I’ve had it with customer service, and people not doing the jobs they were hired to do.

Like reading.

Having worked in customer service for quite a few years, I am prepared to cut CSRs quite a bit of slack.  I know they have a difficult, boring job in which they are expected to tolerate high levels of stress while sounding cheerful throughout.

However, could they at least listen, or read, depending on whether they are on the phone or using a chat interface?

I am a bit unusual in that I don’t expect the CSRs to fix everything, I know their limitations, but I do expect them to understand a problem when I have taken the time to lay it out for them.

For example:

I need to get into an old email account through Cox.  I’m aware it’s over the 180 day deactivation period.  However, the OTHER customer service people, with Star Wars: The Old Republic, insist that they need to use that address, and only that address, to help me with an issue I have, and they refuse to change it because I’ve already changed it once.  I could write pages about THAT interaction but won’t.  This one is about Cox.

Anyway, I let the chat rep know, fairly succinctly, that I just want to know if the account can be reactivated or recreated so I can use that old address.  I answer all his questions, I use complete sentences, and even proper punctuation.  I think he’s US-based, or at least has a good command of the English Language.

So he acknowledges my problem and sends me a knowledgebase article that purports to fix it.  I click on it, hopefully.

Nope!  My issue isn’t solved.  I explain it again, using even shorter sentences.  He says he’ll go research.

He sends me the same damn KB article.

After more discussion I finally pry it out of him that nobody can do what I”m asking so I’m pretty much SOL, since I can’t spoof a account and they aren’t allowing any new user-created ones at this time.  And, of course, the old email address would still be considered “taken” even though no one else can use it now.

At this point I’m pretty disgusted and I tell him thanks for nothing, and express my wish that he’d just read my original question and told me the truth from the beginning.

So, this brings me to my futile plea.  Considering that as a chat tech support rep, it is literally his job to read, why couldn’t he at least do that?  It would have improved his score and my opinion of the company, greatly. 

I shouldn’t feel like a freaking rock star just because I can comprehend the printed word.



If you are still unfortunate enough to be toiling in the galleys of customer service or tech support, I promise you that if you take the time to truly understand the customer’s problem you will be a DEITY among CSRs and will actually improve your metrics considerably.  You will also have to deal with far less trouble from customers, most of whom just want someone to give a crap, whether they can help or not.


By the way, If you’re wondering what I mean by “customer serviced,” think about cattle breeding.

Unrepentant Bibliophile

Books have been a part of my life since the beginning.

As a child, the public library was always my “happy place,” where I would go for socializing and for fun.

Books provided friendship, escape, knowledge, peace.  I gathered libraries for myself in my room, checked out tall stacks every week.

When I was old enough to pick out a university, I chose the one I did largely because of it’s fantastic, beautiful library.  It was built like a cathedral to knowledge, with stained glass windows and a giant, leather covered, metal studded door.  Come to think of it, I should have spent a lot more time in that reading room.

I met my wisest kendo teacher in the undergraduate library at that same school.  If you happen upon this, Bolling Sensei, I hope you may understand someday what you gave me.

Libraries are places of hidden treasures, ready to be uncovered with a watchful eye.  As I gather facts, I feel like a squirrel gathering nuts against winter’s chill.

When I got my first house, I looked forward to gathering a fantastic library.  I made a good start of it then had to give up almost every book when I had to move five years later…

…it left a hole in my heart, of a size I’ve barely begun to fathom.

I collected ebooks, bought a reader.  It helped.  I wanted a library small enough to fit into someone’s prosthetic leg.  I still have that reader, old as it is.

Two more moves.  Heartache, saving, worrying, and then the break came.  A better job, a very kind offer from my folks, and finally a new home.

As I looked at my fledgling library tonight, I felt a sense of peace and wellbeing come over me that I’ve not felt in quite some time.  At first, I hardly recognized it.  Then I knew I had to share it.  It was the feeling of being around books again.

I was truly home in a way I’ve not been in far too long.

Viva books!