Customer Disservice

A Message for Tisha B’Av

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Comments (31)

(26) Anonymous, August 8, 2011 10:51 AM

To TMay

How can any politician make spending cuts to systems having no idea how they work. How can you make cuts to our Health Care System when you can't even flow chart how it works? Republicans want to make cuts with a saw instead of doing fine laser surgery to many of our governmental systems. Our founding fathers set up the system of taxation and debt to fund our nation's expenses (though they never intended the debt to reach the levels it has), and those systems have worked for so long it would be lunacy to start making drastic cuts in spending all at once and during this current economic downturn. Our founding fathers also used taxation to finance our governmental expenses so asking its citizens to pay higher taxes at this time is also a legitimate means to lower the debt. Gradual cuts could be made, but again with the use of a fine laser, not with a hack saw or by chopping away at it with an axe. This is what the majority of Tea Party people want. Many of them have posted to internet news stories their desire to actually see the old and disabled die from being cut off of Medicaid and Food Stamps. What type of values are surfacing now in our country? They seem to be Nazi values such as the Nazi's had for "useless eaters," I believe was the term they used. If you don't think these types of values are coming into play in the Republican Party right now, then go to ABC.com, MSN.com, CNN.com and so forth and read many of the comments by Tea Partiers on debt ceiling related news stories. It is down right scary the hate they have towards people on such programs like Food Stamps, etc. and even those using Social Security (which is a program paid into by each person who is using it). Jews are supposed to help repair the world not align themselves with people who want to destroy the world and their fellow man. So you might want to re-examine just what the Tea Party is actually standing for and who they are standing for, the HAVES or the HAVE NOTS of this country.

seybernetx, August 11, 2011 8:14 PM

Still at least one true believer in 'Hope & Change' out there.

"Many of them have posted to internet news stories their desire to actually see the old and disabled die . . " Well, 'anonymous', I'm sure I'm not the only one who would be more willing to believe that claim if you supplied some data to back it up. You know like at least one link, or one identifiable person you can quote.

(25) TMay, August 7, 2011 9:33 PM

Regarding some of the comments

Comments demonstrate an acceptance of the demonization of the right. The Tea Party pointed out that we are going the way of Greece and we are headed to bankrupcty. Pres Obama immediately threatened granny. When that didn't work he threatened to cut the military knowing that the GOP might not want cuts there, that a military is one of the only really impt functions of a fedl govt. We as a country have to discuss where to cut. Our debt is raised by almost $4 billion dollars every day. We are borrowing money and having to pay interest on the borrowing, to build mosques in Arab countries, and they have petrodollars. That was a state dept idea. Bloated bureaucracies like the dept of education could be cut, the dept of agriculture too. Pres Obama's policies will have the effect of discouraging doctors from practicing and the result will be a shortage of doctors, and long waiting times. The govt said they would delay paying medicare doctors and pay them less. What do you think a doctor's reaction to that is? The GOP wanted change and they wanted cross state competition from insur comps because competition reduces prices. The GOP wanted a limit to atty malpractice w punitive damages 3x the loss. That would lower the cost of medicine. The policy of Obamacare wanted to look at how many yrs the gov't gets for the cost of the treatment. Sorry, anything for a young person will buy more years than for an old person. Pres Obama wanted decisions on treatment to be made in Washington DC by a bureaucrat instead of by doctors with their patients. The GOP wants accountability by companies and by politicians instead of no accountability of faceless bureaucrats 3,000 miles away with policies printed on a paper. The GOP want to encourage people to carry insur all the time not just when they are sick. They are against the govt telling a person they have to buy a product or face jail time and fines with a social agenda to boot. Pres Obama punishes research and medl devices.

