Friday, August 29, 2008

Customer Service, Continued

What I'm Reading: Hot Pursuit by Christina Skye

What I'm Writing: Chapter 13, Scene 2

Yesterday was a productivity bust. No Internet access in the morning. We've had off and on issues with the modem, but this time none of the usual fixes worked, so I called the customer service number (see yesterday's post about how much fun that was). The tech said he wasn't getting a signal, so they'd send someone out between 10 and 1.

***Note: has ANYONE ever had a service person show up at the BEGINNING of the window? Mine always show up within the final 15 minutes.

However, while I was waiting, my new cell phone was delivered. Good. I occupied myself with yet another customer service call finding out how to download the free ringtone they'd given me for my first phone. The rep was helpful, but not too savvy. She finally gave up doing whatever her handbook directed when her text messages weren't showing up on my phone, and told me she'd give me a credit to my account to cover the cost of buying it.
Once I can access my emails, I find 8 messages from with codes for downloading a free ring tone. Text message? Better read your manual again. And the messages are all with the same code, so no perk like 8 ring tones for all my trouble.

The cable guy finally shows up right before 1. He tells me the reason we didn't have a connection in the morning was because they were working on the system in the area. Like, why didn't the guy I called have that information? But after he checked, he proclaimed I wasn't getting enough "points" so and does his thing, which means disconnecting my cable while he works. He decides he's going to mess with the connections in the attic. I move my car so he can have access. He finishes. However, while he was here, I took a break from any computer work and turned on the US Open. Now, the television reception sucks. He checks some more stuff, says he can't see anything wrong with the picture and tells me I should get cable boxes for ALL our televisions to solve the problem. Excuse me? The picture was FINE before he started working. So, next call--AFTER the holiday--will be to someone who specializes in televisions, not internet.

While he's working, I test the camera on the phone. Although the camera button seems to work properly, the images still suck. I email one to the sales rep at the phone store. When I call him to see what he thinks, he agrees it's unacceptable. Now that I've had three of these phones, I can either try yet another replacement, or I can call the main office and they'll offer me a 'comparable' phone instead. Much as I love the features of my little phone with its dual slide, three strikes and you're out. So, I call the main office. Navigate phone trees, wait on hold, get the wrong operator but eventually get where I need to be. She gives me a choice of 4 phones. I ask if I can call back after I go to the phone store and get more advice and see how they feel, etc. No problem. She's recorded everything in my file, so all I have to do is call back with my choice. WRONG! I go to the store, choose a new phone and call back. I have to jump through all their hoops yet again (including swearing I didn't take the phone into the shower???--I've only had it a couple of hours, not that I shower with my phone anyway.) However, I can't choose the color. I get black, which will disappear on my black desk and in the black depths of my purse. And this rep doesn't follow the 'overnight because we screwed up' courtesy the other one gave me. No big deal, since the phone parts of the phone work, but now it'll be Tuesday before I see the new phone. (And have to learn more new tricks)

What happened to buying a product, and if there were problems, you took it back to the store where you bought it, and they made it right? Why can't I turn in a defective phone where I bought it and exchange it for another one?

This morning, everything was delayed while my computer installed a new update and got hung up in the process. By the time everything was back on line, I had to leave for my annual poke and prod. I came home armed with new prescriptions. We'll see what happens when I start a lower dose of my estrogen. Hubby beware.

On a happier note, I've got a massage appointment in an hour. Maybe by Monday, I'll be back to more interesting posts. I want to share my workshop notes from Male vs Female Brains. Very interesting.


Anonymous said...

What a day! I hope your massage went well and that you can carve out some time this weekend to relax and enjoy yourself (deep breaths and icecream work for me).

Take care!

Terry Odell said...

Ice cream is always a winner. And the massage went very well, thank you. I might have to feature a massage therapist in a book; I could even write off the cost of the massages, I'll bet!

Jess said...

Does it count that my movers when I left ABQ called and showed up 4 HOURS EARLY?! Or that my wine delivery showed up at 8am?

Terry Odell said...

Jess - no, the cable guy doesn't get credit for your movers. He showed up at 1:57. I suppose there's a clock in the house that would have put him in here at after 2, and I could have called for a credit for a late appointment, but I'm feeling magnanimous. Hitting a roll on the writing helps the mood.

Ray said...

I wish there were some way to get a discount on my bill for every time customer service puts me on hold or the phone tree sends me where I don't want to go. My most recent problem with my cable company is that every time I get to the point at which I am to be connected to a live person I get the dreaded intercept operator saying, "If you want to make a call..." I just signed up for cable internet and I can't log on because the computer keeps telling me I have used the wrong user name or the wrong password. Strangely the customer service rep entered what I told her when I signed up in the office. You can't reach the techies from the office.

Don't companies realize they are ruining their credibility by abusing their customers. It is cheaper to give good service and to not anger those who get a product that requires replacement than to save money by using a closed loop phone tree.

I know a radio talk show host who was unhappy with his printer. He went through what you did and got no satisfaction. He named names on his show and all of a sudden he got a call from the CEO and a newer upgraded printer and a phone number to bypass the phone tree if he had any more trouble. Only when a company is exposed will they do what they should have done in the first place.

Maybe a villain who murders a customer service rep who is from a company that does give good service because he/she is mad at someone else would be a good start for a novel. Or how about a serial killer who tries to take down everyone who works in customer service one at a time.


Terry Odell said...

I hear you Ray, and if you're not going to use that 'killing customer service reps', I just might. However, to be fair, they're merely echoing what they're required to say (this call may be monitored so we can fire our employee if they try to do something outside their proscribed limits).

I just spent another 15 minutes on the phone because nobody had called me to set up the "this should really, really fix it" appointment. To my shock, they'd gone ahead and scheduled an appointment WITHOUT CALLING TO TELL ME! And it's not until Thursday. I was told that's absolutely the first open appointment, per the supervisor.

I had some choice words, many of which remained unspoken. So, by Thursday I'll probably be half-blind trying to watch the fuzzy television.

They will only give credits for missed appointment times or total outages, not just sucky stuff.

Ray said...

I was making the suggestion hoping you might use it in your work. I really hate it when I am doing it by texting online and the techie tells me to do steps a) through c) of the steps a) through g) that I have already tried then when I tell him none of the steps work I get another text telling me to use steps d) through g) and the world will be a better place and everything will work just fine.

It makes me want to go to Jamaica, sit in a bar and just say, "Don't worry; Be happy."

I know customer service has to follow the script. I think companies purposely don't hire people who know how to really fix a problem.

Maybe it is time for independent help lines with real experts.