I have just gone through this thread, and am a bit confused.
Barb is annoyed by what she terms "over the top" customer service (CS), but wants that over no CS at all.... so annoying service is actually good?
CraigL is correct in saying that most of what is being discussed here is not really CS. True CS lies with resolving problems, e.g. I want to purchase a product; I need to have something fixed; I need more information; etc. Of course, the CS rep is also instructed to upsell, but that is a sales function, not a true CS function. Many times, those two functions are confused for one another.
Bill solved Barb`s problem. That is the heart of CS. We complain that companies don`t meet our needs yet we can`t be bothered to communicate what those needs are. Add to that the fact that many CSRs are minimally paid, inadequately trained people doing the best they can - the "lingo" is right out of the manuals from which they get most of their answers and procedures.... translating that into language that is "dummied down" for the masses is not part of the training (an oversimplification.... perhaps).
The challenge for CS is the need to meet the needs of a broad base - having, in many cases, to cater to the least common denominator. For every person who is able to keep track of their oil change dates, ten will need reminders. With my company, we have given the customer the choice of whether or not to receive such notifications. Even this sparks issues, as people are "too busy to be bothered" to even check a box.... but that is another topic altogether!