(24) Beverly Kurtin, August 7, 2011 3:26 PM

OY, oy, and oy vey

Rabbi, the nail has been hit as squarely as possible. I used to work at the world's biggest manufacturer of computer software. When I spoke with customers, I blew them away because I gave them the kind of service "I" wanted and as a result I created more and more CUSTOMERS for the company. When a customer complained about the amount of time it took to get to me, I'd offer to call them back right away. When I did, they were astonished that I kept my word, they invariably thought I was brushing them off. I loved my work, only a massive stroke could force me to have to resign; I still miss working there. Customer disservice cost me my life's savings. I won't bore you with the details but suffice it to say that I am now totally dependent on Social Security and Medicare, both of which the TeaPubliCANT Party thinks would make a great way to cut the deficit. Of course, Social Security has been PAID FOR by all of us via FICA. Social Security has never contributed a CENT to the deficit, yet that proposal is still on the table. It would instantly turn millions of Americans into paupers. The TeaPubliCANTS do not care. What disturbs me most is that a fellow Jew is involved in that most heartless attempt. Nu? This is a way for a Jew to think? No. I wish we had a means of excommunication. Congress has turned into one of the WORST POSSIBLE EXAMPLES OF LOUSY SERVICE, especially on the "right" side of the aisle. They are NOT representing the people who sent them to Congress; they are representing ONLY the wealthy, the corporations and the oil and coal people. We are seeing the end of this country as a Democratic Republic, we are seeing the start of an oligarchy where there are only two classes: The haves and the don't haves. Ronald Reagan started the death of America when he fired the PATCO air controllers and nobody so much as raised a finger to stop him. Nobody, including me. The only solution is another revolution, this time will not be violent, but it WILL be effective.

Beverly Kurtin, August 8, 2011 9:40 PM

Replying to myself

It is sad that so many companies do not understand that their customer service department can be PROFIT CENTERS instead of Cost Centers. The difference is in how good the service is. Unfortunately, the bean counters only see the cost involved instead of the profits that can be increased by having "Knock Their Sock Off" service. At one time, bean counters at Microsoft Corp. told Bill Gates to dump all of its support engineers and replace them with outsourced technicians. Mr. Gates wisely fired the bean counter instead. The reason, which again, most companies do not understand the sense of having THEIR employees answering the phones. Company people are, or should be, interested in their own company's success. If the company tanks, their jobs are on the line. A good customer support person, engineer or not, need to make the caller feel that they are VERY important, not just because they're going to say that they're important, but because CUSTOMERS PAY THEIR SALARIES! When I finished answering a customer's question to THEIR satisfaction, I always asked them what ELSE I could help them with. When they said they didn't want to "waste" my time. l would tell them, "The ONLY reason I came to work today was because YOU were going to call." When all of their questions were answered, I thanked THEM for calling, "Bob, you did a great job, I appreciate your calling in today, thanks!" They'd thank me in return and ask me why "I" was thanking them. "Bob, YOU pay my salary, if you don't call, there is no need for me to be here and I appreciate getting paid: It allows me to do my two favorite things...Eating and living indoors." Now let me ask you, the next time one of my company's products was in competition with another company's goods, whose product is he more likely to buy? I know of at least two CITIES that bought our software after their evaluation team called acting as independent owners; I was responsible for thousands of units being bought. That is PROFIT!

J, August 11, 2011 2:13 PM

Spot on Beverly!

Took the words out of my mouth! It's NOT the customers' task to put up with horrible cs attitudes, specially if they proliferate when outsourced. As it is, it's harsh enough for the customer to get to say what he wants!

(23) Danny, August 7, 2011 1:52 PM

dlmorgen@rcn.com

Maybe I am in the minority, but I usually encounter good customer service. But anyway, Rabbi Solomon's message is excellent regarding doing little things for others.

(22) L.S., August 7, 2011 1:30 PM

My biggest pet peeve

Horrible service is my biggest pet peeve! I had an unbelievable nightmare with AT&T for a week at one point. Oy! Hold, transfer, questions, etc--so frustrating! I like how you tied this into Tisha B'av and caring for people; this is a very powerful message and I am glad you got it out there. Have an easy fast!

