Why Doesn’t “I’m Sorry” Mean “I’ll Fix It” ?

photo http://www.sxc.hu/photo/832277 by William Wilhelms http://www.sxc.hu/profile/bwilhelmsI received this email this morning from, er, Giant Near-Monopoly Phone Service:

Thank you for choosing Giant Near-Monopoly Phone Service.

Unfortunately, we were either unable to verify the information you provided or you have exceeded the number of lines of service that we allow customers to purchase online. As a result, your order has been canceled.

If you would like to purchase additional lines of service, please visit one of our Giant Near-Monopoly Phone Service retail locations and present your identification to our representatives. They will be happy to help you purchase new wireless devices, accessories, and service.

Please go to giantnearmonopolyphoneservice.com/storelocator to find a store near you.

We apologize for the inconvenience and look forward to serving you.

Thank you,

Giant Near-Monopoly Phone Service

This, despite the fact that we were having a live chat with a representative of Giant Near-Monopoly Phone Service when we placed the order.

“If you would like to” ? That’s what we were trying to do. What they’re saying is, we cancelled your order, and if that doesn’t change your mind, here’s what you can do about it.

I’ll also note that “a store near you” is an hour away. That’s a minimum of 2 1/2 hours plus $25 in gas.

It’s fairly typical of their approach to the nibbled-to-death-by-ducks problems I’ve had with customer service this year.

When things work well they’re great. It’s just that when I issue one of my slightly skewed special requests (I’m famous for them) that things go haywire.

Here’s my gripe:

An apology which you do not intend to follow up with corrective action is not just meaningless, it’s insulting.

It’s like the person who says, “I’m sorry you were offended at my comment.”

Solve the problem or own the policy. Trying to split the difference, to have it both ways, is just being a weasel.

If you’re not going to solve my problem, you’re not really sorry. And if you’re not really sorry, don’t tell me you are.

I realize there are times we say “I’m sorry” to show empathy. This article is about causing someone harm, and with no intention of taking action to assuage the damage, pretending an apology has value to our victim.

2 thoughts on “Why Doesn’t “I’m Sorry” Mean “I’ll Fix It” ?

  1. omg omg omg, it’s THE SAME THING HERE, Joel. There’s a Giant Near-Monopoly Phone Service (and cable and TV and etc., etc.) in SB and in fact, they’re not NEAR-, they just ARE monopoly. No one has anything nice to say about them…

    Your post is great, so funny!

  2. In Fairfield Texas, the only phone company was Continental Telephone. (Why is a company that serves half of a small county in Texas “continental” ?) Virtually every phone call was long distance. And not cheap. The service was what you’d expect from a tiny little monopoly in Texas.

    Then in Roseville California, suburb of Sacramento, there is exactly one phone company, Surewest. We didn’t pay long distance for every call, but the customer service certainly wasn’t breathtaking.

    I’d really rather these big companies would just say “we cancelled your order because the rep you were talking to didn’t know it wasn’t going to go through.” And I’ll say oh, okay, the rep was as confused as me. Big surprise.

    But that would mean they’re admitting it was their rep who placed the order they couldn’t fulfill.

    And around it goes.

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