Monday, September 23, 2013

Customer Service

I understand the costs a company saves by having an automated customer service system, but in my opinion “automated and customer service” is an oxymoron.  I can’t even begin to list the number of things I have put off just because I did not want to deal with an automated and out sourced customer help service. Tech support with our satellite receiver, internet service, my new cell phone and getting my interest rates reduces on a credit card, are just a few examples.

I just do not have the time to call the company, enter all the requested info only to be given an answer that has no relation to my question. Yes I always hit the pound key and the star key like a mad woman in an attempt to get transferred to a real person. Most of the time one of two things happens. Either I get an automated “thank you” and disconnect or I get transferred to another automated system that tells me there is a 20 minute wait.

So I rolled the dice and called my cell phone company today to ask why, after following all the directions, I was unable to log on to my internet service at home. I went through the automated system and finely got to the option to talk with a real person. I had already invested 30 minutes into the process by then, so I waited the 30 minutes that really turns out to be 40 minutes of listening to a flute playing hard rock music. At last the moment came where an automated voice told me I am next in line. My victory of knowing that someone was soon going to be on the line was quickly followed by shear frustration because I could hardly understand what this person was saying. My call was put through to a foreign county call center. Somewhere in her thick accent and broken English I believe she said her name was Peggy. Peggy did not seem to understand anything I said. A little back and forth and I understood that Peggy wanted me to repeat all my account information that I had already entered in the automated system.

Several more minutes of attempting to communicate my issue and I got the feared phrase, “let me put you on hold while I check with someone.” This translated to another 10 minutes on hold. Peggy returned and began to walk me through some steps only to realize she was helping me set up my voice mail. Okay, l explained my issue to Peggy again.  I spent another 10 minutes trying to re-phase my inquiry in an attempt to get an answer.

I know you have all been in this situation. After investing over an hour in this senseless exchange and trying to remain easy-going, Peggy told me she had no idea how to do what I was asking. I know my tone of voice was getting edgy and I tried to refrain for fear Peggy would hang up.  We went back and forth until Peggy told me that I was being transferred to a supervisor. The dreaded transfer at best equates to several more minutes of flute music, at worst it means the call would be disconnected and I would have to start all over. I was lucky and the transfer was successful. Another person, a man named Jack claiming to be a supervisor, began by asking me in broken English for all my account information again, really?

About that time I had missed several other calls from people trying to call me, I had to run to the bathroom, let the dogs out and grab something to drink. I had been on the phone well over an hour and a half and was beginning to wonder if I really needed internet service on my phone. My spirits were lifted when Jack at least seemed to understand what I was asking. The answer was simple to him, if I could not log on to my home internet service with my phone after following all the steps in the manual, it had to be because my internet was down. I told him that my internet was working just fine because I had my laptop open and was logged on to my e-mail. Jack insists that it was an internet issue and asked me to reset my router.  That did not work so he wanted me to unplug the router and wait 15 seconds and plug it back in.

Jack tried to convince me to call my internet provider because it was a problem with them and not the phone. I lied to him and told him I already called them and they checked out my router and the issue was with the phone. Jack is stumped. He asked that I check to make sure I entered my router password correctly, I did. Next he asked that I shut my phone off and turn it back on, I did. Nothing. Jack declared that there must be a problem with the phone and wanted to send me another one to replace it. I explained that I had had the phone for two months and they had already sent me a replacement phone last month because they could not resolve an issue with sim card.

There was no changing Jacks mind however. He insisted it was a defect with the phone and he was sending me a new one. I asked that he look at my account for the service record so he could see that I had had this phone for two month and had not been able to use it much because after I first got it I had an issue and they had to send me a new sim card. Then there was second issue after I installed the new sim card so I had to wait while they sent me a new phone.  I did not want to wait another week for yet another phone. I told him to forget it I will use this phone without the ability to log on to the internet. We agreed and I hung up. That was two hours of my life I will never get back.

A week later I was putting the phone in my purse and I dropped it. When it fell to the floor the back came off and the battery went flying. I pick it up and put it all back together, turn it back on and looked at the screen to make sure I didn’t break it. To my surprise I got an icon telling me that I was connected to my home internet service. I thought about calling Peggy and Jack to tell them the answer to my question was to remove and replace the battery. But then I decided I really didn’t have two hours to waste that day. 

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