The other day, I called the customer service line at the
Chicago Transit Authority. I needed to change my electronic fare card to a
monthly pass and I couldn't figure out how to do it online. Expecting to wait a long
time “for the next available representative,” I was really surprised when a friendly
voice answered right away.
While I was explaining my needs, I heard an alarm in the
background go off. The friendly representative quickly said they were having a
fire drill and she had to hang up. That’s perfectly understandable. I’m a fire marshal-person at work and we’re under a lot of pressure to perform well during fire drills.
About thirty minutes later, my phone rang at work and it was
the CTA representative, apologizing for the inconvenience. I couldn’t believe
it. She had looked up my account, found my work number and called me back!
I profoundly expressed my gratitude (and amazement) to her
for going the extra mile like that. She cheerfully thanked me and upgraded my
Now that I used my CTA card twice a day, I wanted to drill a
hole in it so that I could attach it to my key ring rather than digging it out
of my wallet every time. I thought I should check with the CTA to see if this
Again, someone answered right away. The moment I began
explaining that I wanted to poke a hole in my card, the guy interrupted,
laughed and said, “No! Don’t do it! Don’t do it!”
Obviously, he knew his stuff and got the point across in a
very friendly manner.
Isn’t it sad that we’re amazed when we receive good customer
service these days? Yes, I like the efficiency of doing a lot of customer servicey
tasks online myself. But when we do have to talk to an actual person, it’s
become such a challenge to do so.
Try clicking on the “contact us” on any website. There’s
seldom a number to call. One has to negotiate through a labyrinth of website
layers to find an actual telephone number these days.
Then, when we do call, there’s the ubiquitous recording: “Your
call is very important to us. . .”
Um, no. It isn’t.
If my call was actually very important to them, they’d pick
up the damn phone. That’s what one does with important telephone calls.
I know one thing. If I ever get laid off from my job, I’d
like to apply for one at the Chicago Transit Authority.