Companies in Brazil are really slack when it comes to customer care or services.
Brazil is the only country I know where samples are not free, where marketing strategies to obtain customer opinions have to be paid by customers, where companies think their problems are your problems.
I sometimes wonder if it´s just the person that attended me that has limitations or if it´s really a company rule: Treat customers like retards and maybe they will continue buying, shut up or go away.
Sociologists and critics (in Brazil at least) have long discussed the difficulty Brazilians have in talking about anything difficult or complicated, like politics, social issues, etc. But the inability to deal with basic customer complaints is really astounding. In some rare cases, you might be lucky enough to be attended by someone that explains things properly, which can often solve your problem, like when my digital TV remote control stopped working. After the 5th call (7th “protocol number”), the remittal of 2 new remotes that did not work either, and an no-show technitian, a kind soul explained how to configure the damn thing over the phone. In 2 minutes the problem was solved, costing me (and the company) precious time, money and effort.
Let me give you an example that has triggered this bout of rage:
The Payment Joke
I paid a bill.
My name was put in the damn Serasa (a credit protection agency)
I complain, sending proof of payment.
They tell me to go to the shop to prove I paid the bill.
The shop is 100 kms. away.
I complain again, asking, “don´t you register payments?”
I get a reply, to register your payment, send proof of payment to…
I complain again.
I get a reply, to register your payment, you can also send a fax to….
Examples like these are often registered on the TV, the subject of endless statements in customer complaint website, which companies seldom answer to.
The Procon, the customer protection agency, can solve some issues but not like they should be solved. They have a direct line to the problem-solvers, who immediately tap a keypad and make your problem disappear, without every registering your complaint in the company or making sure someone else will not go through the same ordeal.
The worse thing is that you cannot avoid it, like you could public hospitals or education…this is a part of system you have to endure, painfully. Daily wars you have to fight in order to pacify that horrid feeling that someone is literally laughing at you. It becomes a matter of dignity.