October 11, 2006

Customer Service in "America"

Has anyone else noticed that customer service isn’t really customer anymore? I might as well be dialing 1-800-Thick Indian Accent.

I realize everyone around the world deserves a good job which is lucky for them that more and more American companies are turning into cheap bastards. It’s so very kind of them to help our fellow global citizens by giving them our jobs at salaries as low as $2 a day. But do I really need to learn another language or get an interpreter to find out why my cell phone ring tones won’t work or why my bank statement says I’ve been charged $1087 for a money order? Call me a beeotch or racially insensitive but I really don’t like discussing my personal banking with someone that mostly has no clue what I’m saying and might not like me by the time the phone call is over.

The Husband surprised me by ordering a digital camera for me at buydig.com and it has been nothing but a hassle. First they didn't put the credit card info through right. Then we realized through our own investigation that the amount was over my check card limit. I didn’t want to deal with getting the bank to adjust the limit so I call and cancel the order to start over. By this time, the fun of being surprised with a fantabulous new camera was turning into frustration. Eventually my bank flags the card for possible fraud since they had screwed everything up by putting the wrong info through more then three times.

When I’m a big annoyed I can at times behave something like Carrie from King of Queens. It isn’t always pretty, but life I kept reminding myself that it wasn't an emergency. I called the company and apparently buydig.com has only two people working their "customer service" department. The first man was Indian. I couldn't understand a word he was saying. He kept saying 'yes' and 'good' a lot.

But how is it good? I don't understand you and you clearly don't understand me. It was quite close to my home life with three teenagers only probably a bit more annoying. At this point , I think it was easier to potty train four children than it was to understand one word he said. Does he mean yes or does he mean no? The husband works with Indians and he has introduced me to several of his Indian friends. Some have an interesting habit of saying yes and then shaking their no back and forth. Needless to say it's a bit confusing. Sort of like when people here give you the thumbs up to something when really they’re saying, “That’s great. I could care less!”At least when you can see the person you usually have the ability to dicipher sarcasm disguised as sincerity. I just didn't understand anything this nice guy is trying to tell me and I know he's just trying to do his job.

The phone call started off innocent enough with a pleasant hello. Then he mumbled something incoherent about an order number.

Me: It’s 123409, but I can't understand you very well. What do you need again?

Him: Badahbahdah-bahd-a-bahd-abah-help you?

Me: Um, I can't understand you. Did you get my order number?

Him: Yes, yes. Help you please?

Long and awkward silence

Me: So, um, can I talk to someone? I'm sorry, but I can't understand you.

Him: Yes, yes, yes. Yes, very good.

Me: So, are you transferring me?

Sound cliche? That's exactly how it went though.

Please is a word used very liberally in these phone calls, even if it seems to be used in a way that suggests the person has no idea what they're really saying. It just must make us feel better to hear please by a person that currently has access to some of our most personal and vital information, right?

Then every single phone call after that was with a pleasant woman I'll refer to as Vampire Girl. I kid you not; it was like I had stepped into the twilight zone where old actresses from cheesy vampire movies spend out their days working the customer service circuits of internet companies located in New Jersey.

"I vant to take your oooordawr numberrrrrr. Please."

I was beginning to feel that we were playing some sort of phone game I wasn't privy to. It was a bit surreal at the moment, but I had to laugh at it later. Laughing is something I do to keep from crying or acting like a crazy person.

One camera-ah ah ah.
Two CS agents- ah ah ah.
Three mistakes-ah ah ah
Four hours on the phone- ah ah ah
Five different phone calls- ah ah ah.
Absolutely zero customer service-ah ah ah

Wait von minute. Since when is buydig.com employing Transylvanian vampires? It wasn’t just like she was from that area, it was like she was trying to talk a vixen from a vampire movie. Her accent was insanely thick and the whole time I’m picturing Elvira with fangs on the other line. I worked hard on my gracefulness. I so wanted to ask her why I couldn't just talk to someone else. But she was holding my camera hostage and she had my credit card number, even if she didn’t know how to use it. Plus, I'm all out of silver bullets.

By this time it was later and I pondered whether it would sound really rude if I asked if she was the only one ever there. Like, is she in charge of the graveyard shift at the customer service desk or something? No pun intended.

I say this because every time I’d hang up to call my bank (who incidentally said every thing was okay on my end) I’d call back only to get HER on the line again.

Whispering past the phone, "Honey, it's vampire girl again. Don't they have anyone else working there? I just talked to her."

The poor lady had had no idea what she was doing and from her own omission there was no one else to help her figure it out. By the time I spoke to that same woman five times in one day I was beginning to think this was some fake company and perhaps this was my husband’s idea of a joke. I googled them just to make sure that The Husband didn’t give our credit card number to some Cracker Jack company. Buydig is for freal. They just have lame customer service. You'd think a worldwide company like that would have more then one person on duty to take calls.

All is well that ends well and after two days of nonsense my camera is supposedly on its way. I can't vait.