I recently wrote an article about my experiences dealing with Wind Mobile’s Customer Service, while I was trying to get a cell phone set up for my brother.
In the end, Wind admitted that they couldn’t actually provide service for my brother in his area, but rather than refunding his money, they offered him a $100 credit, but only if he remained a customer… which we obviously declined.
After writing the article, we received thousands of supportive messages from people all over the world, through Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, email, and comments on my article. I was blown away by the sheer magnitude of the response from the masses- I couldn’t be more grateful.
But I did notice two overwhelming themes in the messages I received, and both point to a very sad state for Customer Service.
The first type: “I know how you feel, the same thing happened to me.”
The “misery loves company” type; I received message after message from other Wind customers (sometimes they weren’t even Wind customers) about how they were mistreated in a similar fashion- and sometimes the only common element in our two stories, was that we both felt ripped off.
As a consumer, we felt like the company took advantage of us, or wasn’t fair, and we just had to accept that and move on- we had no recourse.
The second type: “You should have known better”
This was actually a big surprise to me. I’m a pretty pessimistic person as it is, but I was blown away by the number of people that blamed me, and said “that I should have known better than to trust Wind”, or “why would you believe what they told you?”
I believe that consumers should be smart about their purchases; they should do their homework and understand what they’re getting in to when they sign something. But I also think that companies have a responsibility to be honest about their products and services and own up to it when they can’t or won’t deliver.
In my case, I had Wind Mobile insisting over the course of a month, that the cell coverage in my brothers area was “good, and definitely not the problem”, only to find out in the end, that it’s NOT good, and WAS definitely the problem.
Even with their lies, or at best, completely uninformed (intentionally or otherwise) staff, I had people saying that I should have known better than to believe them.
Is that really where we are? Consumers being trained to not trust anything that comes out of a company representative’s mouth, and if we fall for it, it’s our own fault for believing them?
Good Customer Service shouldn’t be a “niche” market for smaller guys to distinguish themselves.
Not a huge surprise, but the bigger companies are the worst offenders. It doesn’t really affect them as much if they lose a customer here or there- it’s the CODB, and in a lot of cases, the customer needs the service more than the company needs the customer. So consumers feel trapped- and simply put up with whatever the company tries to get away with.
The reality is, that if enough customers refuse to accept what they’re handing out; choose not to accept their excessive pricing, their arbitrary rules, and their poor customer service, we could make a difference; we could force them to change and put honesty before profits- or at least, “more’ of the profits towards being honest and fair.
… but we won’t. Most people, after years of putting up with it, don’t believe they can actually make a difference, so they become complacent and apathetic, and sometimes, in an ironic, Stockholm syndrome-like twist, evangelists of the shitty things companies do, triggering them to write comments about how people should have known better.
This type of thinking moves a large portion of blame on the consumer, as it tells these companies that’s it’s “OK”- we’ve developed a coping mechanism to deal with their recidivism, and they’re more than welcome to ratchet up the shit they want us to eat.