Does this sound familier? "Please continue to hold and the next agent available will assist you ASAP." But of course you never get the agent, right!
The radio talk show consumer guru Clark Howard has a slogan "customer no service" which he applies to corporations which give consumers the run around when they have a complaint about a product or service they have purchased. Well, it's even more ubiquitous than that as RAD keeps finding out. It's almost impossible no matter with whom one is dealing to get a real live operator on the line to ask a question about a product you bought or something you are thinking about purchasing.
Everybody from retail stores to ticket sales operations to government agencies force you to run the gauntlet over the phone line going through endless phone number sequences of pre-programmed options and/or suggest you go to their website which repeats the process on the net. While this may save money for the company or agency which uses such customer services, it certainly doesn't save the customer any time. And if you made a mistake then you must start over again.
Until you figure out how to find a real live operator to talk with, you feel like a piece of meat! And then the operator is not a local operator but somebody in a galaxy far away in the USA or beyond our shores! And if your question is not one that they have programmed answers for - good luck. I guess that's why when considering on making a major purchase like buying a new TV or washing machine we buy locally. There's nothing like talking to a real live person in your own neighborhood or town!
Yes, you probably will pay more at the local store compared to the big box store - but if you have a problem, a complaint or a question - you know there is a real live person you can talk with about it - face to face! Now that's real customer service! If the big box stores or the online merchants could replicate that quality of service RAD would give them a high five! But I'm not waiting for it to happen. Just for the record when I buy model train stuff on the net, I can always "reach out and touch them" on the phone or via e-mail.
When this does not happen I remember that line from the Paul Newman classic "Cool Hand Luke" - "what we have here is a failure to communicate." Indeed.