My roomie and I have both got horrible coughs, so I was awake more times last night than the total number of hours I was in bed. About double that number, I’d estimate. My wife had taken herself off to the spare bedroom, and so slept well, she reported.
I’ve checked with a rapid flow test and (yes, I know they’re not infallible) it doesn’t look like Covid 19, just the horrible infection that our guest arrived with last week, and passed straight on to me.
Up before seven and taxi duty, getting everyone to where they need to be. Then back home, computer open, and the night’s emails to deal with.
Preciso – when someone writes with a question or a technical issue, I do my best to help. My absolute best, though often that appears not to be good enough…
Emailed responses are not automated, not delgated (look out for my name at the bottom), and you can expect a reply within minutes if you’re lucky, within a few hours at worst.
Or, if we’re in completely different time zones, I’ll notice, and prioritise responding to you before doing anything else, such as taking a hot shower in the hope of clearing my clogged up lungs, running nose, and the head that would rather be elsewhere, ideally asleep.
So it’s frustrating when the first job is replying to people who got the best help I could give yesterday and ‘it still doesn’t work’.
Um, that would be because:
1.) You didn’t read what I wrote, and just repeated what you were doing before, which didn’t work for you because the device you chose to do it on is poorly designed for your needs and, anyway, you have not taken the time to learn how to use.
2.) You have some really weird antivirus/firewall set up that I’ve never heard of and in fact probably doesn’t exist that’s stopping you doing what you’re trying to do and which everyone else seems to manage. You could check if that’s the case by following yesterday’s instructions on a different device, or if you don’t have one, asking a friend or family member to do it for you.
But no, it was 1.), so I’ll write it again.
You thought I meant to do what you did before that didn’t work, and that now it will work, right? But it still doesn’t? That’s what you meant, but didn’t actually say?
But what I actually meant was, hey, let’s scratch the way that works for people using real computers, assume that you’re not able to Google how to use your poorly-designed device to do this simple task, and I’ll just do the heavy-lifting for you. So now, all you have to do is click one time on what I sent you yesterday, not what you were clicking on before, mind, and it will work (except see 2.) above).
Riassunto: don’t do what you did before, do this other thing that I’ve now told you twice.
As I said, I woke up a little under the weather, but guys, do you know why customer service can be so dreadful?
Products don’t do what people expect them to do for a variety of reasons, and absolutely things should be well-designed, and there should be help available for those who need it, espcially those of us who are getting on a bit and have bits falling off. An instruction manual, perhaps, a FAQ, a Youtube video, why not?
But when the buyer is not paying attention, even when they are receiving personal help along the lines of a.) you did this. Don’t do that again, do b.) which’ll work…
When the buyer’s response is “It still doesn’t work!” (not specifying, please note, whether they are talking about repeating step a.) or trying the guaranteed to work but wastful of my time step b.), well then what?
Resending the same text as was sent the day before would be unhelpful and frustrating for the buyer.
Rewriting the text to make it clearer is time-consuming and, sadly, not guaranteed to solve the problem. People who don’t read, don’t read. My new roomie, for example, who just clicks screens until they do something.
I’ve been told, many times, that if I can’t find it in myself to be nice to people, I should hire someone (I have several suitable adult children) to do that for me.
But you know what? Predicting the vast range of ways that people can mess up something that should be, and actually is, really simple, and keeping track of how these things change over time, as technologies evolve, is something that isn’t easy to teach customer service assistants.
Sure, you can write it all down – if the client says this, tell them that, or that, or that.
Does that approach work?
You tell me.
What about using an A.I. algorithms, rather than people, to identify from the customer’s typed plea what their problem is and how they should fix it? Does that work?
You tell me.
Dante (scroll down) should have had a special circle of his ‘Inferno’ for customer service staff. But I don’t suppose they’d have been too bothered, as whatever torments and frustrations he could have dreamed up would unlikely have come as much of a change. People were a pain in the middle ages, too.
Customer service is so lousy because companies don’t care enough to, or can’t afford to, hire polite, technically-qualified mindreaders, ideally with postgrad degrees in psychology, who can intuit the probable cause of any possible issue and communicate that effectively in writing or speech.
And if they do care enough, and can afford to, well goodness knows how they manage to keep their staff turnover within acceptable limits. I mean! Honestly!
However, if you happen to get to interact with such saints (my nomination for best customer service goes to the British bank, First Direct), then beata te!
If it’s a large organisation, stick with them come hell, high water, or until they replace their people with algorithms.
And if, instead, it’s a small business? Enjoy it while it lasts ‘cos sooner or later the boss is going to go bananas, or decide to look into A.I. options…
Così. Going in the shower.
So if that hasn’t put you off, this week’s half-price eBoook of the Week is the B1 (intermediate) Zio Ciro e la pizza.
Download the free sample chapter (.pdf) to check that the material would or wouldn’t be suitable at your current ability level, and that you know how to open it and use it on your device.
The recording of the entire story is available for anyone to listen to, no purchase required. The link’s in the free sample chapter (.pdf).
Until Sunday night, Zio Ciro e la pizza costs just £3.99, rather than the usual £7.99.
Join Angela as she helps her Neapolitan uncle prepare pizzas for a special lunch, while learning the fascinating history of Napoli’s most famous dish!
- .pdf e-book (+ audio available free online)
- .mobi (Kindle-compatible) and .epub (other ebook readers) available on request at no extra charge – just add a note to the order form or email us
- 8 chapters to read and listen to
- Comprehension questions to check your understanding
- Italian/English glossary of ‘difficult’ terms for the level
- Suitable for students at any level
- Download your Free Sample Chapter (.pdf)
How do I access my ebook?
When your order is ‘completed’ (immediately after payment, normally), a download link will be automatically emailed to you. It’s valid for 7 days and 3 download attempts so please save a copy of the .pdf ebook in a safe place. Other versions of the ebook (.mobi/Kindle-compatible, .epub) cannot be downloaded but will be emailed to people who request them.
The donations page is here, incidentally. And for the technically-challenged there are step-by-step instructions, with pictures!