Thursday, October 16, 2014

Swiss customer service nostalgia

The Frau never thought she would miss Swiss customer service, but it has come to this, yodelers. 

Now. As some of you may know, The Frau used to complain about Swiss customer service. In particular, she complained about those charge-you-by-the-minute-for-the-pleasure-of resolving-the-issue-we-probably-caused customer service calls in Switzerland. And after being in the US for approximately 16 days, she wants –at least the toll phone portion– of Swiss customer service back.

She would pay any amount of franc-per-minute to have it. Because, interestingly enough, a Swiss toll call ends up being cheaper than an American toll-free call. Here is proof.

Swiss customer service toll call

The Frau calls SBB to resolve a train ticket issue. She must pay CHF .50 per minute between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. to call the number. When she calls during those hours, someone answers right away. This is a real live person and they are located somewhere across the canton rather than across the world. For simplicity, The Frau imagines that they are in Canton Aargau. This person in Canton Aargau speaks five languages, including English. He may not sound thrilled to talk to The Frau, but the call takes five minutes and the issue is resolved.

Total time: 5 minutes
Total cost: CHF 2.50

American customer service toll-free call(s)

The Frau calls Comcast because her Internet service is not activating automatically. Thanks to Comcast’s 24/7 service line, she can call at night. She can call during the day. And she can call during lunch. But no matter what time she calls, a technical reason shuts down her call. Soon, she learns the truth about 24/7, toll-free calling. It means that no matter what time she calls, an automated voice answers. It means that it’s her lucky hour when someone on the other side of the world who speaks something kind of representing English finally talks to her. But this chance, as The Frau is calculating based on experience, is only 1 out of 5 calls. And then the chance that she will understand their English is only 1 out of 5 of those really lucky calls. And this is even with 8+ years of training in understanding strange English accents, yodelers. Imagine normal Americans who have never left America trying to translate such so-called English. This is why, twenty-four hours after trying to activate her Comcast Internet service, The Frau is still trying to activate her Comcast Internet service.

Total time: 41 minutes and counting
Total cost: $4.10 in prepay minutes and counting

Which service would you rather have, yodelers? The Frau knows her answer.

Oh, and by the way, The Frau’s book, Swiss Life: 30 Things I Wish I’d Known was published in May. If you still haven’t read it but are enjoying this blog, you really have no excuse–unless of course you are living in the US and are still on hold with Comcast. In that case, veil Glück.

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