So, for the love of God and your fellow human being, don't be the squeaky consumer. Accept that the world is flawed and imperfect. Accept that the value of human labour has fallen, and with it its quality. You get what you pay for. For all of us are guilty for making the system what it is. We democratic consumers, we have voted with our ballots and our dollars, and it is only fit that we choke on what we have built. (~eien_meru, A matter of pride}

To squeak or not to squeak. This is the coin I flip every time something occurs that should not. Toss the coin, see where it lands. I am not known to be particularly squeaky. It takes quite a bit for me to put forth a complaint. Three months later, I am still not having my paper on my porch like I requested. Three months later, I am still woken up by the blasting music of my courier in the wee hours of the morning. Three months later, I am still receiving intermittent papers on Thursdays and wet ones on damp Sundays. Explain to me, the purpose of complaining when nothing changes and it remains the same?

This morning I actually saw the small white car of my courier, so now I know how he drives to deliver in our area. It's a lot of backing up and k-turns which explains the extended time period of hearing the booming thumps of the bass. It isn't any wonder why I am awakened at 5:45 on a Sunday morning. The courier can very easily accomplish the request of tossing the paper on the porch with a little aiming without having to leave the car, yet this person chooses not to.

On one side of the debate of to complain or not, is the concern that the person could lose his/her job. I don't want that to happen. I just want good customer service. Why do I not call each and every time? Because with regards to this, apathy is setting in. What is the point? I asked the customer service rep this this morning. This one was not as good as the last rep. I could hear her "turning off". She asked if I wanted to make a payment to continue service. I told her no. Why would I want to continue paying for poor service when I had to go buy myself a paper half the time anyway? She said she could note the complaint and it would be resolved. When I told her I had repeatedly requested change and it hadn't occurred, she turned off. Literally, her voice changed. She didn't care, that is what the tone of her voice said. "If you make a payment today, we can restart your service". "You don't understand", I told her that I didn't know why I was still getting intermittent papers. I hadn't paid for a reason. Nothing had changed. She was focused on getting the "past due" amount and continuing as before. CONTINUING ON AS BEFORE.

So I ask again. What is the point? Why should I pay for the privilege of being awakened in the wee hours each morning? Why should I pay for the privilege of having to pay again for a paper I should have received on a Thursday but didn't? Why should I pay for the constant irritation? Why should I pay for the additional stress? You tell me. What is the point?

I asked what the past due amount was, she told me. I'll be sending a check in when I get my next paycheck. She told me she would restart service at that point. I told her, "No thank you, please do not restart it." She had not heard a word I had said. The best thing I can do at this point, is remove the source of aggravation.

Of course, by not bringing forward a deficit to the customer service department, "we are only choking on what we have built".

Customer satisfaction scores are important in most businesses. In most of the larger stores, when a purchase has been made you are given a website to go to, a pin#, and a request to rate the shopping experience. Most large businesses aim for 100% customer satisfaction. It benefits the company as a whole to have a happy customer base. One unhappy customer will verbalize the discontent to others, who may or may not pass on the story. It could drive potential consumers to the competition. Which drives down volume which effects the bottom line which will be felt when it's time for raises to come around. It is one big circle beginning with that initial encounter. What kind of impression do you want to make on the customer?

In the health care field, we have patient satisfaction scores. Our department won an award this year for having the top score of 97%. It's a big deal. Our volume has increased substantially over the past year or so. Patients are happy. They pass on their recommendations to friends and relatives who in turn come to our facility and are also happy with the service they receive. Word of mouth is a powerful tool. It can make or break a business.

Accepting flaws or imperfections is not the same as accepting poor work quality. Accepting poor work quality is the same as being apathetic. It's the same as not caring. Quietly turning a blind eye and holding our tongue is not doing ourselves any favors. But there is a point to voting with our dollars. Withdrawing them is heard and is felt. That is why there is such a thing as customer satisfaction surveys. Companies don't want to lose consumers and their dollars. Paying for poor service is the same as saying that the poor service is acceptable. I'm sorry. It is not. So my dollars and my "vote" are being withdrawn both verbally and in writing.

postscript: two months later I received another bill for services. When I called the billing department to say there had been an error because I had cancelled the service, I was told that my courier had restarted it, apparently with my authorization. No, I did not pay the bill.

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