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critter
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Let me preface by saying that this is not an "anti-corporation" thread, it's an "anti-stupid-corporation" thread.

So I was thinking- how many times have you had terrible customer service from a big corporation? (Yes, I've had bad experiences with small businesses too *cough* Runner's Soul *cough* but not nearly as often.)
When I've threatened not to patronize such companies I've heard more than once something along the following lines: "So? We're a multi-million dollar company, we aren't going to miss one customer."
So if a few extra dollars lost by alienating any of their customers who happen to have dignity isn't important, then why is outsourcing important?

To sum up:
Why do these companies act like it's so important to save pennies on labor and taxes, when they don't even give a smeg about the people who give them their money to begin with?

And, again, kudos to those big companies who do prioritize customer satisfaction and still turn a profit.
"The fool is one who doesn't know what you have just found out."
~Will Rogers
S2000magician
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I suspect that it boils down to there being different people who handle revenues from the people who handle expenses. The latter have been told to do whatever it takes to reduce those expenses, whereas the former have not been told to do whatever it takes to increase (or, at least, maintain) those revenues.

You're right: stupid (or, perhaps, myopic).
Steve_Mollett
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Short-term over long-term profit; reaching over a dollar to pick up a dime.
Author of: GARROTE ESCAPES
The absurd is the essential concept and the first truth.
- Albert Camus
MobilityBundle
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I generally agree that there are probably more poorly run companies than well-run companies. And virtually any company can probably be run better.

That said, running a company of any appreciable size is *hard*. There are a lot of tensions, but here's one that you touch on. In the customer service department, there's the tension between providing your employees discretion to handle customer service problems vs. providing strict policies that have little or no room for discretion.

The upside for affording customer service reps discretion is, at least arguably, customers will probably be end up happier. The downside is that there may be inconsistency, inefficiency, and confusion in what remedies are called for in what situations.

Of course, it's not either-or. There's a whole continuum over *how much* discretion customer service reps can have. But still, finding the right point on that continuum is... hard.
landmark
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The death of tech support for tech products means that, with a few notable exceptions, companies have calculated their profit margin to be greater without the expense. Perhaps that's a short sighted calculation, but it seems to be holding up.
critter
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IMO, enforcing policy isn't the same thing as bad customer service.
"The fool is one who doesn't know what you have just found out."
~Will Rogers
tommy
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My advice is only do business with the little people
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

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MagicSanta
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Years ago an express company called on a very large semiconductor processor manufacturer, one of the top two in the world. The conversation, and it should be noted the express sales guy was everything obnoxious a sales guy can be, with the vice president of logistics went as follows (I was present)
VP: thank you for you presentation. We will review everything and let you know our decision.
Sales Guy; I will have my driver here this afternoon, let me know if you need help and I ccan take over your shipping dock.
VP; we will get back to you.
Sales guy: maybe I need to speak to your boss
VP; excuss me?
Sales guy; well, you have no choice, eventually you have to use us, everyone will, only idiots don't see the facts
VP; GET OUT NOW.

That vp made sure that express company never got an ounce of business in or outbound. We are talking millions of dollars in loss business. Oh I just remembered the best part. The vp called the reps boss and told him what happened and the guy responded "he is right, you will have to use us". They didn't.
MobilityBundle
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Quote:
On 2012-07-09 20:25, critter wrote:
IMO, enforcing policy isn't the same thing as bad customer service.

Absolutely, at least not in all cases. But the two can be related in unexpected ways.

For example, consider a conservative HR policy that sets forth a somewhat rigid procedure to be followed in order to fire someone. The idea behind the policy is to minimize the company's exposure to wrongful termination or discrimination suits. Under the policy, the employee has to be given a certain number of warnings, have a certain number of documented infractions, etc.

