“I am sorry to hear about your challenges.”
That was the first line of the email I received in response to a plea for help in completing the simple task of registering at our new 401(k) provider’s website. My challenges? Bite me. It’s your challenge to fix the problem that I have with your site. Either tell me that your website, in 2008, is not compatible with Macs and that I need to fill out the paperwork in your overproduced and glossy Welcome package with smiling old people on the cover who obviously haven't tried to use your website, or find me someone that can tell me how to do it online. My only challenge is finding the time to get to Boston to kick your ass.
Here’s an idea – take some of your glossy brochure budget and shift it over to website development so that it works with something more than Internet Explorer on a PC.
Here’s another idea – train your customer service people to actually resolve problems instead of calling your problems my “challenges”. Especially these days when we do most things online and only pick up the goddam phone to speak to one of your chowderheads when there is a “challenge”. I expect a little better especially since we’re already overpaying for your crappy funds.
Yeah, I had a couple jobs that involved talking to customers. And all of them suck. They try to teach you all these wonderfully useless customer service techniques instead of just letting you fix the damn problem.
“Oh, I’m so sorry to hear you’re experiencing difficulties.”
“So if I understand you correctly, you’re saying that when you try to request a withdrawal that our webpage dissolves into a photo of Johnny Cash giving you the finger?”
“Yes, I can see how that can be frustrating.”
“Our technical support department has advised us that we are currently experiencing some system challenges at the moment. Thank you for your patience – is there anything else with which I may assist you today?”
Even worse is that this was one part of our new company on which I could have kicked some ass. It’s not like they don’t know I spend half my day at work planning my early retirement, and I could have set them up with a 401(k) that would have them shitting daisies.
Instead, they put me in a marketing meeting where I sit in a loft office with a dog in the hip part of town and talk to a consultant that needs to know what kind of tree I am before he can design us a new logo and website.
Look, Slappy, just have the dude with the horn-rimmed glasses and the Cheap Trick t-shirt whip something after he's done walking Fido and we'll be good.
Maybe I should be setting up an EAP plan instead….