I must apologize to my regular readers for this interlude. This is a message to the Very Large Company with whom I have having a customer service conversation, and specifically to Ms. JB at said company.
Please read Listening to the Voice of the Customer, a talk I gave to the Conference Board of Canada a couple of years ago. It will provide you with some insight into how I regard company's responses to customer complaints.
Let me say that I have the utmost respect for the frontline customer service representatives who have to face irate customers day in and day out. However, those up the line - who receive well-thought-through, detailed letters, that have been printed out, signed in pen, put in an envelope and mailed with a stamp - should not respond as if they are on the frontline. They have the luxury of time, investigation, consideration and thought. A detailed letter is not appropriately answered by a telephone call, or even an email. A detailed letter is appropriately answered by a detailed, well-considered, well-researched, and well-thought-out letter that addresses all the concerns raised by the customer. On paper. With a stamp. Mailed.
This is called the principle of commensurate media. A customer expects to be answered in a fashion commensurate with the mode of the original contact or transaction. If I email someone, I generally expect an email in response, in roughly email time (i.e. within a day or so). Traditional post comes with a couple of weeks of time. A telephone call or instant message is immediate. Since the quality of the response is proportional to the time available, it is just plain rude to respond to a customer complaint using a faster medium than the medium of complaint. (Conversely, it is generally inappropriate to service a transactional request for service using a slower medium than that of the request, unless that expectation is set in advance.)
One more thing: Telling my wife that you are going to "close the file on this [written] complaint" until I telephone is rude, rude, rude. Here's a clue: Respond thoughtfully in writing. Then offer your telephone number and invite me to call to discuss. It puts me in a much better frame of mind. This has just pissed me off even more.
Fair warning: The next time I have to post on this subject, I name names.
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