Is Lying to Customers Part of the Job?

October 4, 2013

I just read a disturbing article about customer service representatives having to lie to their customers to keep their employers happy. They were told to lie about cancellation fees, services provided, interest rates, and other assorted policies.

In the old days, that was true in a lot of instances. I’m one of these people who takes down the name of the person I’m speaking to, the team leader, the ID number, the city and state of the service center, and everything we discussed. Then I ask for a confirmation number and an email confirmation of the call.

When cell phones first came on the market, there was a mad scramble to sign up as many customers as possible. I spoke to a representative of a new company and was reassured that everything I was looking for would be included in the fee I was being quoted. When I got my first bill, I almost fainted and I immediately asked to speak to a supervisor.

I told the supervisor the details of the conversation I had with the representative who signed me up. She told me that I must have misunderstood. No way. Especially not for hundreds of dollars that shouldn’t have been charged. She also refused to let me out of the contract.

Almost as an afterthought, she asked me in a very smug voice, the name of the representative who signed me up and she was flabbergasted when I gave her the name, her team leader, her ID number, the city and state of her call center, and my confirmation number. She was forced to immediately cancel my contract because the company couldn’t provide the services they quoted, and especially, not for the prices they quoted.

Today’s customers are more savvy. There are zillions of companies fighting for the same small market share of customers and they don’t like to lose any customers so they try to resolve the problems as well as they can.

If they were a little smarter, they would escalate the difficult problems to someone with more authority. As it stands, unless I ask for a supervisor or manager, or the address of the CEO, I might not get the service I need. But, rest assured, as soon as I send a letter to the CEO by snail mail, I get an immediate response and the matter is settled quickly and satisfactorily.

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