Poor Customer Service – On the Line Forever With Budget

How long should it take to have a customer-service call answered? Two minutes? Five? Fifteen? How about more than 60? That’s how long I stayed on hold with Victoria’s Budget Car Rental today. Unbelievable. And in the end, the call was never answered.

Certain companies–Telus comes to mind–have made big strides in speeding up the process and getting calls answered quickly. But it seems others simply don’t put in the same effort.

Now, the individuals I dealt with at the Budget lot were great–very friendly, professional–except there was a bit of a lapse in service that led to me being on the phone forever. Basically, we had accidentally left our baby stroller in the back of the courtesy van that dropped us off at their lot. As soon as we pulled into our driveway at home, we realized we had left the stroller behind, hence the phone call. In the end, my wife stayed home with the line still on hold–we listened on speakerphone to Budget’s on-hold advertisements all through dinner–as I took off in my car back downtown to catch them before the office closed. After driving downtown, retrieving the stroller and returning home, I walked into our house hearing the incessantly chirpy advertising still beaming from the phone. Brutal.

At a recent staff meeting at work we had a brief brainstorming session about customer service. We all through out ideas as to what it meant to us. While I think it’s easy to say the right thing in a situation like that, to spout the cliched statements about golden rules and all the rest, it’s quite another to actually put them into practice. Whether you’re a government office or a large car-rental outfit, the real test is when a client tries to use the services you’ve put into place.

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