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We are in a customer service crisis.

It can be intimate or aloof. It can take a long time or end quickly. But these days, it's most often impatient and dysfunctional. This one-hour documentary unravels the maddening, humorous, and baffling relationships in the world of customer service.

 bartender

By analyzing customer situations, service provider's behaviour, the change in service technologies and strategies, and re-telling consumer horror stories, we will answer the question "what happened to good customer service?" Online, on the phone, or in person, how do we get good service?

What ever happened to the good old days, the personal touch? Has it been replaced by automated voices, call centers, self-serve machines and a do-it-yourself attitude in a time when no service is good service?

Customer (Dis)Service takes a light-hearted, but serious, look at the customer service relationship. Is it as dysfunctional as we think it is or have we gotten what we asked for? Customer service experts, mystery shoppers, consumer advocates and authors all take aim at the world inhabited by waiters, multi national corporations, overseas call centers, automated voices, bartenders and customers of all sorts demanding customer service.

 Dave Carroll

And in an age where customers are fighting back, how will the company respond? Dave Carroll is an unassuming musician from Halifax, but when United Airlines broke his guitar and refused to compensate him, he used the You Tube video, "United Breaks Guitars", to vent his frustration. With over 10 million hits, Carroll proves customers have a new weapon in their arsenal with social media.

Customer (Dis)Service visits a call center in New Delhi, India, revealing a group of employees who not only disguise their location and change their name to appear more "Western', but are not given the tools to fully service their customers and everyone asks to "speak to a manager".

 call centre

Meet the actors and people who create those automated voices, cheerily asking what we are calling about, a bartender who has perfected the craft after 50 years and a waiter who got so angry at customers, he started a blog about it.

Can service providers and customers get back on track, mend the strained relationship and take customer service to the next level?

Customer (Dis)Service is produced by Mia Sheldon and directed by Cynthia Banks for Generator Productions in association with CBC-TV.

Also on CBC