(21) Laurence V Harrould, August 4, 2011 9:24 PM

Let's start a campaign for causeless love

There's plenty of hate in the world and it can often be justified. The simple task of getting help from your telco will usually result in angst and frustration. When we ring a large company we EXPECT it will take a long time to get a solution, if we can get one at all. We EXPECT to get passed around to multiple departments, having to repeat our identifying information at every step and re-explaining what our issue is only to be told we've come through to the wrong section and get passed to the next department. That's what we EXPECT and that's usually what we EXPERIENCE - hence justifying our expectation. But let's stop for a moment, take a deep breath and think about what's happening. On the other end of the phone is a PERSON. They spend their day dealing with calls like yours and callers just like you. The fact that they can stay calm and not shout back and scream about what a hard time they're having when all they're doing is simply trying to solve your problem is a testament to their patience. Yes - they understand your anger but if they aren't skilled, knowledgeable enough or authorised to deal with your issue the only thing they can do to help you is pass you to someone they think can. Added to that there's often the complication that they're not even good at your language - not to mention local and cultural nuances. So let's spare a thought for the PERSON at the other end of the phone. Be nice, ask how their day is going and are they having a pleasant time. Tell them how much you appreciate them trying to help and how you understand that they may not be able to get the resolution you want and how grateful you are that they're trying to find the right person to help. I'll bet we'd all find it pretty challenging but what a different world we'd live in if that's how everyone behaved. It's said the Temple was destroyed because of causeless hatred and will only be rebuilt when there is causeless love. This Tisha B'Av is the time to start.

(20) Rosen, August 4, 2011 1:03 PM

health insurance companies and "pre-existing" conditions

One major factor in how customer (dis)service really doesn't care about people are health insurance companies that have denied people for "pre-existing" conditions - it's a very sorry excuse for a business, and that it is a classic way of not caring for the sick and those with certain medical or cognitive conditions. If only Obama's new health care law was more than just health insurance reform, we could've seen more universal health care like Israel and other industrialized/developed countries have. Thus, health shouldn't come with a profit, especially for those who these health insurance companies perceive having "pre-existing" conditions. Someone suggested in a comment on another website that life is a "pre-existing" condition.

Dvirah, August 6, 2011 6:48 PM

Bottom Line

Denying healthcare to people with "pre-existing" conditions denies it to exactly the people who need it. This is precisely what a "bottom line", business-only attitude to healthcare creates, since the philosophy is then, as for all insurance companies, not to have to pay out unless forced to do so. Thus, the only people they are willing to underwrite for healthcare are those who most likely will not need any!

(19) Anonymous, August 4, 2011 7:44 AM

Call Centers (Kara I understand completely)

There are customer services reps who do care but because they could get fired for taking the time to actually assist you in getting the help you are asking for it may not happen . Working in a call center can be akin to being told to make bricks without straw.; i.e.: help your customer without taking more than 2 minutes to do it, otherwise you are fired. You may get blessed and the 10 customers prior to your call took only 45 seconds to handle and thus the customer service rep can take the seconds he or she didn't use on those 10 calls and give that extra time to you. Thus you get to have as much as an extra 10 minutes of the reps alloted time . If not, you can end up getting the run around, the brush off, transferred, or accidentally (on purpose) get disconnected. Yes, there are some reps that will do that to keep their talk/work time stats in good standing with the company in order to keep their job. Many company calls centers keep shortening the talk/work time requirements their reps must follow in order to keep their jobs. Some of these companies are only allowing 1.5 minutes per call now. Every second of time a rep is working at a call center is monitored. If they are not on the phone 99.9% of the time they are scheduled to be on the phone, they could be fired, depending on the company. Some companies care more and will maybe demand their reps be on the phones 99% of the time taking calls and let their employees take a bathroom break other than at lunch or schedule break times. So it may be wrong to say that the reps don't care and more correct to say the people running the company don't care. Although, there are reps that do not care and actually are only interested in getting you off their line. When I worked in calls centers I have found it is more the company than the reps that are at fault when poor customer service is provided. Call centers are considered non profit making entities, they are a company expenditure.

