I always feel a deep sigh building inside when I realize I'm going to have to contact a customer service rep.
Will they reply straight away? Will they appreciate my problem? Will they offer some formulaic response? Will they be a machine? Or will they pretend they're Captain Mike of the Good Ship Netflix?
The issue -- at least for me -- arose this week on hearing of two enlightened customer service approaches from tech companies and experiencing one that was a little darker.
Rockstar Games, the charming people who wear shades and carry assault rifles -- oh, and produce Grand Theft Auto -- decided to accept responsibility for annoying glitches on the online version of GTA V.
So they offered each of its online players $500,000. This might seem very generous, save for the fact that it was paid not even in Bitcoin, but in in-game currency.
Then there was the story of a wonderful Netflix customer service rep. This one, as VentureBeat reported, thought it best, on hearing from a customer, to introduce himself as "Captain Mike of the Good Ship Netflix."
His customer thought this charming. So, on being asked his name, he said it was "Lt. Norm."
What followed was a conversation in which two people who didn't know each other solved a problem and actually enjoyed doing it. (The full conversation is below.)
So much so, that Captain Mike asked Lt. Norm to fill in a one-question survey. The question was: "Were you satisfied with your Netflix experience?" (I have a feeling he knew the answer.)
Which brings me to my LinkedIn experience over the last few days. I come neither to bury LinkedIn, nor, I confess, to praise it too much either.
I reported a problem to its customer service department. Strange things had been happening on my account. Notifications didn't seem real or, at least, consistent. Neither did an e-mail the company seemed to have sent me.
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The first response from customer service seemed largely to consist of paragraphs from an FAQ that explained how certain parts of LinkedIn worked. This didn't answer my question.
So I explained again. Finally, I was told this would have to be discussed with the "internal research team." Is that a polite term for the NSA?
I haven't heard anything for almost a week now. I have no idea what might have happened to the discrepancies on my account, but I've had no word that this might be solved anytime soon.
It's not as if I'll stop using LinkedIn. Though it costs $49.95 each month, it's a very useful tool.
A few days ago, though, the company did send me an e-mail. Oh, good. LinkedIn was keeping in touch. Would this be the solution? Almost.
I opened the e-mail. It said that LinkedIn had noted that I'd recently contacted customer service. It wanted me to fill out a questionnaire -- which had more than one question -- about how satisfied I was with my customer service experience.
Why do I have a feeling that Cpt. Mike from Netflix would have solved this by now?