Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Service Schmervice

I bet everyone that reads this has their own version of a customer service nightmare! Well, mine is with a cell phone company and without naming them outright, let's just say there are is an A and a few T's involved. It is Monday night and I call customer service a little before 7 pm to get Brian switched from his own account back to the family talk plan. The first problem is that the account is in my mom's name since she gets a discount through her job. With her permission, I pretend to be her which is no problem.

First a little background. The whole thing started a few months ago when we tried to do the switch in the store. The guy there gave us a list of phone numbers and said that they cannot do that in the store. Okay fine. So, then I called the number. Big mistake. I was on hold for over 30 minutes getting transferred here and there and everywhere. They finally get me to the right place and take all my information. They then talk to Brian and get all of his information. Put on hold again for them to verify and make the change. Woman comes back on, sorry we cannot do a change at this time. Apparently the discount contract is up for review and until it is renewed for another year, no one can be added to this account. I almost lost it! After a little pleading there was nothing to be done.

Fast forward to Monday. I call them after dinner at about 6:30 pm to figure out a problem on my phone. After holding for about 35 minutes and getting transferred, the problem is resolved! Then she asks if there is anything else she can help me with. I should have kept my mouth shut. But, no, I ask her to check if the discount contract has been renewed on the account. She tells me it has. I then ask if we can add another line to our family talk plan. She says yes. Great, I got that out of the way before we get to the final step and I am told 'not at this time' again.

But. You knew there had to be a but right? She cannot personally do that since I hit the option for technical help. She said I need to talk to an 'order placer-er'. Huh? Is that even correct English? Order Placer-er is now a job title? Maybe they should have thought of that kind of speak for Chandler on Friends. He would have been a data enter-er, right?

Anyway, she will be happy to transfer me. I should have asked for the direct number because about 3 minutes after the transfer I got disconnected. My wait time had to begin all over again. Ugh! Finally get through to someone that could help me almost another 30 minutes later. They take my info and Brian's info and we are on our way to wrapping this mess up.

The woman puts me on silent hold. This means she can hear me but I cannot hear her. Not sure of the purpose of this. If it was for a few seconds so she could ask a question or something that is one thing. But this was about 3-4 minutes. Every time I said something to my kids or they made too much noise in the background, she came back on and wanted to know if I had a question. More wasted minutes. Sigh.

But, even the silent hold had no chance to save me when I got disconnected once again. No, I am not even joking in the slightest bit. I did refrain from throwing the phone. They are lucky is was my house phone and not theirs! And plus the kids were watching! I gathered myself, counted to ten, and redialed the number once again. This time someone picked-up almost immediately and I was excited. Sadly, my joy was short lived.

After I told her all the info, she told me I have reached the wrong department. What? I told her that I followed the prompts for what I needed. She said that it is probably true but when a department gets hold times that are too long, the calls are automatically transferred to another department with shorter wait times. I do understand what they were going for here. Trying to lessen the amount of time it takes to speak to a real person. But what if you were calling to set up a business account for ten phones and the person that answers can only fix internet connection problems? Someone didn't think this one through.

After another almost half an hour on hold I got a nice gentleman. I explained to him that I had been on and off hold for almost 90 minutes and he apologized and took my number so that he could call me back if it happened again. Wow, someone is actually on the ball! He looked up my file and then said he had to transfer me to the right department. He would do a warm call, meaning he would get on the line with them first, give them my info, and then all I would have to do is verify things.

He gets someone on the line but needs Brian's phone number to give her. He said she would not help him without it. And he cannot transfer me over because she does not talk directly to customers. Um, this is a customer service department. He gets the info from me and tries to call her back. He says something about them needing to get 3-way calling. Yea, probably a good idea.

He connects to someone else and gives her all the info. She is for some reason allowed to talk to me and then asks me for all the info again! But I couldn't be connected to her in the first place until she got the info from the gentleman. I am so confused. She was very miserable and grumpy. She is so lucky that the wait times are so long or I probably would have hung up on her.

Then I am hold for yet another transfer. Luckily no disconnection this time! But, again there is a but. She came back on and said the office I needed to reach was now closed for the day. They closed at 8:00 pm EST. The time on my clock 8:04 pm! Now I really wanted to scream! I try to explain that I really did call before closing and they disconnected me. She said he tried to get through on his line and no one is picking up. She did, however, after a lot of begging, give me the direct number to the department I needed to reach. She was so despondent that I am still not sure that she just didn't feel like doing any extra work to help me. If you are having a bad day or just a generally mean person, maybe customer service is not the best place for you.

