The Monopoly of No Customer Service

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It seems customer service is at the bottom of the priority heap these days.  Recently I had a great example of poor customer service. I contacted the local toll roads organization several times by phone only to get a message that said they have too many calls and I would need to call back. There were no other options. I could not leave a message, a number for them to call me back or hold for the next representative.  It was “sorry, can’t handle the calls” then a click and it hung up on me. 

I called back several times only to get the same recording. I looked for an alternative.  Thinking like a negotiator, I saw this first option as a “no” and I had to figure out a way to get to “yes” by getting creative. I looked online and saw the option to send a message.  I sent a message through their automated system twice (two different ways) asking for a response. The issue was they charged a fine for a car that had my transponder in it.  The transponder must not have picked it up so I was working to get it straightened out.  I got no response to the first email so sent a second one to which I still got no response.  However, it appears the issue has been handled as the person who’s car I was in did not get another notice about a fine and when I looked at my statement this month, the toll was included for the date in question.

This is basically a monopoly.  If you want to use the toll roads in southern California (many benefits to that for avoiding traffic) then you have to deal with this organization.  However, dealing with them means really not dealing with them because they seem to have no one to deal with.  Recently they went completely automated on the roads themselves.  They used to have people in pay as you go booths or you could use the transponder lane if you had a transponder that charged your account when you went through.  It appears when they went automated on the roads themselves and let go all of those employees, they must have done it for their customer service line as well.  

When I posted this on my Facebook recently, the response to being annoyed with no customer service was 100%.  So we all still want good customer service but aren’t getting it in many places.  How can you stand out from the herd in your market?  Provide great customer service and make people happy.  That will have you leading the pack in your industry.

Eldonna Lewis Fernandez
Eldonna Lewis Fernandez
Veteran negotiation and contracts expert Eldonna Lewis-Fernandez, author of “Think Like a Negotiator,” has over 30 years of experience crafting killer deals both stateside and internationally, many in excess of $100 million. She’s currently the CEO of Dynamic Vision International — a specialized consulting and training firm that helps individuals hone negotiation skills — as well as a nationally regarded keynote speaker, session leader and panelist on the Art of Negotiation. Eldonna may be reached online at

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