I’m A Customer … Can I Now Have The Relations?

By N. Mark Castro

In light of my recent article in Think About CRM, I decided to activate this blog.


Recently, I had a great idea while waiting on hold for Customer Service.

That’s pretty much all I do these days: wait for Customer Service.

My call is important to them. They have told me this many times in a sincere recorded message. They can’t wait to serve me!

They will answer my call just as soon as they finish serving the entire population of mainland China.

It’s my own darned fault that I need to speak to Customer Service. We made a really stupid homeowner mistake: We moved to another house. Don’t ever make this mistake! It’s ALWAYS better to stay in your current house, even if it’s actively on fire. If other people have bought your house and are moving in, you should hide in the basement and forage for food at night. Because if you move, you’ll end up like us: surrounded by hundreds of cardboard boxes packed by strangers, each box containing an average of one item — perhaps a used toothpick — wadded up inside 75,000 square feet of packing paper. Virtually every box will be labeled with some mutant spelling of the word ”miscellaneous.”

You will not be able to find ANYTHING.

For example, I’m pretty sure that, before we moved, we had a 3-year old son.

(I’m kidding, of course. We know exactly where our son is. He’s inside one of these boxes.)

On moving day, I was crouching in a forest of stacked boxes, attempting to take apart a sleeper-sofa the size of a Toyota Alphard so that we could attempt to force it through a doorway the width of Lady Gaga, when suddenly, outside, I heard the movers, who spoke Bahasa Indonesia, shouting something about a tikus (rat).

I could tell by the urgency in their voices that there were upside-down exclamation points at the beginnings of their sentences. So I ran outside, and there, on the front walk, was a tikus. In other places, when you move, you’re visited by the Welcome Mickey Mouse Signboard; here in South Jakarta, you get the Real Mickey Mouse!

”I’m always around!” was the rat’s unspoken message. “Let me know if you got food!”

But my point, which I am hoping to get to before we reach the end of the column, is that, because we moved, we had to change all the essential services — the electrical service, the phone service, the mail service, the water service, the cable service, the internet service, the beer tanker delivery service, etc. — and naturally, because all the companies involved use sophisticated computers, none of these services actually work right in our new house. Everything is mixed up. We have water coming from our phone, and we receive phone calls on our toaster, and when we turn on our kitchen faucet, scenes from ”Twilight” come gushing out.

So to straighten this mess out, I’ve suspended doing my job (which would be a good excuse for my boss) and started spending my days waiting on hold for Customer Service, listening to the snappy ”lite” jazz music they play when they are not telling you how important your call is to them.

But while doing this, I got my idea.

You know those telemarketing people who always call you at dinnertime? I’m talking about the ones who never come right out and say they’re selling something. Lately, they’ve been using the bizarre term ”courtesy call” to describe what they’re doing.

”Mr. Max,” they’ll say (because despite their inability to say my name, they insist on being polite). “This is just a courtesy call to do you the courtesy of interrupting your dinner so I can ask you this question: Would you like to save 50 percent or more on your long-distance phone bill?”

I always say no.

I tell them that I WANT a big long-distance bill, and that I often place totally unnecessary calls to distant continents just to jack it up. I tell them that if my long-distance bill is not high enough to suit me, I deliberately set fire to a pile of cash. Then I hang up.

But, of course, this does not stop them.

The next night, they call again.

That’s how courteous they are.

So here’s the deal: On the one hand, we have telemarketing people constantly calling us, even though everyone hates them and, to my personal knowledge, nobody in the history of the world has ever bought anything from them; and on the other hand, when we want to reach Customer Service, we can never get through.

Obviously, what emerging market Indonesia needs to do is round up all the employees in the Telemarketing Department, march them over to Customer Service, and order them to step over the bodies of the Customer Service employees, all of whom apparently passed away years ago, and ANSWER THE PHONE, OK?

Because this toaster is burning my ear.

About Asmartrock

N. Mark Castro is the chief political communications strategist for PT AsiaLeads, a political and communications policy-making body based in Jakarta, Indonesia. He is also the Executive Director at the Southeast Asia Consulting Group, an investment advisory company assisting clients roll out their presence for the ASEAN Economic Integration in partnership with government. The views posted here are his own and do not in any way reflect the views of the companies he represents.

Posted on July 10, 2012, in Thoughts and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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