A few years ago (Dec 2008), I posted an article about “5 Steps To Living A Spam-Free Life.” I was tempted to republish it in its entirety, but I’ll trust that you’re going to read it. Right now.
Fast-forward to yesterday. I got home from a week’s vacation with some friends, only to discover that ants had decided to take up residence in my home while we were away. I’d already sprayed some of that “home barrier” stuff both inside and outside my house, but they’d still found a way in. There were thousands of dead ants on my front step.
Time to call the Orkin Man. I’ll save my displeasure for how Orkin does business for another post, but I’ve noticed a trend lately in customer service, and that’s the focus of this article. Suffice it to say that we’re ant free after their visit.
Do you have an email address we can use?
This is becoming a more common question when working with businesses over the phone, and it makes complete sense to me. That way, in future communication, they can just send me an email notification instead of calling and interrupting me. If you read the article I listed above, I have absolutely no fear giving out my email address to businesses, shady or otherwise. In the case of Orkin, I gave the address firstname.lastname@example.org. Later in the call, after I had completed my order, the customer service representative asked me if I had pen and paper handy, so that I could write down my appointment time, confirmation number, and Orkin Man’s name. I told him that I was driving, and that if he could email me at the email address I provided, it would be greatly appreciated.
“I’m sorry sir, I don’t have the ability to email.”
Are you kidding me?
Yep. He didn’t have a way to email the information. But I don’t blame Orkin. This seems to be common practice in customer service. I’ve had the same experience with Zappos.com, eBags.com, and many other retailers. With every call comes some important information that I will need in the future, and they don’t have a way to send it to me electronically. (In fact, sometimes I’m not even driving, I’m just too lazy to find the stuff and write it down.)
This suggests a couple of things to me:
- They know that confirmation numbers are as worthless as I suspected.
- They are concerned that a customer service rep will put something in writing that isn’t true, but that they will now have to uphold.
- Their development staff hasn’t figured out how to create a button that will email a confirmation number to an email address.
What do you think?
I often go on rants like this, but I’ve only got my perspective to fall back on. Since this seems to be such a common practice in customer service, why do you think that is? Why can’t the person I speak to on the phone send me an email with the information we discussed?