Opinion: Customer service revisited

POSTED: 11/22/11 8:16 AM

One of our readers who is in the government’s service asked us some time ago about an article we had published about an organization that offered legal training. We were a bit sloppy to start with, but in the end we got around to looking up the information and providing our reader with the organization’s name and phone number.
By this small gesture, we delivered happiness – or so we thought.
Soon afterwards however, we received an email from our reader. Slightly edited, it read as follows.
I called the phone number and got a lady on the phone with a serious attitude problem.

I explained her that I saw a small article in the newspaper about the fact that their organization is giving legal courses.
She immediately started telling me that if I had read the article properly I would have seen that it was about een opleiding for Legal Assistant and not a course.
She told me she doesn’t know how I don’t know this because she sent an extensive press release with all the information about the studie programma and the opleidingen to the newspapers. If the newspapers didn’t publish that correctly, she wanted to know which newspaper it is because she doesn’t want them to be publishing wrong information and for people to call with wrong ideas.
She said was invited by two students to come to St. Maarten to give a presentation and that she came two times in October and November. She held informatie avonden and she told them that she can only do the opleiding if she has a group of 20 people; she cannot do it for 5 people. She said they have been doing the opleiding for over 10 years in Curacao and there they always have big groups. They invited her to St. Maarten to do the same but she won’t give a whole opleiding for just 5 people. So she could not tell me when the opleiding will start and how much it will cost. All she could tell me is that it is a 2 year course.

She seemed very upset that I called to ask for information while she came to St. Maarten twice, held information sessions, gave the press extensive information via a press release and still got people calling her with wrong information. I told her that all of that was not my concern. I just simply wanted to get information about the course.
She started to repeat herself all over again because I used the word course and said that she doesn’t give courses. So I just told her that this phone conversation is going nowhere and I hung up.

Our reader did not stop there though. He wrote to us: I just have one word for that: WOW!!!
And I don’t mean the WOW effect Tony Hsieh is writing about in his book “Delivering Happiness” 🙂
This was a clear case of customer service going completely awry. Just too crazy for words! 🙂
Anyway….. I just had to share that experience with you after reading your articles recommending Tony Hsieh’s book about Zappos and buying the book at Shipwreck Shop. 🙂
Lol, we had to laugh so hard when we read about his experience, that it almost hurt, even though this is actually not funny at all. (some wise guy once quipped that everything is funny as long as it happens to somebody else, and we seem unable to get that notion out of our head).
Now for people who want to know where they have to go for real crappy customer service, we gladly provide the name of the organization. It calls itself the Foundation Excellence Judicial Course*, and the phone number is 599 9 51 58 798.
Not to be cheeky, we looked up the definition of course in the Merriam-Webster dictionary. One of the seven definitions reads: the series of studies leading to graduation from a school or college.

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