Is Customer Insensitivity All The Rage?

“We are a customer centric organization.”

Log onto almost any corporate website and you are almost guaranteed to read the aforesaid statement. Or, statements such as “Our mission is to fulfill our customers’ needs.”

Sadly, such statements are usually mere lip service to customer satisfaction and rarely translate into reality. In today’s post, I am going to recount a few anecdotal, personal experiences that raise the question “Is Customer Insensitivity All The Rage?”

Do read on and if you have similar experiences, do share via the “Leave a Comment’ facility. Perhaps, together, we can sensitize the corporate world into truly listening to customers who, lest they forget, get salaries and shareholder dividends paid.

This morning I called the CPP Card Protection Customer Service line to cancel my membership.

The service had been sold to me by Kotak Mahindra Bank when I agreed to sign-up for a Kotak credit card. At that time, I signed up thinking the protection would be good as I travelled frequently.

Since I am due to retire at the end of this month, I decided to cancel my CPP membership deeming it as unnecessary expenditure. What followed was a 15-minute exercise in exasperation.

I began by informing the Customer Service representative who answered the Customer Service helpline that I wished to cancel my membership. I followed through by explaining that I was retiring and no longer needed the protection. I explained my reasons because I fully anticipated that I would face huge resistance to my cancellation request. And….that is exactly what happened! That’s how predictable a revenue hungry, business world has become, making customers wary and on their guard!

The guy at the CPP end of the line began a long diatribe on how I should not cancel as there are so many fraudsters out there.

I explained to him over and over that I am going to retire and that my income would cease. When he persisted, I went to the extent of telling him that I don’t keep well and am not going to leave the confines of my house much.

Nothing seemed to register.

I finally lost my patience and asked him to just cancel my membership and that I did not want him to try and persuade me otherwise. I even informed him that he should be sympathising with me and instead, he was being callous and insensitive.

Even asking for sympathy didn’t work!

The CPP employee or outsourced call center employee was just too focused on not losing the annuity from my membership.

Next he tried lecturing me on the frauds and vultures in the world and how I needed the protection even if I was retired and at home. On that missive, I informed him that I was part of senior management of a national hospitality company and knew all about risk management and how to protect myself.

Did it work? Nope!

By now, I was so exasperated that I began raising my voice. Now, here comes the punch line.

I was asked why I was getting hyper!!!!

Do I need to say more? I don’t think so – except to narrate another anecdote that lends support to my statement that customer insensitivity seems to be becoming all the rage.

This happened a few years ago, but perhaps it was a sign of the purely revenue-driven, business era to come.

I was at a hospital teller, paying the required deposit after hospitalising my mother. Since the hospitalisation was sudden, I swiped my credit card to pay the deposit.

A barely two minutes after the card was swiped, my phone rang. It was the issuing bank (I think it was Standard Chartered but I am not sure). The girl on the line began by saying, “We notice that you have used your card at ‘x’ hospital. Do you need a loan?”

I was aghast, to say the least. Stressed out of my head over my mother ill in hospital, I don’t think I have yelled at anyone the way I did that day. I think I even called the bank ‘Shylock.’

Later, when I was narrating what happened to someone senior who I happened to know at the issuing bank, I pointed out that the Bank had actually missed an opportunity to gain customer goodwill. All that needed to be done was to start the conversation with, “Mam, sorry to call you at this hour. But, we noticed you swiped your card at a hospital. We hope nothing serious is amiss. We are calling to ask if the Bank can extend any financial help.”

I think if the person calling had simply expressed some concern, my reaction would have been very different.

Am I blaming the young people who spoke to me from CPP and the Bank? Or, the other temp and outsourced staff, across industries, who are being shouted at by customers like me 24*7?

Au contraire. I feel sorry for these young people who are being trained to think, act and behave no better than Shylock.

The issue, as I said, lies in revenue obsessed business.

In such a business climate, where is the customer?

No prizes for guessing here.

Of course, the customer is shopping around for a better deal or in the hope of being treated better!

Do you agree? Do drop a comment letting me know if you, too, have experienced customer insensitivity.

#CustomerExperience #customerservice #CustomerInsensitivity

Thank you for reading this post. If you enjoyed the read and found value, do check out Perform to Order, Marketers Wear The Scarlet LetterIs Your Brand Position a Mirageand Punishing the goodMay I also request that you help spread the good word in this post? All you need to do is take a second and click on any one of the Social Media buttons here. Of course, I would also be delighted if you subscribed to my blog site. Or connected with me via LinkedIn or Twitter where I regularly publish my posts on my feed:)

Featured Image Credit: Welcoming All Problems by Zach ( CC BY-SA 2.0)


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