Customer service . . . what customer service? There is none anymore, especially dealing with large corporations. 

Every time you have to call a bank, utility or big service provider there is a despairing groan that starts in the pit of your stomach and works its way up. Because you know you’re in for a long, agonizing wait to speak to a human being who, more than likely, will pass you onto someone else for yet another round of elevator music.

Long gone are the days when you could dial a number, reach a live person in seven seconds and have your question answered within 10 more. Now that was service, which you can still receive from many smaller, independent businesses today, thank goodness. But with the larger companies, forget it.

Case in point: a mother of two on holiday had to call her bank because her account was flagged. She waited an hour to get through and was then directed to the fraud department, which took another hour to reach someone with a heartbeat. That person apologized for the wait and explained that agents were constantly dealing with fraud cases due to, and this is our explanation – low-life miscreants who can’t make an honest living because it’s too hard.

Waiting an hour to receive service may be commonplace today but is totally unacceptable. Surely, these companies that are profiting in the millions (and billions) can afford to hire more people and resources to improve their customer service and cut wait times (to at least 30 minutes, if not 15).

Consumers pay a lot of money to these companies for various products and services, so one would think that wait times to resolve problems or answer simple questions would be minimal. Think again and put those naive thoughts out of your head. One also wonders if these frustrating wait times are strategically designed to prevent too many calls, with the hope that people just give up. That’s one less call to take by an overworked representative. But let’s hope this is far from the case and that there are simply too few employees available to take your call in a timely manner.

We have to assume that countless people have already complained about this lack of service, and still nothing is done about it, making one feel more like a number than a valued customer. Consumers are really caught between a rock and a hard place since society dictates that we need these services to get by. 

Solidarity (protests and boycotts) to hold these companies accountable is not very realistic in Canada because of our reliance on these services. Sure, you can throw up your hands and vow to live off the grid, but good luck with that one.

Lyonel Doherty, editor