BaddaBlog

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

How did you get this number? I’m not sure how you got my name.

All I did was look up a department and called (and e-mailed) with a question. I didn’t expect to get it solved, but I figured someone in the actual department could send me in the right direction.

Here’s the story. Two cardboard boxes (long and wide enough to hold 8.5” by 11” paper, with one about 9” tall and the other about 12” tall) with enough pin-feed (landscape) paper to print up a phone book. Unfortunately, the delivery address didn’t include a name (just a department, mail-stop number, and address)… inside offered no note, invoice, or print order request. Nothing. When I asked the folks in the department who it should go to they looked at me as if I delivered them a shrunken head or a 16-ton weight.

What to do? Simple, contact the folks at the address of origin. That included the department name (a wonderful little euphemistic name including the word Services), mail-stop number, and address. I looked up the department on the company intranet site and found one name (among ten or so) with a phone number at the address on the label. Progress!

He’s out. His voice mail message said he’s out of the office until… Tuesday September 5th?!?!?! It was the 5th. Oh, well… I left him a message anyway, and then I e-mailed him the information. Luckily, he left a name of a guy to contact while he was out. So, I e-mail and call Guy #2. After a while, I follow-up by sending another e-mail to Guy #2.

This morning I receive two e-mails and a voice mail. Guy #1 says I didn’t leave much information (yeah, Columbo, I know that… I mention that there isn’t much to go on in the first place and that I’d be glad to get additional information at your request since you know your department’s procedures better than I do). After that he uses those ever-so-friendly-and-attentive-words: “How did you get this number?” and “I’m not sure how you got my name.”

No, he wasn’t hostile, but he clearly wasn’t a guy well versed in customer service. Maybe he was surprised… as surprised as I was to receive these two boxes of nonsense.

The e-mail from Guy #2 was even better. It included the words, “Is there something on them that would lead you to believe Art, Design, & Print is involved somehow?” No, but like I said in the message I just wanted to check this print order. Sure, I should have said, “What information does Mega-Conglomerate Print and Additional-Services Services Department need to check this?” as opposed to “What information do you need to check this?” so that’s a double-dumbass on me. Sometimes communication via e-mail is not elegant and requires nuance. (Not the kind of “nuancing” John F. Kerry claims to be capable of, I’m talking about people who work, folks who actually communicate, as opposed to puff themselves up all day.) This shows the limitations of e-mail… which was a limitation that letter writers worked around. A curse on our modern house.

This whole affair might be something as simple as e-mail confusion. More details from me? More straight-forward? More direct from them? Less assumptions from all of us? I don't know... but it was a so-called Service department. You expect something different.

Then an e-mail from Guy #1 including the words, “Is my name on this file or shipment?” Sure, maybe he didn’t mean to distance himself from this order… however, it sure sounds like it.

Fine. This is the way some folks work these days. This makes me appreciate good communication, good service, and regular folks more and more every day.

Guy #1 puts me on to Guy #3, who should be the right person. His message was very brief. The brush off. Here’s the guy… get away from me kid, you bother me. Guy #2 followed-up by saying, “I believe that [Guy #1] has already referred you to [Guy #3] in [truncated department name] and I believe he’s your best [bet] for information… but if there’s anything else we can do to assist you, please don’t hesitate to ask.”

I gotta admit, Guy #2 follows-up pretty well. That’s exactly the kind of deal folks expect. Hopefully, Guy #3 knows what this thing is. However, even if he doesn’t I’m probably out of here fairly soon… and there could be good news on my horizon.

Not only that, but one of my best friends might move back into town sometime in the next nine months.

Not only that, but you can smell autumn on the wind.

Not only that, but if this customer service is the worst my day gets then I’m actually in pretty good shape.

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