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Customer service is in a sorry state

October 25, 2009

Re: David Lazarus' consumer column "After fire, burned by customer service," Oct. 18:

DirectTV has some very big gaps in its customer service. It is disappointing that a company whose board of directors includes former visionaries John Malone (Liberty Media, AT&T) and Greg Maffei (Microsoft) can fall so short, second only to Paul Allen's Charter Communications.

Why have we allowed the most important path of communication to become so poorly run?

Kenneth A. Deans

La Canada Flintridge

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The first thing to understand about "customer service" is that the term itself is a grave misnomer. Companies don't serve customers, they handle them.

They have a series of policies and procedures. Discretion and common sense are not allowed.

The sad reality is that so long as all airlines, banks and insurance companies offer the same shoddy by-the-book service, there is no incentive to switch to a competitor.

Bruce R. Feldman

Santa Monica

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