Customer service? What’s that?

I often think that if I didn’t have anything to moan about I would have nothing to write each week. There’s always politics, of course, but I am staying well away from that at the moment. Things change so fast that the ink wouldn’t be dry on my column before nothing I said was true any longer.

So it’s back to customer service.

I’ve had this winter vomiting bug which hasn’t helped my mood, so everything seems even worse.

First there was the endoscopy department at Carlisle. I got a letter saying I needed to book in for a “procedure”. I was feeling so ill that I left it for a few days, only to receive another saying if I did not ring one of three numbers within the week they would assume I didn’t want the post-cancer check-up.

I rang each of the three numbers up to five times a day. On two occasions I had the chance to leave a message. Nothing happened except a letter to say my appointment had been cancelled.

When I finally got through, I was told they were sorry but they had been getting 100 phone calls a day and were short-staffed. The letters were computer generated.

I’ve got my appointment now but the whole thing was so stressful and would be worse for any elderly people living on their own and not sure what to do next.

Then came Microsoft. Someone had tampered with my email. After days of trying to fix the problem nothing worked. Then Office stopped working because Microsoft was no longer able to take money out.

I finally, by fluke, managed to get someone online and bought a new product. Bought it, installed it and could never find it again. Every time I went into Office I got the old one. Couldn’t get anyone online again but, this time, I found a phone number and rang it just to be told “this office is closed”. Then I found another number and it was going to cost £6 just to connect!

Again, I have now managed to get this sorted but feel as though I have lost a chunk of my life in the process.

And as for my bank! Until quite recently it has been excellent. Not long ago, on the bank’s advice, I changed my current account and they suggested I do the same with my credit card. I agreed and they put me through to the appropriate department. After holding on for I don’t know how long – probably 10 minutes but feeling like 10 hours – I got a message asking me to leave a number and they would get back.

That was probably a month ago and I am still waiting. I have rung a couple of times since, until last week when my authentication code failed while I was doing an online grocery shop. I finally managed to get hold of someone and my problem was fixed but, while I had a human on the phone, I asked about changing my credit card. “I’ll put you through to the appropriate department,” she said.

That was Friday and I’m still waiting.

Allerdale council, the doctors – everyone now has more automated services and fewer staff to answer the phone.

Customer service is honestly becoming a thing of the past. You will be lucky to find a customer service line with many businesses now. They want you to email.

And if one more recording assures me my call is important I’ll throw my phone out of the window. Except, if I do that I will be playing into their hands.

I feel ill. I’m not sure if it still the bug or just the bug of modern living! I might go back to politics next week. It’s probably less stressful.