Customer Service – How to infuriate your customers

A great way to infuriate your customers is to send them form letters that hint that you could answer them, but really you can’t be bothered and that they are just generic “actors” you meet along the way to making lots of money.

We only, usually, contact customer service when something goes wrong. It is exactly at this point a company can choose to make you feel like a person or a number.

Imagine that you take your kid to the hospital. They’re sick. The doctors wheel them away and return a few hours later saying, “sorry, your child died”. Horrible, right? Your reaction would probably be to ask “what happened?”.

Imagine the doctor’s reply is something like “in children, there can be various causes of disease or trauma. Some of these diseases, or traumas, may not be able to be resolved. In some cases, the end result of this is that the child dies. We, as doctors, do everything we can to help the child. Just because the child died does not mean there was a problem with the child. Or that in future, if you bring in other children, they will die.”

That doesn’t answer your question, does it? That any human being would think this answers the question is madness.

Yet, this is exactly the kind of customer service I received from Western Union. Yes, people sometimes still have to send money by Western Union to reach remote parts of the world. I tried to do this. I created a transfer online and paid by credit card. Some hours later I received this email

Dear PHILIP SMY,

Money Transfer Control Number [MTCN] is: xxxx

We have received your order, however, we regret we are unable to process your transaction at this time. Unfortunately, your order has not been authorized by Western Union and we are unable to complete your money transfer.

If you feel this action is in error or have further questions as to why your transaction was declined, please contact us by email at customerservice@westernunion.com, by phone at 800 336 4597, or visit a Western Union Agent location.

You can find an Agent location on www.westernunion.ca.

Thank you for using Western Union!

First of all “if you feel this action is in error”…well… no kidding. I asked for a transfer and you said no. Of COURSE I think it’s an error.

Second, my god, I hate when people say something like “Thanks for using Western Union” when in fact it was a complete balls up! “Thanks for visiting the hospital!”

So, of course, I asked for details. That’s when they hit me with the “your child died, but that doesn’t mean anything” response.

Dear Phil Smy

We would like to extend our most sincere apologies for the inconvenience this matter has caused you.

Please be informed that sending money has to go through the verification process. You may have been able to send money before to the same person and location but this does not guarantee that all of your transactions will automatically go through. Please note that every transaction is being reviewed in a case to case basis. It is the system that decides whether the transaction is approved or declined. Moreover, your transaction being declined doesn’t also mean that you are being blocked from using our service. You can try sending the money again but straight approval is not a guarantee.

We understand your concern and frustration, we must mention that after a customer requests a transaction online, the transaction is sent to a risk engine. Based on defined rules, the risk engine automatically declines risky transactions, approves genuine transactions and refers some transactions to our Digital Review Team for manual reviews and customer interviews (if needed) by phone. In some instances, our risk engine cannot make decisions by itself. Your transaction was being under review by our Digital Review Team, unfortunately they determine to cancel it. To protect our customers we have strict security measures in place for online payments. We recommend you to resend the transaction and be aware that a live representative can be calling you shortly to complete the validation process or you can contact us immediately after you sent the money transfer to check the status of the same.

Please do not hesitate to contact us as soon as possible so we further assist you. Your kindly comprehension and patience is highly appreciated.

Our customer care team is dedicated in providing you with assistance you need and can be contacted 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We can be reached at our toll free number 1-800-325-6000 or email us directly at customercare@westernunion.com.

Sincerely,

Western Union Customer Care

That is a lot of writing to say “we didn’t do it”. There is no “reason” in there. Yes, there are possible reasons. But no reason in my case. I wasn’t asking for a paper I am researching. I want to know about MY CASE.

Also, come on Western Union, can’t you write proper English? “Your kindly comprehension”….what?! And “unfortunately they determine to cancel it.” This was in the past, so, I think you mean “determined”.

This kind of customer service is further proof that companies just don’t get it. Western Union, of all people, should be doing everything humanly possible to keep customers happy. They are a measure of last resort – this is the age of PayPal and cryptocurrency!

Treat your customers like people. Listen to their questions and actually answer them. It’s not rocket science. If you “don’t have the resources” to do this then why do you “have the resources” to take on new customers. Customers are not ATMs, there to give you money. They are people trying to solve a problem by using your services.

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