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August 27, 2004

B2B or Not to Be

I have easily half a dozen, if not more, free magazine subscriptions as "an industry member."

A firm representing one of them called today to renew my subscription. I got one question in before the woman on the phone was fully intelligible. By the second question, I could guesstimate what she was saying based on the surveys I fill out every year to keep the existing subscriptions and add new ones. By the third, I couldn't understand a damn word she was saying, despite asking her three times to repeat herself.

In fact, just moments after the call abortively ended, I can't even tell you what magazine she was representing. The only word I could catch out of the verbal vomit issuing from my earpiece was "Knowledge."

C'mon, publishers, you have to outsource to call centers where people can enunciate and aren't tearing through every call as if their pay depends on call volume. I'm a small-time business guy. I couldn't even put up with this worthless, annoying interruption in my day. Do you think your bigger customers are even going to blink an eye at this sort of thing before slamming the handset back in the cradle? They wear suspenders, and we all know people in suspenders have no patience (and really, would you? Suspenders are enough to make anyone grumpy).

It's a plus that the woman on the other end of the phone was obviously calling from this country, but I think I would have had better luck understanding an Indian for whom English is a fourth or fifth language (and indeed, in one of my experiences with Dell, that was exactly the case).

Cases like this are part of the reason customer service has gone to pot in this country. Quantity over quality. Keep the calls coming. Screw the customer in your quest for "efficiency!"

Posted by Colin at August 27, 2004 3:13 PM

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