one carries the same line up as the old one is not the way to have a conversation. And to threaten a rep, you crossed a line.

That's like telling your mechanic that he has to use the exact same tools as the old mechanic, or that the Ford factory has to use the exact same paint as the Chrysler factory, because that's what you want.

Things don't work that way. There's different services for a reason. Before you switch, do your homework. Don't threaten others because of your inability to understand.

I really just wish people would quit being so fucking ignorant. That would be a great start.
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