The number of Americans fed up with lousy customer service is decreasing but there are still some practices that irritate nearly everyone, according to a newly published report in Consumer Reports’ September issue.
There was a tie for the top customer service complaint. Seventy-five per percent of shoppers surveyed were annoyed by the inability to get a live person on the phone and by dealing with a representative who was rude or condescending.
Seventy-four percent of consumers said they were highly annoyed at being disconnected from a customer service rep, and 71 percent were dissatisfied that they’d been disconnected and then unable to reach the same representative again.
“Many companies today are simply awful at resolving customer protections, despite investments in whiz-bang technologies and considerable advertising about their customer focus,” Scott Broetzman, president of Customer Care Measurement & Consulting, told the magazine.
In a separate report released this week, 24/7 Wall Street found that Amazon.com is the best big company for customer service, followed by Chick-fil-A and Apple. The companies in the publication’s “Customer Service Hall of Shame” include Bank of America, DirectTV and Comcast.
In order to get the best possible customer service, Consumer Reports recommends using the phone, rather than email; showing—and asking for—empathy; and escalating when necessary.
The magazine also suggests putting technology to work. The website Dial a Human can help find the best customer service number for a company, and the service Lucy Phone lets you enter a company’s name and number and then calls you when a rep becomes available so you don’t have to wait on hold.
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The White House on Friday unveiled plans for a new effort to ramp up testing for Covid-19, which experts say is an essential part of limiting the spread of the virus. This chart from Vox gives a sense of just how far the U.S. has to go to catch up to other countries that are dealing with the pandemic, including South Korea, the leading virus screener with 3,692 tests per million people. The U.S., by comparison, has done about 23 tests per million people as of March 12.
The Air Force has scrapped a planned upgrade of its B-2 stealth bomber fleet — even after spending $2 billion on the effort — because defense contractor Northrup Grumman didn’t have the necessary software expertise to complete the project on time and on budget, Bloomberg’s Anthony Capaccio reports, citing the Pentagon’s chief weapons buyer.
Ellen Lord, the undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment, told reporters that the nearly $2 billion that had already been spent on the program wasn’t wasted because “we are still going to get upgraded electronic displays.”
Bernie Sanders wants to eliminate $1.6 trillion in student debt, to be paid for by a tax on financial transactions, but doing so won’t be easy, says Josh Mitchell of The Wall Street Journal.
The main problem for Sanders is that most Americans don’t support the plan, with 57% of respondents in a poll last fall saying they oppose the idea of canceling all student debt. And the politics are particularly thorny for Sanders as he prepares for a likely general election run, Mitchell says: “Among the strongest opponents are groups Democrats hope to peel away from President Trump: Rust Belt voters, independents, whites, men and voters in rural areas.”
That’s how much Michael Bloomberg is spending per day in his pursuit of the Democratic presidential nomination, according to new monthly filings with the Federal Election Commission. “In January alone, Bloomberg dropped more than $220 million on his free-spending presidential campaign,” The Hill says. “That breaks down to about $7.1 million a day, $300,000 an hour or $5,000 per minute.”