Show of hands: Has there been a single instance in recent months in which you’ve called customer service and weren’t told that because of “unusually heavy call volume,” you’ll be on hold for the rest of your natural life?
Yeah, that’s what I thought.
Customer service became roadkill during the pandemic and has yet to recover. The latest example of this involves Facebook and Instagram parent Meta Platforms.
CNBC relates how Los Angeles influencer Katya Karlova discovered that her Instagram account had been hacked, resulting in stolen content and fake accounts.
“This is really damaging,” she told the network. “This is my brand and I work really hard to build it to be something impactful and positive.”
The problem, according to CNBC, is that after 21,000 Meta workers got sacked since last fall, customer service has been wiped out. Businesses and influencers often can’t reach anyone when there are problems with their accounts.
The issue isn’t unique to Meta or various other tech companies that seem to pride themselves on being impossible to reach.
As I reported back in 2020, consumers started hearing about “unusually heavy call volume” not long after Mean Mr. Covid blew into town.
But the reality, call-center operators told me, was that call volume was largely the same. What changed was that companies no longer had people answering phones.
“Call volume is not up,” an exec at one outsourcing firm said. She said her company’s average client had “the same number of calls per week as it did late last year.”
To me, treating customer service as an afterthought is a sign of holding your customers in contempt.
It’s disrespectful, dishonest and just plain bad business.
And don’t tell me my call is very important if you can’t be bothered to have a sufficient number of call-center workers on hand to deal with all these important calls.
It seems clear that many companies decided something had to give if they wanted to protect profit margins, and customer service was deemed a luxury, not a necessity.
That’s wrong. Dead wrong.
Surveys consistently show that consumers place good customer service high on their list of reasons why they’d return to any particular business.
Ignoring that is short-sighted on the part of companies and a sign of misplaced priorities. What they’re saying is that satisfied shareholders are more valuable than satisfied customers.
News flash: Unhappy customers taking their business elsewhere is the fastest way to cheese off shareholders.
Go ahead, Meta, give me a call and I’ll explain it to you.
Don’t mind the three-hour wait. Your call is very important to me.