How To Be Seen As More Than A Number
By Monica Wilcox
Dear T-Mobile Customer Service Rep,
Kathy I believe it was; with a K. We talked earlier today on the phone; my disabled phone. I called earlier to make sure someone would be at this mall kiosk since I’ve already been here twice…I believe that was on a Wednesday and last Sunday…during peak mall hours…and yet, once again, there’s no white, polo-shirted rep to be found.
Sigh. . .
To you I’m just account # 23456789, waiting beside this lone island, scanning the Cinnabon line for anyone who looks like they might give a healthy crap, working up a temper that I really don’t want to let out. All account # 23456789 would like is to check its minutes without its cell shutting down like an alcoholic at an intervention. If you were here, Kathy, you’d quickly see this account is a good little customer; never made a late payment in 13 years, never ties up customer service with outrageous demands, no illicit texting issues, curls its 3’s and crosses its 7’s. But instead you’re off again, haunting the Nordstrom’s mark down manager.
A-23456789 is foolishly (3 times! Shame on me!) standing in the middle of the mall wondering if she is really T-Mobile’s 23,456,789th customer. If this is the case, who cares if you fail to serve a few 100, 000 accounts. While I contemplate scrawling this letter across your spotless glass case with a Sharpie, the T-Mobile “higher-ups” are clustered together in a Bellevue, Washington skyscraper discussing the business they can afford to “turnover” this quarter. It’s all about the numbers: profit margins, accounts gained, accounts lost, accounts past due. If I consider the spreadsheets and bar graphs of 23,456,789 customers, I can see how that justifies your company’s total lack of concern for me; the Account who is currently tying the security cords of your 7 display phones into an impressive boy scout knot.
I’m chump change!
ARRR. . .
A number. I’m nothing but a number to you. I may not have it tattooed down my forearm but I might as well, Kathy. Because if you were here, instead of flirting with the salesman at the hair extension kiosk, I know you wouldn’t SEE me until A-23456789 was pulled up on your computer. Do you even remember the color of your last customer’s hair? Do you remember their name? No. But I bet you remember their monthly payment.
You want to talk numbers Kathy? Fine.
I’ve got a few numbers for you:
$12,342.42 – the money I’ve spent as an adult on phone service
1,259 – the number of email accounts I have in my address book
289 – all my delightful, attentive Facebook friends
2,200 – the monthly average of unique visitors who visit my website, Femmetales.com
3 – the number of websites I regularly blog for: (Oh Shit!)
6,500 – number of unique visitors to FemCentral.com per month
Ad infinitum – number of unique visitors to OwningPink.com per month
16,488,463 – number of members in the Care2.com community
So Kathy, little A-23456789, who you left stranded in the middle of the mall, is not only reliable BUT also happens to kind of be. . . well like. . . seriously connected. . . like this Account could go on a freakin’ blogger rampage. Here’s a tidbit of data for you: this is the information age. When are you, and T-Mobile, going to understand that the MAJORITY of your Accounts are seriously connected?
Maybe you should like, red tag A-23456789, quadruple gold star me, email this Account straight to the friggin’ top floor of that cozy Bellevue office to that mysterious T-Mobile “manager” you’re always referring to before I get my angry little fingers on a keyboard… before I go BLOGGISTIC… before like, a billion (Oh yes…we’re getting into the red numbers now, girlfriend!) other angry Accounts resonate with my pathetic situation and the whole f*cking thing goes. . . dare I say it . . . that dirty little V word – viral!!!
. . . or you could be here. . . like you promised. . . doing your job. You could notice the adorable way I tease my children, that I have a kind smile, how remarkably calm I am for a woman who hasn’t been able to use her phone for a week. You’d ask if we have anything fun planned today, tell me how Nordstrom’s is having a rockin’ shoe sale so my son can groan in agony. Then I’d have to ask if that’s where you got those fantastic wedges. We could like, chat. . . face to face. . . human to human. . . like the social creatures we’re meant to be.
I’m more than a number Kathy, as are you. That bit of info you’ve got stored in your database is nothing compared to the stuff I’ve got going on inside. I don’t treat you like a service robot. Why, I didn’t even bring up the fact that this is my third hour long trip to this kiosk. How did we get to this point? When did human decency become a marketing strategy? Why does customer service have to be in the business plan?
I’m sick of being looked upon as a number. Can we both just agree here and now, that if the Universe (Yes, let’s bring the Big G into this) wanted to digitize humans we would be a lot harder around the edges. This really goes beyond telecom; the banks, big business, politicians, the census, Chuck E.Cheese - the whole world wants to stamp their number on me. I’M AN INDIVIDUAL, a spirit, a unique bundle of energy who could make (as we contemplate why my phone is on the blitz) a connection with you on this random Tuesday. If only you had been here to serve…Kathy, with a K.
Better Known as
What about you? Who would you like to send this letter to? Who sees you as nothing more than a number? Is that how you’re see others?