(18) Do Lern Hwei, August 3, 2011 10:51 AM

Good Message!

I can really agree that the answering machine dehumanises communication. So does the Internet , emails and Facebook. It is good to to keep track of friends that way but nothing beats face to face communication and doing things together. Life is not just dealing with customers. It is about building relationships and growing together as a result of it.

(17) Kara Brown, August 3, 2011 7:58 AM

Customer Service

Shalom, I REALLY appreciated this as I have felt as you and others. Recently Hashem gave me a position where I was on the other end. ONLY this job opened up. I HATED it....First I didn't know much about cell phones and even with training, I was not very equipped. I am used to giving GREAT customer service, but at first I didn't have the slightest idea. :) Gradually I caught on. I had to work there over a year....I say HAD to because I BEGGED Hashem to let me get something else. So just want to add to your perspective....The customer service rep has MANY goals: 1. Assisting the customer, 2. Assisting the customer within a matter of minutes. 3. Having to find the answer: whether one can find the answer in the tools given or having to wait to have enough assistance from floor specialist or managers. 4. Having to constantly be doing or adding something new almost daily. 5. Having to listen to know where to direct the customer or how to assist the customer. A lot of times, if the customer could be more specific or more calm in relating their problem it could be solved on the first call whether at that point or getting to the right person. Last but not least is the customer's attitude. It was one of the HARDEST jobs I have EVER done!!! When a person calls in with a problem, some have shortness to their tones, exasperation, in a hurry, wanting it done yesterday, angry, cursing, making like you are stupid when you are not and REFUSING to deal with the one who answers. So, the customer service rep gets it from both ends, the company and the customer. I never learned to grow thick skin while working here. I HATED very much these attitudes and felt very sorry for them knowing that Hashem did not like how I was being treated. So, from both perspectives, Rabbi is correct.....showing kindness and not allowing oneself to harm another through our tone or actions is something to consistently work on. I am now striving VERY hard to remember all I learned. B"H

(16) Renee Scalise, August 3, 2011 12:44 AM

You are so right They say they care but they obviously do not!

Mr. Solomon:I enjoyed what you had to say. You attended my Daughter 's wedding in July 1998 in Brooklyn. her name is Yocheved Roth Sampson. She used to drive your mother from Manhattan to Bklyn. You played the guitar during the ceremony And I still remember it clearly. Hope you and your family are well.

(15) chayah, August 2, 2011 9:01 PM

do unto others.....

that's the answer...treat others as you want them to treat you...My bubby and zady always told us to live by this rule,,,and that means treat your kids as human beings also....It's like the first commandment ...honor your parents..it's all about honor and respect for others..thank you Rabbi...we need to be reminded of the golden rule more often...

(14) David Gr, August 2, 2011 4:57 PM

Thank You

Your message here is one we all should listen to. Like you say little acts of kindness add up. Thank you. :-)

(13) Anonymous, August 2, 2011 4:30 PM

You read my mind!

I had exactly the experience you talk about...kept on hold,told someone who call and no one called, no improvement of service... IY"H I hope I take away the same lesson...

(12) Suzanne, August 2, 2011 2:34 PM

Oh, rabbi, you are so "right on" here!

This lack of concern for the customer drives me crazy. Thanks for highlighting this.

(11) Maureen Katz, August 2, 2011 12:39 PM

Another giant pure jewel from Salomon Says

Thanks Rabbi Salomon. We can only strive to emulate these behaviours by being "serice-oriented to others so maybe it will rub off..

