BIO     CALENDAR     MEDIA     COLLEGE     STORE     BOOK STEVE     BLOG     PODCAST     SUBREDDIT    


The Column

Quality Training Purposes
2/20/05

I spend a lot of my day dealing with people in customer service. I check into hotels, I rent cars, I buy airplane tickets, and I own a good deal of electronic equipment that constantly needs fixing. And though I'm told my calls are recorded for quality training purposes, they're probably used as an example of what not to do.

"Did you hear the part where she ignored what he requested and repeated the inane policy that she's already explained twice?"

"Yes."

"Try not to do that."

"I'm sorry, what was that? I was busy ignoring what someone requested and repeating the inane policy that I've already explained twice."

After a recent late show in Dayton, I called the hotel for directions. It was well after midnight, and I wanted to go to sleep. They gave us precise directions - the wrong way. We were supposed to drive 15 minutes through Dayton. They sent us away from Dayton. You can understand simply that that is the wrong way.

25 minutes later, we called to check. First the woman didn't believe she was wrong. Finally she admitted she caused us to go almost an hour out of the way, and with no apology she said, "Yeah, I thought it was the other way."

I don't accept things like that. When I'm overcharged on my phone bill, when I get a late fee for a credit card payment that was processed on time, when anything goes wrong that isn't my fault, I demand restitution. And it works. Once, Sprint charged my account $400 after I already cancelled it. Though it took them three months to pay me back, I got the $400, 3% interest on it, and three months free phone service for my mother. Pay it forward, right?

I got the hotel to comp us a free breakfast. All she did was get the directions wrong, so it wasn't worth a free night's stay. I was content that I beat customer service. It was over.

Finally arriving at the hotel after 2:00, we checked in to a room that only had one bed. When we went back to the desk and politely explained that they gave us the wrong room, the same woman (with no apology) said, "yeah, there's another one I can give you."

It was too late to argue. We just went to the new room and went to sleep. But the next morning, we ate a very large breakfast.

I understand that most people do not choose jobs in customer service. I've never met a kid dreaming of answering questions about products they care little about. But for those unfortunate enough to be in an industry where their job is to help people should do their job or get fired. Or I should at least be able to sue them for malpractice.

"Yes, your honor. She ignored me and repeated the inane policy that she's already explained twice."

"I'm sorry I didn't get that. I'm still on hold with Toshiba."

There are some very helpful people in customer service. But for every one person that has ever helped me, there have been two that went out of their way to further screw up the problem, or worse, insult me. As a humor columnist I don't really have feelings, but in case I did these people should not try to hurt them.

I want to know what the interview process was like for the woman at that hotel.

"It says on your application that you're a people person. But all your references say you're terribly ornery."

"Yeah, I must have lied."

"Honesty about lying. We appreciate that. You're hired."

"When do I start?"

"I'm sorry I didn't get that. I'm still on hold with Toshiba."

It's easy for me to complain and not really do anything about the problem. (That's kind of what I do for a living). Instead, I want to use this column to make a difference. I encourage anyone reading this to join me in my quest to never take no for an answer. Join me in beating the system. Join me in forcing customer service to actually serve the customer. And most importantly, join me in...wait, gotta go, I'm off hold.

