>New personal rule

>I’ve had some pretty unfortunate customer service experiences this week, and I need to share. They weren’t bad in so much that the service was horrible (well, it wasn’t stellar, but average) but bad in the fact that it was SO INEFFICIENT.

First, I was at Correos Chile (the Post Office). I was coming back from a class and really looking forward to going home for an hour before heading out to my evening class. I had to mail something for my boss and I looked in to see that there was only one person waiting in line. Score! I thought and headed in. There were two people at the cash registers helping people. One woman was at a cash register that was closed, counting money. There was a man (maybe a manager?) running in and out of an office in the back. There was a security guard. So the man in front of me moved to the next available cash register. He had three envelopes to mail. I don’t know why, but the guy processed each envelope individually, and each individual transaction took about five minutes. The other woman, who was supposedly open for service, was helping a man who was standing there (without mail) holding a 10.000 peso bill. The woman was on the phone and kept typing things into her computer. She looked very stressed. As I waited, more people entered. Soon, there were ten people waiting in line. Fifteen minutes had passed and the man in front of me being helped WAS STILL THERE. And to make matters worse, he tried to pay for the last transaction with a 20.000 peso bill and the cashier had no change, so he had to go look for some. I seriously wanted to pull my hair out. And what bothers me the most is that NO ONE COMPLAINS. The manager guy, who was running around doing God knows what, didn’t assess the situation and say, hey! maybe the lady who is counting change should instead be ASSISTING CUSTOMERS. Nope. Nothing. Just silent waiting. When I finally got up to the counter my transaction took all of TWO SECONDS, so luckily I was out of there after only about twenty minutes (and remember: I was the second person in line!)

Next, I was at Unimarc today getting lunch from their salad bar. I took a number that was 6 away from the current number. Not so bad. Then, I realized there was only one person helping the salad bar people. There were three other women in the “Menu” line (which was empty) but they were just lounging around waiting for people to get into the “Menu” line, I guess. Then, to make matters worse, the woman with the number right in front of me hadn’t decided what she wanted and proceeded to ask about the ingredients of every item in the salad bar.

I finally got my food and went to the checkout line. I don’t know how, but I always pick the slowest line. I finally realized it was because an old lady was questioning EVERY single item that the cashier scanned. She called the manager over not once, not twice, but THREE times to ask about the price of lettuce, chorizos and margarine, respectively. Her problem was that she’s not part of Club Unimarc and therefore wasn’t receiving the discounted price and was complaining about that. Get with the program, lady. All the cool kids are in Club Unimarc. The only good thing about this experience was that the old man in front of me got PISSED and started yelling “Ya pues!” at the lady, so at least there was no resigned waiting in silence. I honestly wanted to hug that old man.

My last experience has to do with waiting and also just a down right rude person. I have to go to the photocopier at a certain facultad of the University of Chile to make photocopies quite frequently. There is one girl who works there who rivals Veronica Soto for the rudest chilena I’ve ever met. There are many examples, but I’ll just stick with today’s experience. I went to drop off quite a large order of photocopies at around 9:00 this morning. I was really happy when I walked in because rude girl wasn’t there. I left them with a guy and told him I’d be back in a couple of hours to get them. I came back around 12:00 and the guy who I’d left them was wasn’t there, but rude girl and another guy were. I asked for my photocopies. They looked at me like I had two heads.

“This morning I left some expense reports to be copied and now I’d like to pick them up.” I explained.

“NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO” the rude girl said, “You didn’t leave anything.”

“Excuse me” I said, “But you weren’t here when I dropped them off. I think I can remember my own actions. Besides, why would I lie about something like this?”

I mean, how ridiculous. Why would I LIE and say I dropped off something I hadn’t? And to top it all off, when they actually looked for my photocopies (after I insisted they do so), they weren’t ready. I had given them THREE HOURS. Sheesh.

So anyway, the point of all this is that I’ve made a new rule for myself. I will only submit myself to one potentially frustrating customer service experience per day. That means, that if at all possible, if I have to go to the photocopier, I won’t also go to ServiPag or the post office or the Unimarc Salad bar or the Bank or Extranjeria later that same day. I think this will be good for my sanity, my mental health and my blood pressure.


>Customer Service Contrast, Part II

>Disclaimer: I’m not saying that customer service is always bad here in Chile and that it’s always good in the U.S. I’ve had bad experiences in the U.S. and good experiences here in Chile. It just happens to be that yesterday it was Chile=horrible and U.S.=excellent.

So remember yesterday when Veronica Soto was a total biznatch to me?

Well, I got home after that whole ordeal and had an email from my loan agency. I was a bit confused about something, so I decided to call them right then to clear it up. I talked to a nice lady named Vicki at NelNet and she helped me clear up my question. I was so amazed by how helpful she was, and how nicely she explained everything. She even made a loan joke!

So, I decided to tell her.

“Thank you so much, Vicki. It’s so nice to talk to someone friendly.”

She seemed a bit taken aback. “Well, thanks! But I’m just doing my job, Abigail,” she replied.

“Well, you’ve helped me a lot today and I just wanted to say thank you.”

“Aren’t you sweet,” she said, “I really appreciate that. In fact, I’m going to send you an email survey about your customer service experience. Would you mind filling it out?”

So I of course filled it out and gave Vicki her well-deserved kudos.

Then, because of said loan issue, I had to transfer around some money in my US account. My bank, which is actually a credit union that only exists in Vermont (I think it has three branches), has an AMAZING website. They have this function, which I think is pure genius, where during business hours, you can chat with a customer service representative online. It’s secure, because you have to be signed into your account to do so, and they ask for like 4000 passwords to access the account (which I appreciate).

So I chatted with Karen and she transferred some money for me and it was just peachy.

What a sigh of relief after having to deal with Veronica Soto. I still haven’t heard back from her, by the way. I guess I’ll have to call in a little bit.