Make Sense of the Non-Sensible

Sometimes all you can do is shake your head in disbelief.

Earlier this week I found myself standing in a local office attempting to order a service for our home. Easy enough — or so I thought.

As I approached the customer-service desk I smiled and said I’d like to begin an offer I’d read the night before on their website.

The young lady behind the counter was friendly and immediately began taking the needed information – that is until I told her which service I’d like to have installed.

“Oh,” she said in a serious voice, “that is only available online.”

Confused, I paused to let her words digest.

“Excuse me?” I said.

“Yes, that offer is only good if you do it online and call a customer service number,” she said.

I shared with her I’d in fact called the number the night before and waited on hold for over 10-minutes before finally throwing in the towel.

“I knew your office was right around the corner so I thought I’d come by here today and see you to take care of it,” I said.

The young lady again stated she couldn’t help me.

“But I’m standing right her in your business,” I said. “You mean I can’t get the service started up while I’m standing here?”

“No,” she said with the conviction as if she’d said it one hundred times before.

Confused I asked what seemed like an obvious question to me: “then why do you have this office?”

I wasn’t trying to be smart-aleck, but inside I was having a hard time understanding why I needed turn around, leave a bricks and mortar building with a live person sitting in front of me, and make a phone call to the very same company from another location.

Her blank stare told me all I needed to know.

Later that day – as crazy as it seems – I did as she said and called a toll-free number and soon found myself in a conversation with someone far outside my zip code (he had to help me with the spelling of his name).

Believe me, I can understand the need for businesses to make responsible decisions, but this one really leaves me disturbed. Here is a young lady, probably living in a local zip code, yet unable to complete a transaction by a person standing in their bricks and mortar building.  How does this work long-term? How many customers leave their offices feeling as if they’ve done something wrong by stopping by their office and visiting with a local employee?

Yes, I felt this way.

In the end, however, the employee did all she could within the scope of what her employer allowed her. I honestly believe this. But what I will never understand is how a live, actual customer with money to spend is told they must leave, go home, and call them to do business.

– 30 –


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