Comment: Customer Service & Customer Care Lines: Press 2 for English…

After two incidents (three really) of poor Customer Service on the same day, I felt compelled to put fingers to keys and share the experience! All of you working with customers or consumers – should look closely at how your Customer Service or Customer Care initiatives perform.

During a business call on Skype, the internet connection was suddenly lost. This is not that surprising bearing in mind where I live and the service is usually resumed in a few minutes. However, after an hour I was still unconnected with the outside world. Was something happening I did not know about?

I called the ISP and braced myself for the mathematical memory challenge to get past the recorded robot to speak to a breathing human being. After the first burst of a non-English language I was invited to “press 2 for English” – it is working, was my naive thought. There followed a set of menu choices also delivered in English. I selected the option for internet service and then gleefully pressed “0” to speak to a human being who would take care of my problem and get me reconnected to the outside world.

The female voice greeted me in her native language and her job title containing “Customer Care”. Ok, no problem with that, I am English and, therefore, mono-lingual but I know enough Romanian to get through the pleasantries and then I spoke in English.

“Can you help me reconnect my internet service?”

“No” replied the lady confidently – she obviously meant it and quickly put the telephone down. An honest response at least.

Probably my fault. Did I navigate the maths-memory challenge correctly? Did I dial the Chinese takeaway by mistake? In the context of my question and the takeaway menu then “no” would indeed be the correct answer. I tried again and once more listened to a reel of adverts for items I do not need until I reached press zero time again. Things should be ok this time as I guessed the lady was not actually an English speaker and picked up the English line by mistake. Aha, the gruffer tones of a man received me the second time.

“Can you help me reconnect my internet service?”

“No” replied the man equally as confidently as the lady before.

Before his digit could reach the red button I threw in a cunning, trapping retort.


“Because I don’t want to,” came the response before he pressed the red button and activated the modern-day version of a hastily slammed phone.

I was not a happy chappy by this stage, but I had to get reconnected so once more unto the breech dear friends…..Third time lucky was obviously in play as I raced through the maths and found someone at the end of the telephone who spoke English and actually wanted to help me.

“Can you help me reconnect my internet service?”

“Yes, of course. Please give me your subscription details.”

After being successfully identified, the nice man on the line told me why I was disconnected in the first place.

“You have not paid your latest invoice. This is why we cut you off.”

Despite a rise in temperature and associated blood pressure, I calmly rejected this claim and provided the date, time and value of the payment I had made.

“Can you provide the transaction reference number?”

“Well, I paid via the internet and I cannot recall the 8 digit transaction number.”

“If you can check your internet bank online now and tell me the number we can reconnect you immediately.”

“Did you really say that”, I asked with remarkable degree of calm………….

Finally, I am back online after a very frustrating brush with “Customer Care” and a not insignificant telephone expense.

If you offer a Customer Service or Customer Care call center (and you should if you want to succeed) then you might just test it out yourself and see what impression is being provided to your customers. All your hard work can be ruined in one simple phone call.

Comment: The most important role in retail and what bags have to do with it?

Comment: The IKEA shopping chaos and route planning

Comment: Retailers in Pipera: Large chains vs. discounters. Time for a change?

by Dave Jordan, guest writer

Romania Insider
Free Newsletters

Be up to speed with what’s happening in Romania! Choose from our 7 newsletters, covering the entire array of business, social, politics, and entertainment news

Subscribe now