A few weeks ago I had to call a company that provides resources to the library where I work and, well, the customer service people I spoke to were less than helpful. In their defense they did the best they could but they were limited, and after two hours of just trying to get through I was happy to talk to a person. This was after I’d had to go through multiple web pages just to find a contact number which then offered me thirteen different automated options—and eleven of those directed me back to the website, mostly its FAQ, but I guess my Q wasn’t FA enough to make the list—and one which just automatically disconnected the call.
If there was a bright side it was that after going through all that and still not getting the issue resolved the company emailed me a survey that asked, “How was our service today?” And, while trying not to get the customer service people in trouble, I let the company have it between the eyes. I may have even used the phrase “unnecessarily byzantine” twice. I say that was a bright side because I got a chance to register my complaints, for all the good it’ll do, when I’m not usually the sort of person who does that. Mostly because I know how much good it does.
In fact there was an excellent example of how much good complaints do in the news recently: an unidentified person made 12,272 noise complaints against Dublin Airport just in 2021. The same individual made 6,227 complaints in 2020, but maybe at the time there weren’t as many planes taking off and landing. For 2021 that’s an average of thirty-four complaints per day and a quick check shows that there are more than one-hundred landings and departures daily at Dublin airport so, hey, if only about a third of them are annoying this person that’s pretty good.
And honestly there was a time when I would register complaints. Back when I rode the bus most days of the week there were times when the bus would be inexplicably delayed and I’d call customer service, not so much to complain but to try and figure out if there was something going on. While I wouldn’t call the MTA customer service line unnecessarily byzantine it did usually take some time to get through to an actual person, and most of the time I didn’t need to speak to someone because, funny enough, the best way to make the bus arrive was to call customer service.
In spite of that it’s not something I did frequently. No more than a third of the time, anyway.