A Customer Service Story

Customer service is a tough job. I know, because I’ve performed those duties, remotely, solving technical issues for customers. It’s not a job everyone can do. It’s very stressful at times because the representative often runs into people that are completely unreasonable. I say that it’s not a job for everyone because, in order to troubleshoot problems for customers (technical) you have to know to be able to ask the right questions. In other words, you need to know your stuff because many issues cannot be solved by reading and asking questions from a script.

This beings me to earlier today, when I called Amazon Customer Support to resolve an issue with my account. Don;t get me wrong, it wasn’t an unpleasant experience, and in fact, both of the people I spoke with (women) were friendly and helpful. the oddity was they were both Indian. So from that I got that Amazon Customer Service was out of that country. That’s not bad, if you receive good service (as I did) but it makes we wonder with all the unemployment here in the west (yes, including Europe) why these companies could not contract with someone more local (Europe?) to service their customer base? Well, of course it’s money. These ladies I spoke with today probably receive decent pay for India, but I would bet it’s far less than what Jeff Bezos would have to pay if there was a center in say, Germany, or somewhere in the U.S.

Amazon have invested in their own air fleet for shipping, probably saving costs for shipping via UPS or FedEx, as well, if you’ve seen the commercials, their own delivery service, again supplanting USPS, UPS, and FedEx. That’s here in the United States. So why can’t they invest, probably a quarter of that into customer service centers here in their country of origin? Think abut the cost of the airplanes (even if they lease) plus the air crew (these are not working at minimum wage) as well as the drivers for their delivery service (union drivers? In some states, yes.). I’m certain, no matter what, they’re paying drivers more than $15 an hour. Think about this, creating, just for your company and it’s products, and entire infrastructure not depending on contracting with any outside company. So why are they not able to do this with their. telephone support?

Oh, and try to find that number of their website. It may be there, but even going to the “Customer Support” page, it’s not listed. If that number is on their website, it’s meant only for people that have magical abilities to find it. But, doing a web search for “Amazon Customer Service” the number pops up immediately. I can kind of understand why that number is not on their site as they have some self help customer service there. Probably a majority of issues customers have may be solved by going through the automated help. In my case though, their “self help” was useless. I needed to speak with someone.

My issue was with what is called “One Time Password”. I would go to the Amazon site, log in with a correct username and password, then a screen would come up and tell me it’s sent me a code to my mobile (cell) phone that I needed to type in to get access to my account. I first had this issue last summer when I was going to send someone a birthday gift. I found, by web search, the number to speak with someone, but at that time, they weren’t taking calls due to the pandemic (?). If I recall, they has shortened their hours and I was calling outside that window. I was a bit frustrated but found another vendor I could use for the same gift. I forgot about the issue.

The problem is that the number they wanted to send the code to, didn’t exist anymore. Yes, I have a phone at home, a VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) phone, but it doesn’t have text or any other capability other then talk. I don;t have a cell phone anymore. Why? I don’t use it. Think about it: Why would I pay any amount of money for a service I never use? I don’t travel anymore (much) and I don’t think I need to have a phone in the grocery or pharmacy. Okay, when I do go out of town, just short car trips, it may be convenient to have a cell phone, but I’d prefer to have a prepaid where I load up some minutes just for the trip. I’ve looked for those, they are hard to find.

The reason for this post is to not complain about customer service. As I said in the beginning, it’s a tough job to have. It’s that everywhere I go, online or in person, people (services) want to know my cell phone number. I don’t have one and I have seen the shocked look on peoples faces when I tell them. I have no need for this device. I know when I told the customer representative this on my call earlier, there was a significant pause in the conversation, but then she went and removed that option from my account. Good for her. Good customer service. No questions, just take care of the customer.

I miss that level of support. Now, I think I was only talking with first level because it seemed to me she was reading from a script. That’s okay though because I was able to give her a detailed problem statement, which if you’ve ever been in that business is rare. I have, so when I make calls to customer support for anything, I try to be as complete as I can in order that my issue may be solved soonest. In this case, 5 minutes.

We could use more of that locally. It’s a hame I have to speak with someone in India where I could probably more easily speak with someone in New Mexico, or (my home state) Arizona. But it is what it is, for now. Don;t expect Joe Biden t bring jobs back to the U.S. He’s the actual Manchurian Candidate as he owes China a lot for his career. So we’ll see thousands of jobs, where there are plenty of qualified people here to fill, off shored. You have to pay your masters.

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