Sunday, September 11, 2016


Think about it for a minute.   Or survey those in your immediate vicinity.    Where are you likely to get the worst customer service?   . . . Right, a Government monopoly.   The Department of Motor Vehicles,  the Passport Office,  the government Medical Services Plan, the tax department.    There are no qualms it seems when the in person waiting time is an hour or more or when you wait on hold for thirty minutes.   No, a disembodied voice on your phone cheerfully advises that wait times are estimated to be 40 minutes.   How can they be so cavalier about this situation and without fear of losing business or declining revenues?   Because you have no choice;   they are the only game in town.   You need them; they don't need you.   You want a:

a)  Passport
b)   Driver's License
c)   Answer to a question about the government medical plan
d)    Information about your income tax deduction that was disallowed

Be prepared to wait! 

Following on the heels of government monopolies must be  organizations and institutions that have your money.    You've paid your University fees for the year, talking to you will not generate them any more revenue.    The bean counters have taken over.  Your local cable company, which has you on a 2 year plan,  has high call volumes and, of course, no plan in place to deal with this.   Why bother?   You're committed to paying them for another twenty months.    Credit card companies can be guilty of this as well, especially annoying after you spend five minutes replying to a circuit of menu options, involving entering your account number and various other options.   It doesn't help when the person who eventually answers doesn't seem to have access to the information that you diligently entered and starts the question process confirming your identity all over again.

But try to remember:  The person you eventually end up speaking to has little or nothing to do with the unacceptable service.   Customer service doesn't generate revenue and is prone to being the victim of budget cuts.  He or she is doing the work that three people previously shared.   Their hours are cut and calls are monitored to ensure 'quality' as in how quickly did they get you off the line. 

If only a small portion of what  is spent on government publicity/photo-op budgets was spent responding to citizens/residents queries, much improvement would occur.   The ads are so clever, the promises so profuse, the self-congratulation is ubiquitous.   The multitude of happy smiling faces must be residing in an alternate universe.

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