‘Twas a fine summer evening, but I couldn’t enjoy it, as I had to call three different customer services of three different online retailers. One very large, the other somewhat smaller, and the third just a shop. It couldn’t be put off anymore. Not that I wanted to – I wanted to get it over and done with as soon as possible. But the usual paradox was that I felt less than enthusiastic about calling customer service. I wonder why. They don’t know me. I don’t know them. They only know what I ordered. Then there was that thing about just not wanting to be on the phone, because I guess that’s what I thought the internet was invented for. But we must do what we must.
Call Number One
Excitement and adventure. After some clicking around hoping to find a hotline or general number, I found encouragement to let THEM call ME. This was unexpected. But after reading the extensive descriptions on what I would be asked and how much more damn effort it was to call by myself, I had to silently agree with the cheerful assurance at the end that it was much better for them to call me. All that was left for me after that was an impossible to miss button labeled CALL NOW. With a shaking hand I pressed it and jumped as my phone immediately began to ring. A very competent and energetic employee listened to my (rehearsed and succinctly phrased) question and promptly answered. The unexpectedly simple resolution of the issue relaxed me so much that I temporarily morphed in to what customer service workers probably experience all the time: I started babbling about what had worried me etc etc. Stopped just in time before it got embarrassing. In the subsequent feedback they sent me I gave them five stars.
Call Number Two
Classic. I listened to the waiting line music for a while and the appearance of a human voice seemed very sudden. After a (rehearsed and succinctly phrased) question I was forwarded to someone else, to whom I once again had to recount my (rehearsed and succinctly phrased) story. I felt tired. I had to repeat some points, but the issue also got resolved.
Call Number Three
Am I talking to a person? I open my mouth to state my (rehearsed and succintly phrased) question, but I’m confronted by a repetition of all the information I had just carefully read myself to save time. Somehow I get the feeling interrupting is not expected, and after all someone is just doing their job. After the recital is finished and I literally hear inhaling and exhaling, I state my purpose. Another reading of the fine print I had perused myself. Then the question that seemed very sudden after the monotonous speaking: “What’s lacking in the product?” “Nothing, it’s just too small”, I mumble. There, they made me say it.
An exercise in patience, elocution and manners. I hope I was nice. They were all asking what they could do for me.