I'd love to help, but I can't help - is there anything else I can help with?
Anyone familiar with this modern trend in customer service?
A "Catch 22, catch you later" situation that drives you madder than the problem you rang up about in the first place.
The concept came into sharp focus the other day talking to a friend. They needed internet in order to work from home, but their internet was on the blink.
So they rang their Telco, who gave the familiar and slightly horrifying advice that a service person would call round anytime from the end of the phone call until approximately four days later.
If my friend didn't answer the door, the service person would abandon the service call. But all was not lost - my friend would have the option to reschedule - if she hadn't been evicted in the meantime due to the inability to work at home without internet.
"Is there anything else I can help with today?"
Feeling non-helped, my friend tried to narrow the potential timing down to a predictable morning or afternoon of a particular day.
The "service" person said that was impossible to know, because who knows? But caringly inquired if my friend would you like a courtesy handset,
Not much use given the internet was the issue, which my friend pointed out.
"So let me just note this," was the reply, "you are declining the offer of a courtesy handset." My friend got the distinct impression she was now talking to the hand. So she inquired how long it would take for the courtesy handset to arrive. Why not?
The person replied that it would likely arrive at her house in the next five working days. Quicker to get the mystery service person to deliver it, my friend replied - when they came out to fix the internet, in the next however many days.
The response was perhaps predictable: "Just to reconfirm, you're refusing the offer of a courtesy handset?"
Upon relating this familiar tale my friend and I proceeded to rage against the customer service machine.
So much about not servicing the customer, but rather shielding the company, and perhaps too, the people on the front line of customer service, who have feelings too, and if you hurt them they may hang up, or worse, redirect your call.
Used to be you had a problem, you rang the company, they provided a solution.
Nowadays everything goes out the window and floats up to the cloud where it's all gone digital except the digits that need to be extracted to fix the problem.
Not that it's the customer service person's fault because what would they know about fixing things beyond picking up the phone and inquiring how can they help?
More a plea than a question, really, because how can they help if they don't know how they can help beyond asking if there's anything else they can help with.
A catch 22 situation where you're damned if you do, damned if you don't. Catch you later.