Archives
*Kings vs. Sports Illustrated
*Paris Hilton is No Mother Theresa
*Putting the "Fan" in "Fanatic"
*Thinking Man: Happy New Year
*Jewzapalooza
*I'm Listening
*Punky Brewster Scares Me
*Don't Get Smart With Me
*Checking Out a Check Up
*Yeah, Thanks
*Steve Hofstetter is Your Friend
*Post Halloween Wrap-Up
*My Letter to Me
*The Night the Heat Went Off
*Turn That Crap Off
*You Might Be a Redhead If
*To My Future Children
*Shine Your Shoes, Mista?
*Flying Forward
*DotCom Dating Dish
*Paging Paige Page
*Watch While You Eat
*You Have Got to Be Kidding Me
*Come Home, Rachel I. K'Benjamin
*Get Out Of My Bathroom
*Subway Going Under
*Driving Forces
*Singles Anonymous
*Know When to Fold Em
*The Mirth of America
*Also Known As
*Smooth Criminal
*What That Mass Email Really Said
*Dude, Where's Your Car?
*Thinking Man: Can't We All
*You Might Be a Redneck
*A Nice Hawaiian Punch
*100,000 Friends
*Mine is Bigger Than Yours
*Good Answer
*T Stands for Terrible
*I Love You Guys
*Mitch, All Gone
*Birth of a Hate Mail Archive
*Never Do Today What...Ooh, Shiny
*Can You Hear Me Now?
*Fast Food, Slow Digestion
*Homeland Security, Eh?
*Quality Training Purposes
*The Show Went On
*Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?
*Putting My Foot Down
*Breaking the Chain Mail
*Happy Valmochrismaweenygiving
*Mr. Clean's Illegitimate Brother
*The Quest For 10,000 Friends
*Forgetting Paris
*Magnetically Challenged
*New Year's at the Barefoot Boogie
*Instant Carma's Gonna Get Me
*The Biggest Loser
*Steve vs. Kentucky
*Gone in a Flash
*How to Destroy Your Car
*Ghouls, Goblins, and Candidates
*My Freedom From Your Freedom
*Drive Unto Others
*Please Don't See This Movie
*I Love The Clip Shows
*Column of Atonement
*Happy Anniversary, Sugarhill
*Life, 9/11, and the Interstate
*Your Band Sucks
*Spending Wisely
*The Blind Dating the Blind
*Grilled Cheese With a Side of Hip Hop
*The Drive to 25
*Are You There Margaret? It's Me, God.
*Mansion, Apartment, Shack, House
*Seacrest! Out!
*Harder Than You Think
*Glad To Be Here
*Thought for Food
*Feeding the Meter
*She's Ready For Her Close Up
*Paging John Hughes
*Excusing America's Gas Problem
*Extra, Extra, Extra Long Time
*The Finals Countdown
*Your Friends and Mine
*The Future Mrs. Bueller
*Toasting Not Toasting
*A Tall Order
*Snaking Your Engine
*My Hair is the Color of Tomato Soup
*The Solace System
*You Say Potato
*It’s Getting Less Cold in Here
*This is Not a Virus
*Pitchers and Catchers
*Another Night Not at the Movies
*Higher and Higher
*To Write A Wrong
*They Call it Super for a Reason
*Imagine All the People
*Lost Wages, Nevada
*This Just In
*Why Are All My Stands Red?
*For Whom the Wedding Bell Tolls
*Silent One Day Sale, Holy One Day Sale
*I Want To Be That Guy
*Felicity Doesn't Always Mean Happiness
*That Time of Year
*My Cranberry Sauce Looks like a Can
*The Legend of Fat Dead Steve
*Two Beldings in One Building
*Happy Halloween From Happy Valley
*Three Stations and Nothing On
*15 Shots of Nostalgia
*Here's To the Dancing Guy
*Teaching an Old Dog New Sticks
*If You Could Choose Just One Dumb Question...
*Obligatory Pun on The Word Tired
*I've Grown Accustomed to Your Wet Nose
*What Do You Want For Your Birthday?
*What a Long, Strange Trip
*Open Letter to My UPS Man
*That Better Be Your Foot
*The Abandoned Lot is Always Greener
*Putting Down the Pieces
*Take One Down, Pass It Around
*Here, You Throw This Away
*Being Green at the Box Office
*Who Wears Short Shorts?
*America is an Okay Place to Be
*You Can't Stop the Rain
*Don't Feed the Alpha Males
*Don’t Sweat It
*The Special Plate Blues
*You Deserve It
*The Return to Popcopy
*They're Real, and They're Spectacular
*Keeping Your Prom Misses
*Guerillas in Our Midst
*That Weird No Bread Holiday
*The Ballad of the Buttless
*Something About Being Twenty-Something
*Have You Seen My Cell Phone?
*War, Huh, Yeah, What Is It Good For?
*Leggo My Ego
*I'm a Spazz, You're a Spazz
*Can I Please Keep My Pants?
*Engaged in Conversation
*Welcome to PopCopy
*Hold Me Closer, Tiny Bathroom
*My Two-Bedroom Furbee
*All’s Fare in Love and Daytona
*Open? Shut Them
*I Am Everyday Pimple
*Here Comes the Judge Show
*When, Praytell, Were The Days of Auld Lang Syne?
*What Are You Up To This Weekend?
*The Waiting is the Hardest Part
*A Night Not at the Movies
*Funny, You Don’t Look Flu-ish
*Does This Baby Come With Airbags?
*When The Hogan Family Was Still Valerie
*Blue (Haired) Tuesday
*In Loco Parents
*Moving Is Like A Vaccuum: It Sucks
*Thou Shalt Not Save the World and Get the Girl
*Like Oil and Stuff That Hates Oil
*How to Get Hatemail
*Fungi, Octopi, What’s the Plural of Bus? (Part I
*Fungi, Octopi, What’s the Plural of Bus? (Part I
*It Happens to the Best of Us
*Talking To A Piece of Junk Mail
*When You Can’t See the Forest for the Trees
*ICFS Disorder and Celebrity Kid Growth
*Electricity and Other Things They Cut Off
*When Pigeons Fly
*Goodbye, New York, Goodbye
*La La La-la La La, Sing a Happy Song
*What To Do at Work Besides Work
*Why is This Column Different From All Others?