The Joy of Waiting

I am not a patient man, Modern Philosophers.

To that point, I am impatiently drumming my fingers on the table while waiting for you to finally finish reading this post so you can like and comment on it.

I do not like to be kept waiting.

I think all companies should be forced to have a voicemail option on their customer service lines.  If they cannot take your call in an acceptable amount of time, the caller needs to be given the choice to leave a message and get a return call.

After all, we have more important things to do than to wait for your customer service people to finally get around to providing that customer service that’s desperately lacking.

This morning, I wanted to follow up on an order that had yet to arrive at The House on the Hill.  I had placed my order over the phone without needing to have any human contact.  That’s definitely my preferred way to have an transaction.

However, in order to find out why the product hadn’t been delivered, I needed to deal with my fellow humans.  Never a joy.

As luck would have it, someone answered on the first ring.  Only to tell me I had to call a different number to inquire about delivery status.

And that’s when the idea for this blog post popped into my head.  Because I waited and waited for someone to pick up my call.  Despite the earnest recorded voice promising that my business was important, and a customer service agent would be with me shortly, no one ever came to the phone.

I tried to be patient.  I told myself I would walk laps and get in my steps while I waited on hold.  I agreed to wait no longer than five minutes.  Then ten minutes.  Then fifteen minutes.

At the fifteen minute mark, I finally disconnected the call.  Not before yelling at the recorded voice that it was a @#$%^&* liar when it told me, for the twentieth time, that a customer service agent would be with me shortly.

Of course, I still have no idea if my package is on the way.

Why do companies do this?  They must be aware of the hold times, and realize that they don’t have enough people covering the phones to provide adequate customer service.  And why not offer the option to leave a message and get a return call?  Are they afraid that we are going to turn the tables on them, and keep them holding when they call us?

humor, Modern PhilosopherThis wasn’t the only time I was forced to way today.  Earlier, I had to deal with the technician from the oil company who had come for the annual service on my furnace.

Yes, I do know how to have a wild vacation.  I did intentionally schedule this service call when I would be home from work.  Party!

Thankfully, the guy was early, so he did not keep me waiting for my 7:30 appointment.

But once he’s in the house, I have to wait.  I’m sure it will come as no surprise to discover it makes me anxious to have a stranger in my house, especially when he is tinkering with something that could cost large sums of money to repair.

So I was a hostage in my own house until he decided it was time to go home.

I wanted to go for my morning run, but could not because there was a stranger in my basement making all sorts of odd noises.

I needed to use the bathroom, but I was afraid to do that because I was certain the minute I started to do my business, he’d trudge up the stairs with a question.

Worst of all, I hate waiting for his assessment of the furnace.  Every year, I nervously await the verdict.  Is there something wrong?  How much is it going to cost to fix it?  Will the furnace survive another harsh winter?

Last year, the service guy screwed up something because the first time I turned on the heat that fall, all the smoke alarms went off.  The company had to send someone out to sort out that issue, but now I’ve got that memory in the back of my mind.

customer service, Modern PhilosopherClearly, I’ve got a lot of issues going on that lead to my being all wound up about having to wait, but that doesn’t mean anyone should ever make me wait.

But one of the great joys of having a blog is not having to wait to vent my frustrations.  As soon as I sat down at the laptop, the opportunity to get all this off my chest was right there.

Perhaps companies can learn from this.

The customer is always right, and this customer thinks your hold times suck!

About Austin

Native New Yorker who's fled to the quiet life in Maine. I write movies, root for the Yankees, and shovel lots of snow.
This entry was posted in Humor and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to The Joy of Waiting

  1. davidprosser says:

    I feel the same way about those frustrating calls Austin. But, I dislike the telephone intenely and hate to speak to strangers.I would like all firms to have an email Help contact, especially for out of hours. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve seen an email address that says it’s for a specific thing or even a help one where they want to know the problem but don’t actually list your problem. Paypal specifically come to mind for this.I’m plucking the last few hairs from my scalp even remembering this.

    • Austin says:

      I’m not a huge fan of talking on the phone, either, but at least that way once I get someone on the phone I can harangue that person until I get an answer. I’d worry they could just blow me off in an email…

  2. beth says:

    being on hold with bad music usually drives me to multi-task while waiting but sometimes still not enough distraction )

  3. We get the same issue with hold times in New Zealand. Occasionally the ‘valued customer’ gets the option of a callback. When? Well, the universe might die of heat death first. I suspect it’s because these companies don’t care. It wouldn’t surprise me if they did cost-benefit calculations based on the money saved on staff (and outsourcing their call centres/replacing them with bots etc) versus the business lost after customers got annoyed, all the while knowing that in many of these cases the customer needs them more than they need the customer. It’s irritating.

  4. markbialczak says:

    I attempt to put the hold-call on speaker mode next to me and do other tasks in my recliner so the waiting only gets me worked up half as much as it would otherwise, Austin.

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