Now it is Tuesday morning and after almost two hours on the phone last night nothing has been resolved. They open at 8am, so I think I am being smart by dialing a few minutes before eight. I figure it will take me a few minutes to get through the menus and then I will be 'in line' when they open. Big mistake again. I find out when a woman answers that I have reached the wrong department and she will transfer me. I told her I dialed the right number and read it to her. She said she is not at that number. She then told me I called the number before business hours so it transferred me to a regular customer service operator. Fifteen more minutes wasted.

Since is is now after 8am, she transfers me. I sit on hold for about fifteen minutes and another woman answers. Luckily she finds all the info from last night and begins to finalize things. Silly me is relaxing and I breathe a sigh of relief. Now there is a problem with the discount again. The employment has not been verified for over a year and needs to be before we can proceed. You have to be kidding me. Yep, I really said that to her! Now my mom will have to go to the store and show them a valid paycheck stub.

She told me the store can do the transfer. If they tell me they cannot again to tell them about all the waiting. Tell them the lady on the phone said that they can do it. I asked if they could have done it the first time we started with all of this. She said yes, but they don't like to be on the phone trying to figure things like this out. To me, in other words it seems that there is no commission to be made on things like this. Only on sales. So why spend 30 minutes on the phone to help a customer when you can be making sales? Lovely. Just lovely.

Call my mom and she will go later in the afternoon. Great. She goes to the store. Can you guess what happened? They cannot do that in the store. She needs to take a form, fill it out, and fax it with her paycheck stub to renew the contract. She calls me and argues with them via me on the phone. I finally realize we are getting no where. At least the store salesman admits to the fact that there is no communication between the store and the 1-800 numbers. There is no uniformity and each one thinks everything is the other one's responsibility. He also admits that once the employment is verified that he should be able to do the transfer in the store. Well,Golly! Surprise! Surprise! Surprise!

The form and paycheck stub got sent to work with Brian this morning. I will wait until tomorrow and then try to call back. I hope they get the fax. Brian should probably keep a copy in his office because I have a feeling that he might need to send it again. Stay tuned, I am sure there will be a sequel or two. And when our contract is up I think the company with an 'A' and a few 'T's will be losing a few customers! Obviously we will be spending less per month by adding Brian to a family talk plan. I wonder if it is so hard to transfer on purpose so that I just give up and keep paying for two bills! Reminds me of a movie where insurance companies deny all claims from the start to try to get people to give up and just pay!


Emily said...

OMG how frustrating!!! Poor you!

JamieD said...

After reading your post, I just had a flashback from trying to merge me & Hubby's individual accounts into a family account after we were married. We both had the same carrier, so no big deal, right? WRONG!! I had never been so frustrated in my entire life. There was one point, in the store, I thought Hubby was going to have to physicially restrain me from flying over the counter.

Lane J said...

Anymore when I get good customer service, I am surprised about it. It is sad bad customer service has become the norm.

Good Luck!

Cassie said...

I'm right there with you Kim! I was having issues with my ONE MONTH old computer (Rhymes with "Bell") and they actually had me open up my tower and remove memory cards from the motherboard. Umm, I'm not a computer techie! And it wasn't easy to do. I said "Isn't this something that's covered under warranty?" and he said that the in-home service warranty only covers installation of hardware. I was on the phone for over 2 hours with them! But, at least I learned how to put in and remove memory cards from the motherboard! lol

~Jess said...

Wow! I would have been having a fit with someone. We have that carrier that starts with a V and ends with an N: They're not too bad, but even still we have issues when we want to make changes.
Good luck!

Here via ICLW

Rachel said...

Wow Kim! I would have lost it!

Kathy V said...

I am glad you had the patience to deal with them cause after the third or fourth time calling back and getting another department, I would have been slightly forceful when calling back. In addition it is ridiculous that you had to do that in the first place. (by the way I think companies like that purposefully disconnect you if it is getting close to the time when they will be going home so that they don't have to deal with you. When you call back it says the dept is closed. I have had that happen so many times. The same kind of thing happens to me when I wanted to add my husband to an existing credit card account.