Faceless firms

It seems that companies want your custom, but not to talk to you. Someone has devised FAQs to fob off repeated questions. How can they anticipate what our needs are? They have set up automatic no-reply emails to give a standard response that clogs up our inbox, not theirs. Where other businesses are focusing on bespoke services to woo customers, online companies seem bent on making theirs as impersonal and standardised as possible.

It wastes a long time trying to find the answer you want, and often you know you just need to get in touch about your specific issue and have a customised reply. By the time you’ve found a way to contact directly, you’re already frustrated. The niggle has grown into a gnark. And then you find you can’t email – you have to fill in a form that forces details you didn’t want to give and drop down mandatory boxes to be filled in. If you fit the boxes, they’ll dissuade you from emailing. You’ll only have a few characters to explain your problem. I was given 200 – that’s two sentences – to explain why I was leaving a site. It makes it hard to write a polite, coherent email in that kind of space.

They’ll salute you with ‘hi’ – even when you’re complaining, which seems inappropriate. Replies are full of cut and paste waffle that’s irrelevant and American style greeting of have a nice day – regardless of country and whether they’ve done anything to make your day pleasant. They often don’t sign their emails coming from a generic ‘team’ – but want to ask all sorts of questions of you, including verification and endless CAPTCHA letters – hard for those with issues around numbers and letters.

Have companies not understood that personal service is at the heart of good businesses, and that communication is at the heart of all human interaction?

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