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Intentional and Unintentional Sludge

If you have experienced faulty service experience especially when dealing with a customer service representative you are far from alone. In November last year, Crawford Hollingworth and Liz Barker wrote an article about intentional and unintentional sludge. In this article, they explored several cases of intentional and unintentional sludge. They defined sludge as, "When users face high levels of friction obstructing their efforts to achieve something that is in their best interest or are misled or encouraged to take action that is not in their best interest."


Sound familiar? If you face intentional personal sludge in your life advocate for yourself never take things at face value. There are people assigned in some companies to roadblock your attempts to get you what you think you are entitled to receive, to slow you down, or block you from receiving the benefits you are entitled to. They want you to feel powerless, but you can beat them at their own game by writing directly to their company president and using social media to tell a wide group of consumers about your experience; companies hate bad press. They should know if they cheated you there are consequences.


Unintentional sludge can just be a result of poor customer service. Avoid taking no for an answer, always talk to their supervisor, and once you think the issue is resolved get the name of the people you talked with, and ask for a written confirmation. Do not get caught in the sludge swamp.



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