Customer service representatives on the phone can be rude, brusque, and just plain useless. But what happens when their phone demeanor is so polite and full of thanks and apologies that it’s excessive and a waste of everyone’s time? It’s part of the script, but is it productive? That’s what John wondered during a recent call to his insurance company, Geico.
Yesterday I called Geico on my way home from work to get a renters’ insurance policy for my new apartment. The agent goes through the standard list of questions pretaining to my personal info and the apartment they’ll be insuring. After every…single…question…that I answered he responded with “Thank you, I greatly appreciate that information.” I believe I heard this phrase upwards of 40 times. He put me on hold to finish up the new policy and got off hold 3 times to profusely apologize for me waiting and that he was still working on it. For one, you don’t need to thank me 40 times for answering your 40 questions. I understand it’s part of the process, a process which would go by much quicker without the polite fluff. Secondly, you can finish up the work much quicker without switching back over to tell me “Thank you so much for your patience sir, I really do apologize for the wait, I’m continuing to finalize your policy and appreciate your continued patience so much.” Yeah, great, I get it, but get it done with, please.
There seems to be a trend with companies who try to overextend themselves with great customer service. They go past “great” and enter the realm of “supremely annoying.” I understand they are supposed to build rapport with the customer with a bit of small talk, but some of the company-inserted lines are ridiculous. For example, when I call the cable company, I’m tired of them giving me the whole “Thank you for choosing our cable company, it is our pleasure to serve you and we appreciate your business.” Of course you do, but you can show it by fixing my problem. If you can’t fix my problem, no amount of lip service is going to make me think after I hang up, “Gee, that company really sucks, but that was a swell CSR thanking me for my business. I think I’ll be quite okay with them royally screwing up my bill now because they appreciate my business.”
It’s tough for them to put on such friendly fronts most of the time, as well. It would save everyone some time, effort, and frustration to cut through the fluffy smoochy crap.
I agree with John–I hate talking on the phone and prefer efficiency. What do you think?