Bad customer service? This little-known rating could be to blame

Companies rate customers on spending habits, income and history of complaints

Anyone who’s gotten stuck on hold for what seems like an eternity knows just how frustrating it can be to deal with customer service. It turns out there’s a reason for the wait, even though it may not necessarily be a good one.

In all likelihood, the speed and quality of your service is linked to something called customer lifetime value (CLV), a little-known score that companies use to track how valuable (or difficult) customers are, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Put another way, someone who rarely pays full price and routinely calls to complain will likely be left on hold longer, while those who spend a lot of money and put up with bad service without complaint will get better service.

“A high-value customer who had a real service disruption and never calls to complain should be compensated more quickly than someone who is complaining and costing time and money,” said Laks Srinivasan, chief operating officer of Opera Solutions LLC, a ratings firm.

The companies that produce these ratings were reluctant to share their formulas with The Journal. But your score could be based on things such as spending habits, or even your ZIP code, which is used to estimate how much money you make.

As the newspaper reported, it’s not just certain industries that rely on these scores, either. In fact, they’re widely used by airlines, credit card companies, banks and retailers. You name it, they’re probably rating you.

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