The Wednesday Pop Culture Rant would kindly like to request that companies stop pretending to be our BFF and valuing our input: “Tell us what you think!” “Your opinion matters!” “Take our short survey after this call!” We both know your love and fervor will end as soon as the check clears; stop embarrassing yourself.
The Rant used to play a game at work whenever we had to call AT&T to sort our their latest mistake: who could be passed along to the most customer reps “delighted” to help as well as who had the endurance to stay on the line the longest. The records clocked in with eight equally clueless reps, each requiring the retelling of our woes despite assurances all our information would magically appear on the next person’s screen, and over ninety minutes of phone time.
Instead of a survey, they should just allow you to scream to your heart’s content at the CEO until you feel like the debt has been paid for the wasting of your precious life. My favorite part of these exercises occurs when the rep tries to upsell you on products after utterly ruining your faith both in the company and the future of humanity. Would I like to reward your incompetence with even more money? Sign me up! Could you also introduce me to Scientology and my underage daughter to Charlie Sheen?
The Rant can solve this problem in about five minutes. Tie management compensation to customer satisfaction. Also, no company gets to raise their stock dividend by gutting the workforce. Boards can figure out the benchmarks. By these standards, the management team at Comcast1, which annually dwells in the cellar of customer ratings, would owe millions of dollars to their shareholders. And customers.
People always blather on about how the market will cause these companies to fail if they don’t provide good service. The Rant is currently making that noise when we stick out our tongue and blow. You know the one. When it comes to contracted services like cable and phone, many people have no choices when it comes to providers. Comcast has a stranglehold on many parts of the country, and this is only growing worse as companies merge. So save us the lectures about your precious markets.
Add in the bewildering language of agreements, and the threats received about penalties when trying to leave, and many companies know they can prey on their customer base with no repercussions. The result is residing in the seventh circle of customer service hell and having to pay for the privilege. The invisible hand of the market seems to do nothing but slap us around.