Thursday, December 21, 2006

OMG! I Really Miss the U.S. Sometimes!

Yesterday I had some things I needed to clear up with my American bank. I called them and immediately got a nice-sounding, upbeat young man on the phone that told me his name and asked how he could help me. We discussed my problem and he apologized then said he would be happy to fix it.

He asked for my bank number, and like an idiot I had to look for it. But the whole time he was quite sweet and even came up with some nice conversation while I was busy, just to pass the time. When I finally came up with the number I apologized and he said that there was no problem. He went on to fix my situation, even repeating an important number twice to make sure I had it right.

When he was done he asked if there was anything else he could do for me. As I said yes, and asked to be transferred to a different department he said that he would be happy to. The line went into a lovely hold music for less than 30 seconds. When someone came back on it was him again, telling me the name of the person he was transferring me to and letting me know that he had given her my information.

The new person was equally nice. She apologized that I had needed to call at all, saying that the problem should have been taken care of after my original e-mail. She proceeded to let me know what I needed to do, then told me what she was going to do, then waited patiently as I recounted the whole thing to her for confirmation. When she asked me if there was anything else she could do I told her that I would appreciate half a million in my account... the line went dead for a full 2 seconds, then I could hear her quietly giggle then she told me that she didn't think that she would be able to work that out.

I can't even begin to imagine how this situation would have played out with a German company. First I assume that I would need to pay for the call... not just the regular phone fees, but a charge which could have been as much as .12 per minute. The only thing I can guarantee is that both people would have sounded mad that I was interrupting them, that my problem would have needed extensive paperwork to be fixed, and that I wouldn't have been told to have a nice day by both of them.

Dear Americans, you have no idea how lucky you have it to have such a pleasant, customer-oriented society. Don't take it for granted.

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