OK, I’ll admit from the get-go this is a rant. I’m not rational . . . I’m torqued up. But here’s what’s wrong with the business world.
Like most computer users, I pay an anti-virus company a yearly fee to protect my home computer from worms, spyware and adware. Nonetheless, my computer has somehow contracted a bug that’s causing repeated popups. It calls itself Spyware Protect 2009. It’s trying to sell me computer anti-virus protection, perversely enough.
I Googled it. It’s doesn’t seem to be too dangerous. Just very annoying.
So, using the legitimate anti-virus program I already pay for, I scanned my computer four times. Each time, my anti-virus program told me there were no infected files-which clearly there are. I went to my virus-protection company’s web site, only to spend a good half-hour just trying to figure out how to contact it to get some advice.
After going through screen after screen, I finally found an instant-message contact for technical support. I clicked that. Another wait of 10 minutes. I finally was connected to a service tech person in India. I spent another 25 minutes on-line with her (or at least I think she was a she; I don’t know Indian names that well, so I’m not certain). I wasn’t talking on the phone, mind you, just sending IM messages across the globe.
After a number of questions and responses, the tech informed me that the bug on my computer had side-stepped her company’s protection. The protection I pay for. As if I didn’t know that?
But here’s the good news, she said. For an additional fee of $79.95, they’ll remotely remove the bug from my computer.
Gee, I said, let’s get this straight. I’m paying you to protect my computer, you fail to do that, and then you want to charge me another 80 bucks to undo the aggravation you didn’t protect me from in the first place?
The answer, in a nutshell: “Yes.”
Feeling I had no choice, I finally agreed. But then the tech had trouble updating my credit card information. She sent me a link to click. It didn’t work. She decided she couldn’t help me. Instead, she gave me a phone number I could call. She said they’d process my new $79.95 bill over the phone, so I could get the bug taken off my PC.
Now, let’s say I was paying a security company to watch my house. And let’s say the guard I’d hired decided that, instead of walking the perimeter all night, he’d sack out in his van for a nap. And let’s say that while he was asleep, a burglar broke in and vandalized my home. I might say to this guard, “Hey, you missed the burglar. Can you come in and help me pick up the mess?” Now what if his reply was, “You can’t expect me to actually protect you from burglars. Some of them are pretty slick. But yeah, I’ll come in and help you clean up. That’ll be another eighty dollars.”
There are a lot of things wrong with American business today. But I’m telling you, this episode exemplifies one of the worst. Whether you’re trying to get computer support, information about an insurance policy, or details about your phone bill-it’s nearly always the same.
It’s hard to find a contact for the company. When you do find a phone number or e-mail address, you can’t connect with a real-live human; you’re stuck in electronic voice mail or e-mail perdition. If you do finally connect, you discover you’re dealing with someone halfway around the world who, because of poor training, a language barrier, whatever, has no idea what he or she is doing. And then, the company wants to charge you extra to do what it should have done right in the first place.
The customer isn’t first. The customer isn’t even 16th these days.
What does this have to do with Christianity? I’m not sure-except that it’s about to make me lose my religion. Thanks for listening. Pray that I hold on faithful ’til the end.