When Big Business Fails the Little Guy

When I started writing my blog I made a promise to myself and to you, that I would work hard at making sure the same passion I put into my business, would be put into my writing. Hopefully my heart and my passion has been reflected properly in the words I have put down. And there is nothing I am more passionate about in business than exemplary service. Whenever I see an opportunity to catch someone doing something right, I do my best to provide praise, positive feedback and a good old "attaboy."

Hopefully, I will get through to one person that can make a change, make a difference and make a plan.

Over the last 14 months, I have written about 70 blogs and approximately 90,000 words. If you include my book, which is about 40,000 words and my guest blogs of about 25,000 words, I would approximate that I have written over 150,000 words in about 60 weeks. The vast majority of the words that have spilled out of my brain and onto your computer screen, tablet and smartphone have been positive. By design, I like to make people happy. So when there comes a time for me to air something out and complain, please know that I am doing so to make a point and not for the sake of just hearing myself rant. Hopefully, I will get through to one person that can make a change, make a difference and make a plan.

Big Business, you know who you are, you've really let us down. But, you haven't just let me down, I could handle that. Instead, you are letting down a whole bunch of people. As I share my Big Business experience with others, they are also telling me their stories as well. I think you owe us all an apology for being so challenging to deal with, so taxing on our patience and for creating so much stress in our lives. We know there is so little that we can actually do about it and we know that you will be very slow to change your ways, but we thought it would be a good idea for us to write an apology letter that expresses how we think you feel. Since I know you will never write a letter of sincere apology, I thought it would be appropriate for me to write an apology letter with a Big Business spin. Here goes:

Dear Mr. Little Customer,

We want to care but:

Our systems are too complicated and we really are not sure how they work exactly. We actually don't know what the other departments in our big company actually do, so we will go ahead and transfer you to them.

We don't understand our technology, and although it may sound like we are taking notes when we discuss things with you on the phone, we actually are just going to hit delete when we hang up with you.

Our departments don't communicate with each other and even if we knew what their procedures were, when we transfer you to them, you will accidentally get disconnected. If you do happen to get through to them, they will tell you that you have reached their department in error. They will try to transfer you back.

Our employees can't make decisions. We will escalate your issue to the guy in the cubicle next to us, but he will just ask you to repeat everything you just said so he can delete the notes too before he takes no action.

We prefer not talking directly to you, so we are going to try and get you caught in our automated phone system. Please listen carefully, our menu options have all changed. Next time you call back, they will change again. But first, we will make you wait on hold 30 minutes with badly distorted music playing in your ear.

Those are just our policies. Sorry, we realize that the policies we have in place don't make sense to you today, but you will thank us next time you call, because they will not make sense then either. Hey, we are consistent.

Please let me stick to my script. Please do not ask me to be human, have any empathy or show compassion. It's troubling for us to stay on script if you don't play by our rules. Before you call next time, we will send you the customer script so we can follow your part as well.

We appreciate you waiting on hold for 30 minutes. It gives our people a chance to take a break. It's hard listening to complaints all day and they need a break to complain about you.

Pardon all the background noise and the sound of my breathing on the headset. We're really packed into these cubicles. You do have another option though. If you prefer you can get online and chat with us there. Our answers will make no sense to you but at least you won't hear us breathing.

We are going to ask you if we resolved your issue and ask you to take a survey after we are done, even though we never plan on using your answers to make improvements.

We know our fees are high and are services are substandard. But we know our competition is just like that too.

Sorry. Not sorry.

~Big Business

PS - We know we have inconvenienced you many times over the last several decades, since becoming so big. As a sign of our sincerest apologies, we are raising our fees effective immediately. Thanks for the business and have a nice day.

As a sign of our sincerest apologies, we are raising our fees effective immediately.

One day, things will be better. Meanwhile, the best I can do is laugh about it, write about it and hope that in the not too distant future, something will change. Do you have a Big Business horror story? If so, we need to band together for a giant group hug or something. In the meantime, accept the letter above as an apology for a job poorly done by Big Business.

Doug Sandler, helps organizations build better relationships with their customers. He strongly believes that Big Business (and little business) need to add the human element back into business. Doug's book, Nice Guys Finish First, is available on Amazon.com. He is available for keynotes and workshops for your organization.