Articles Misc

All our lines are busy…

Why, why,
why? Tell me why! Why do we have to go through this torture every time we call
a customer service number of a big company or institution? If they do not have
enough personnel to attend the incoming calls, why do they not hire more staff?
Is this a worldwide Machiavellian plan to get on our nerves?

My second
favourite experience is when I call customer service numbers and they throw
recorded messages into your ears with a wide range of possibilities in three
different languages (I have to wait to for the English, which follows the
Finnish and Swedish explanations since I still do not have a mastery of this
beautiful Mikael Agricola language. So again, time to prepare coffee…).

 “If you want to consult your account
movements, press 1”. (this doesn’t make sense) “If you want to listen to the
last hockey match, press 2” etc. Most times you have to choose the last option
(“For other Inquiries”) since there is nothing that suits the simple question
you want to make. These are only the first steps of a tortuous ascent that,
usually, leads to the operator not understanding your enquiry, and you end up
being transferred from one department to another like a ping-pong ball.
Meanwhile, you pray that somebody with some common sense will attend to you.

So, my dear
friends, it cannot exactly be said that customer service culture in Finland is
highly developed. I still consider it a huge abuse to pay 2,5 euro in whatever
cafeteria of a city when I have to grab my cup, fill it with coffee, be careful
not to drop the milk jug and hunt for the sugar at the counter, while the
waiter/waitress’s only task is to hand you your bank card receipt to be signed.
Shouldn’t they be paying me for serving myself?

It is the
same when you try to purchase a train ticket at the station. Basically, the
customer service is there to make it more complicated when you want your money
back because you missed the train by a couple of minutes, or you buy a wrong
ticket because you do not understand the instructions in Finnish in the ticket
machine. Is it a part of the same worldwide Machiavellian plot that, with no
variation, half of the staff at the counters of railway stations cannot speak
proper English? No matter if it is in Helsinki, Beijing or Rome, the staff is
carefully selected and placed in customer service positions to make
communication more complicated. It is really a mysterious thing. Maybe Osama
Bin Laden is behind the recruitment processes for customer service positions
all over the world in order to create chaos and destruction.

Maybe, it is
just that I am getting old when I start to miss so many things from the good
old times: simple things such as making a phone call to ask a simple question,
and be greeted on the other end of the line by a real human being!

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