The customer service people who basically communicate, “That’s not my problem,” annoy the heck out of me. For example, if I send an email somewhere and they don’t know an answer, they tell me to contact someone else instead of forwarding the email to that person which good customer service would entail.

Or even worse, they tell me to call a phone number. What information will be revealed that couldn’t be revealed in an email? It’s especially frustrating when they tell me to call a phone number in another country. I don’t want to incur international phone call costs to be put on hold, and be told the same things that could have been emailed. Also, most of these people seemingly refuse to use Skype, or another service like it, which would allow free international calls.

This has been a problem with some companies and USA government contacts. Sometimes I wonder if federal USA government customer service is purposefully bad, so that we know that if bureaucracy is this bad with a smaller government, that with a big socialist government it’d be even more insufferable. I’m a USA citizen living abroad, and this is frustrating. Sometimes I think to myself that if I became a citizen of the country I live in, that I’d get about as much help from the federal government of the USA. At least with bigger companies in a marketplace that have this kind of issue, like telephone service companies, I can live under the illusion that the competition will have customer service that isn’t bad or annoying.

I even had a recent experience with a company who is a competitor to a major company with a lot of market share for the product type I wanted. I don’t want to advertise either company, since I wanted to avoid the other company because I dislike how they do business, and the other one gave awful customer service to the point where I don’t even know how to buy their product. I live in Japan, an English language interface of said product exists but I wasn’t sure how to buy it in Japan outside of their website (getting deliveries is annoying in Japan in my experience due to some policy level things), and I additionally wasn’t sure if I could access English things from the one in Japan. I contacted their English international support which I guess is a totally different division from the main company, and they were unhelpful to the point of being maddening. They gave me links that technically counted as information about the product I wanted, but none of it helpful. Then later they wanted me to contact Japanese support, and I don’t understand enough Japanese. Google Translate is hit or miss. I had trouble even finding a customer support email on their website. I think they were of those companies with a ‘knowledge center’ of ‘frequently asked questions’  none of which answer my questions as far as my Google Translate attempts were concerned. Then their email contact information was hard to find, and I gave up. I was ready to buy before that. In the USA I can just go to Walmart and buy their product, but in Japan they refuse to sell outside of their website. It’s so frustrating.

Automattic is a company that does things right with customer service. I messaged the wrong department to ask something. The representative then fulfilled my request even though it wasn’t the exact right area. I didn’t even have to email someone that they told me I had to contact. Good job Automattic. Bad job USA federal government. I hope AI replaces most of the people in USA federal government email customer service departments soon, which could cut costs too.