(10) Rosen, August 2, 2011 6:09 AM

bank customer service

One pet peeve about customer service at banks, whether it is mine or another's, they'll "pester" me with the question, "do you have an account with us?" Sometimes of often times, when one wants to make an exchange at a bank that is not their own, they get denied service - that's really a sorry excuse for a bank! Why should non-customers at certain banks either get the run-around or solicited accounts they don't want? Why can't it be kept simple for both customers AND non-customers?

(9) Anonymous, August 2, 2011 3:19 AM

congratulations

in a simple thing we have something to learn i conrgtulate the rabbi and something easy to change to put in mind for this year thank you

(8) israel halpern, August 1, 2011 10:50 PM

re talk to a human not a machine

rabbi salomon shlita thankyou for inspiring us may you have nachas and gezunt till 120. try this www.gethuman.com most major companies listed you will cut out all the automatic machines and speak straight to a human being. fast well. we await your next visit in manchester uk

(7) Anonymous, August 1, 2011 9:45 PM

if everyone

would stop doing business with the companies they are fed-up with then maybe the companies that survive will get the message. But getting people to stop doing business with these companies will not happen so its business as usual. BoA would have gone under a long time ago.

(6) SusanE, August 1, 2011 7:37 PM

Customer service is good - (the Music ♪ is usually not so good)

Good customer service by us would be to make sure we take care of our women and children and the poor. And that we be good keepers of the Earth. That is doing our part and G-d will respond with good customer service when we call on him.. ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ All the services and utilities that my personal household uses have been very fair and helpful. From some I have never needed customer service help. Some I have........ My phone company - my sanitation company - Health Insurance company - Bank - Insurance companies and Sattelite provider. I don't call only for problems, sometimes I simply have a question. If good customer service means they care.....then my companies care because they are quite helpful. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ One time several years ago my computer didn't work right, and a man from India taught me to do things I never knew I could do to fix the problem and he stayed with me every step of the way. He had me in the computer and I felt like a techi whiz kid. Another time about a year ago, my printer wouldn't print. The tech on the other end of the 800 call, determined that the ink could be dry . I said it was still 1/2 full and I didn't have the $32.00 for another one. He was a man with a non English accent, and taught me what to do to fix the problem. Soak it a certain way in a certain solution for 5 minutes. He stayed on the line for the full 5 minutes with me and we talked. What a sense of humor he had. He knew about the Groundhog here in my town and I told him how it was to live here, and he told me a bit of his family and where he lived and how he came to perform tech work over the phone with people like me.. Since then, I can fix that problem myself. If your wife is unhappy with a certain company and their customer service, as Bobby5000 says, quietly change companies. Or call back and get another tech that is more compatible with your needs.

(5) Bobby5000, August 1, 2011 1:24 PM

Silly Post Misses Obvious Points

The market responds. If people believed good customer service were important, they would pick companies that provide it. In fact, people talk customer service, shop price. Consider the 100's of local hardware and paint stores that have gone out of business. Their service was excellent, their prices couldn't match Walmart. How about the elegant airlines; people shop online for the best price. Not always. With computers, people realize that quality and service are important and Apple is very successful, and recent had more money on hand that the United States. Lessons for a Jewish post. Be nice. If you are concerned about anti-semitism, recognize that loud complaints from Mrs. Rabinowitz will reinforce negative stereotypes. Better yet, give an overworked employee a kind word and If you're unhappy quietly change

Rachel, August 4, 2011 3:09 PM

It only works if customers have choices

Switching companies -- including paying a bit more for better service -- works great if there are several companies from which to choose. (A "discount" dry cleaner in my neighborhood closed recently, despite their "lower" prices, because their service wasn't very good AND there's a great dry cleaner with a great seamstress that always works hard for their customers.) HOWEVER: With so many monopolies or only 2 choices, it's hard to make an impact. Utility companies and public transport are 2 obvious examples -- if you hate the service, you're not likely to tive up electricity, or stop taking the subway, just to make your point.

