2022 Honda HR-V Hertz
Photograph ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

“I Understand.” No, You Do NOT Understand…

Don’t patronize me after I tried to patronize you.

When experiencing a service failure from a company in the travel industry — or from any industry, for that matter — a representative will likely respond to a complaint with the phrase “I understand.” No, you do NOT understand…

“I Understand.” No, You Do NOT Understand…

Econo Lodge Columbus Mississippi
Photograph ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

…as that phrase is little more than a condescending locution that is designed to artificially placate the customer with feigned sympathy. “Oh, the customer service representative understands. I feel so much better now. My problem is now resolved.”

In other words, “I understand” is an idiom for an idiot.

Worse is that some companies seem to not keep track of a complaint pertaining to poor service that is experienced by a customer — as if the issue will simply go away and magically disappear.

If the customer insists on a tangible solution to an unresolved issue, the customer service representative may offer a meaningless “solution” that is designed to quell the customer without actually offering anything viable: “We apologize profusely and deeply regret your experience, as we are beyond disappointed. Your feedback is taken very seriously. This issue will be forwarded to the appropriate department for review.”

An alternate tactic is to send a survey to the customer to take valuable time to complete — but why have surveys or solicit comments if no one will listen?

The customer never hears from anyone in the company again — unless someone follows up with this little tidbit of empty solace: “We hope to have the opportunity to serve you again in the near future and rekindle your trust and love for us.” This is designed for the customer to believe that someone actually listened to him or her…

…but again: the issue was never addressed or resolved.

Final Boarding Call

Econo Lodge Columbus Mississippi
Photograph ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

The true test of the customer service of a company is not when things go smoothly. That is easy to do. Rather, it is when some sort of irregular operation occurs: the expected service was not provided; something did not work as intended or was not operational; or compensation was not given to the customer when the issue was not his or her fault.

Although doing so these days seems to increasingly be a waste of time, ensure that you are heard by representatives of that company. Let them know where they failed and why — as well as what you expect in return. This is their opportunity to fix and resolve the issue in a proper and prompt manner — as well as demonstrate how important you are to them as a customer.

If they still fail to resolve the issue to your satisfaction, vote with your wallet or purse and patronize a competitor who deserves your business more that the company does. After all, the main purpose of for-profit companies is to earn money from customers — and if enough customers are not willing to pay them for their products and services, the company will be forced to either change their processes and procedures…

…or go out of business altogether.

All photographs ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

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