So now suppose they company hires a grossly sub-par customer service rep. If their manager had more discretion they'd be fired on the spot. But instead, the procedure must be adhered to. Customer service suffers as a result.
Dannydoyle
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I liked the Red Dwarf reference.
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
critter
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Thanks, I'm trying to clean up my language before Liam starts kindergarten.
"The fool is one who doesn't know what you have just found out."
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Woland
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Hi critter, I've never had a responsible person at a major corporation tell me that they disdain my custom. If I am serioiusly dissatisfied -or seriously pleased, for that matter- with service from a big company, I usually telephone or write to the President & CEO. In general, the CEO of a company does care. 99 times out of 100, I don't get through to the CEO, but they invariably have an assistant who is empowered to handle praises or complaints. And that assistant knows how to get things done in the company. They can't always remedy every situation, but they can usually get very close.
critter
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I tried that with a major chain video store (now defunct, can't imagine why). I asked the lady I had the problem with if I could see the manager and she kind of half-smile/half-sneered and said "I am the manager." I then tried emailing the company (there was no phone number provided on the website) a few times and never heard back.
Aside from the manager sometimes being the problem, I've had a quite a few of those outsourced customer service people hang up on me when I ask for a manager (and a couple of non-outsourced ones too.)
"The fool is one who doesn't know what you have just found out."
~Will Rogers
Woland
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Hi critter,

It doesn't work unless you go the CEO. Middle managers aren't going to help you.

It can be difficult to identify the CEO of even a public corporation. Usually you can find out who he is from the website they put up for investors or from SEC filings.
S2000magician
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Quote:
On 2012-07-10 16:38, Woland wrote:
Hi critter,

It doesn't work unless you go the CEO. Middle managers aren't going to help you.

It can be difficult to identify the CEO of even a public corporation. Usually you can find out who he is from the website they put up for investors or from SEC filings.

Yahoo! Finance lists the officers of publicly-traded corporations.
critter
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I will say that I know of one big corp that outsourced their customer service knowing full well that it would reduce their customer satisfaction for those calls by 65% compared the American centers. Conscious decision to put short-term cost saving over long-term customer loyalty. Not gonna' tell the whole story again, but they're out of business now.

As I said, it's not universal. All I'm saying is that it does happen, and that it's stupid that it happens.
"The fool is one who doesn't know what you have just found out."
~Will Rogers
LobowolfXXX
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In the social media age, complaints can get more attention than they used to. It's not just you grumbling to a few friends: you might have a blog, or post negative comments/reviews on Yelp, Twitter, Facebook, etc.

On the zPizza Facebook page, they were touting their participation in Vegan Pizza Day by offering their signature "Berkeley Vegan" by the slice. They have many locations in different states. The one that's local to me wasn't participating, which I was annoyed by, because parking there isn't great, and I simply would have gone elsewhere for my vegan pizza, had I known. I complained on their Facebook page and said thst next year, maybe they should make sure all of their location managers know before they start bragging about it on Facebook. I got a quick reply, and also let them know that I'm not thrilled (again related to the parking situation) that they're hit or miss with respect to delivering to me, depending on who answers the phone (I'm less than 1/2 mile outside their range, technically; it's literally less than an extra minute). The upshot is, they fired me off a $10 coupon, and my local store is getting a call from corporate to include my address in their delivery range.

Maybe I woukd have gotten the same response with a less public complaint, but I think the Internet helped a bit.
"Torture doesn't work" lol
Guess they forgot to tell Bill Buckley.

"...as we reason and love, we are able to hope. And hope enables us to resist those things that would enslave us."
TonyB2009
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I had a problem with an insurance company once, after a car accident. I was getting nowhere fast. So I got the home number of the CEO, and I phoned him after midnight to complain. The problem was sorted the following morning.
landmark
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I complained to the Apple CEO about their outsourcing, but I haven't seen results yet.
MagicSanta
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,I was a customer service rep for an internet provider we shall refer to as KP&P. First of the outsourced reps technically knew the job fine, it was cultural issues that they really upset customers. Most of the reps did care but there was a certain goal which made upsetting customers worthwhile... getting callers to accept a transfer to the $80 a call group and if you threaten to drop us we transfer you to smoothers who will giv you a cost break.

Want to speak to a supv? You get whoever isn't on a call. Want the CEO? We will give you his office number. If KP&P had their way all tier one calls would go overseas while keeping only advanced tech support and smoothers here. Oh, swear and we can hang up on you, most won't, some will.

Most fun I had withba call was a smoother called to let mw know a very angry customer got India and took several minutes to retain. The smoother told me to emphasize I was in the US, it went.....
Smoother: sir, I have Steve in our Nevada office and he will help you out
Customer; thank you, I just get tires of not getting an American when I try to use American companies
Smoother; understood sir, Steve is in the US and very knowledgable (click to bring me in) Steve this is Mr. Thomas and he has a question, go ahead
Me in thick Indian accent: yes what can I do to be of assistance?
The customer and smoother cracked up and it was a good call after that.

If asked by customers where I was I always said "Bangladish
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