(4) Anonymous, July 31, 2011 6:12 PM

I Love my cable company

Dear Rabbi, Recently I lost my internet connection. I called my cable company helpdesk. Yes, I had to push all the numbers on my phone but finally got a fine young man on the phone.He went through Everything with me, cords under the computer table, discussed my modem and router and then asked me if I knew what a telephone connection looked like. Um Nope! But, there was this blue cable with this plastic "thingy" loose under the computer table. Hey! What if I plug this into the empty socket on the back of the computer??? Google appeared! Like I said, a fine young man. I wish he was my son! All is not yet lost.

(3) Anonymous, July 31, 2011 5:46 PM

ve realized that "satisfaction guaranteed" in customer service is really a myth since customer service reps are just as human as anyone else. However, it can be frustrating to either get the run around as well as being solicited things one either doesn't need or doesn't understand. If only there was training in customer service that fell in linear/lockstep with the customer needs, then that shows the customer service rep cares. It's even worse when a customer service rep is laughing on the line which one can perceive as being laughed at. Plus, I hate it when I hear, "I've never heard this problem before." Why can't they add, "...but let me do my best to find a solution since I like a good challenge."...I also don't like it when I'm ordering food in the drive-thru and have to pull aside into the parking lot to wait on my food - what part of fast food do these people not understand? Even so, I shouldn't eat fast food everyday since it is by and large unkosher...What's also irritating, as I mentioned earlier is when I'm called up by a solicitor or campaign for money, they always insist I either give money to their product/service or campaign when I am very limited on money for the time being. I feel that beggars can't be choosers if I have given money to these organizations in the past and they have the nerve to call me up to ask for more as if I didn't give enough the first time; thus where is the quality as opposed to just quantity? Understandably, money isn't everything in life, so it ought to be spent wisely. Also, my grandfather recently passed away, and my dad and uncle have had to deal with an unscrupulous funeral home that solicits expensive funeral products/services, and asks some of the same questions over and over again by the same person. We must learn empathy for others to make the world a better place, and that, our hand won't get bitten when we're giving to the less fortunate. We ought to have reasonable expectations that are not too high or too low.

(2) lisa, July 31, 2011 1:58 PM

How y'all doing??

Hey y'all....in the South they do it all.....in fact I think they are too nice!!! If your new in shul you have people linning up to invite you over!! And everyone says hello....for a Northener like me..it could actually be frightning!!

(1) Rosen, July 31, 2011 12:21 PM

"Satisfaction Guaranteed" in customer service is a MYTH!

I've realized that "satisfaction guaranteed" in customer service is really a myth since customer service reps are just as human as anyone else. However, it can be frustrating to either get the run around as well as being solicited things one either doesn't need or doesn't understand. If only there was training in customer service that fell in linear/lockstep with the customer needs, then that shows the customer service rep cares. It's even worse when a customer service rep is laughing on the line which one can perceive as being laughed at. Plus, I hate it when I hear, "I've never heard this problem before." Why can't they add, "...but let me do my best to find a solution since I like a good challenge."...I also don't like it when I'm ordering food in the drive-thru and have to pull aside into the parking lot to wait on my food - what part of fast food do these people not understand? Even so, I shouldn't eat fast food everyday since it is by and large unkosher...What's also irritating, as I mentioned earlier is when I'm called up by a solicitor or campaign for money, they always insist I either give money to their product/service or campaign when I am very limited on money for the time being. I feel that beggars can't be choosers if I have given money to these organizations in the past and they have the nerve to call me up to ask for more as if I didn't give enough the first time; thus where is the quality as opposed to just quantity? Understandably, money isn't everything in life, so it ought to be spent wisely. Also, my grandfather recently passed away, and my dad and uncle have had to deal with an unscrupulous funeral home that solicits expensive funeral products/services, and asks some of the same questions over and over again by the same person. We must learn empathy for others to make the world a better place, and that, our hand won't get bitten when we're giving to the less fortunate. We ought to have reasonable expectations that are not too high or too low.

 

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