Sunday, July 16, 2006

Customer Service

This week my cell phone (one year old) rolled itself up in a ball and died, closely followed by my computer (six months old). The Cingular people were very helpful, however. I took the Motorola corpse to a Cingular store and laid it at the feet of a Customer Service Hater, and we had the following conversation:

HIM: (jabbing at blank screen) What seems to be the problem?

ME: It won't turn on.

HIM: Well, what you need to do is dial 611. The national call center will help you.

Things fared a little better with the laptop, which has clearly outlived its usefulness. Six months! You can fall behind a great deal, computer wise, in six months. The computers on the shelves now can reposition GPS satellites, whereas when I chose the one I'm typing on now, I poked around at the casing until the guy with the nametag materialized and I said, "Where's the disk drive?" and he laughed very hard. And yet this computer is now, in the eyes of the industry, little more than a Swatch watch.

The Best Buy people must have attended the same charm school as the Cingular guy, because when I dropped my laptop on the counter, I pointed at it and said, "Windows is slow and I can't open Word and the system won't turn off when I tell it to" and the guy said, "But you just had this in two weeks ago," and I said "You see why my left eye is twitching, then."

Best Buy Guy hated the following: People, computers, and Best Buy. We had the following delightful chat:

HIM: We loaded Norton Antivirus on your last visit.

ME: That's all you guys did? You charged me $160 to uninstall and reinstall Norton?

HIM: That's not what I said.

He sent me several times to wander around the store, opening washer doors to entertain myself by wondering how many bodies I could fit in there, while he ran diagnostics. It works for now. I cannot say the same for my cell phone. Somebody call me and tell me how to turn it on, OK?

landline at:


savannah the college student said...

Norton is evil. Buy McAfee.

mike, who applied to work at verizon said...

You need to dial 611.


Russell the Reader said...

While I completely sympathize with your problem I must admit that I am at least mildly pleased that Verizon is not the only place where such things happen. My most recent encounter involved a suspect charge of over $200 on my bill. I called immediately and was informed that a credit would be issued and they were sorry for the inconvenience. As my actual bill was only $75.00 I thought that would be an appropriate amount for payment. Silly me. Credits can take up to 8 weeks to appear on your account. I was charged a late fee and threatened with disconnection. I again called and informed them that it was unreasonable to expect a payment from me when they owed me money. For nearly a month I was considered a renegade at the Verizon Call Center. In the end, their customer service folly earned me two free months of service in addition to the $200 credit already owed me. I hardly think the compensation was worth the two full hours I spent on hold or the dramatic increase in my blood pressure as I explained the same situation to no less than seven people. There's a reason one can place notes on an account.

If you have insurance on the phone just toss it in a river or accidentally feed it to a wild boar. You can have a replacement for 35-ish dollars and you have the joy of personally hurling the phone into the jaws of death...or something like that. If you don't have insurance I'm sure Verizon would be happy to have you as a new victim. I meant customer...yeah...customer.

As for the computer - try a Mac. :-)

Pam said...

I bought my laptop when I started grad school in the fall of 1999. It's still whirring and clicking, though it doesn't compared to my brand new Dell at work. However, the fact that it's still in fairly good working order after almost seven years should earn it a place in the laptop hall of fame.

As far as the cell goes, I have always had good luck with Nokia phones. I got my first Nokia in December of 99 (not long after the laptop -- graduate school was kind of like a technology awakening for me). I just got my third Nokia this January.

Tamar who worked w/ cell phones (& BILLS) for Three 'wonderful' horrible years! said...

c'mon mike!

Be nice. How can she dial that if it won't turn on?

Speaking as an ex-cell phone customer service person who actually cared, and worked to hide the credits I put on accounts, not friends accounts, but if you had a really bad day and came in with a shimmer of tears in your eyes...darnit! You were gettin a credit!!! Ahem** Sorry bout that...

I remember often times doing the whole talking under my breath..."Psst.. you know, if you left your car window open, and took a REALLY tight left turn...your phone MIGHT go flying... and then if you ACCIDENTLY backed up to look for it, and ACCIDENTLY ran it over...INSURANCE CLAIM!!!"

Yeah, I NEVER did that! :P

Dantelope, I know that you're Detroit (The only part of MI not covered by them) but do you remember CenturyTel? They ROCKED! They cared about their customers AND employees. Sigh..They were bought out by the evil scion of satan, commenly called AllTel. Yup, I hate AllTel. But hey, that's a whole 'nother 5,000,000 word essay there. (And I warn you, the punctuation would be this bad, AND would include such colorful language as %@*!, &^#%@, & $!&#. Trust me, we're all better off w/o it!)

Anonymous said...

I hate them, but I do have to admit, Ryan Newman is kinda cute. He was rookie of the year when I was working for evil incarnate, Oops, I mean AllTel. :)

tamar said...

Anon a.k.a. the dork who can't type her own name...:P

Toni said...

MB, get thee over to . I have used it for over a year, and it rocks my socks off. It was suggested to me by a super-techy computer person who has never done me wrong. I personally think that Norton slows down your computer moreso than anything it *might* catch, and McAfee isn't much better.

Also, you're using
, right? RIGHT?

toni said...

Woah. In the preview not *everything* was a link. I meant to say, you're using FireFox, right?

toni said...

(And the anti-virus program I linked to is AVG. I apparently suck at comments, and HTML.)

Anonymous said...

What do you expect from customer service?

amy lou the reader said...

Reminds me of my last bout with customer service.

About two months ago, The Husband and I were shopping for a new computer, courtesy my employer's generous computer purchase program.

We had to go to the store, select the computer we wanted, and have a clerk print an itemized price list so my employer could cut the check to the store.

We went to one store first, and browsed the computers for a while.

Now, we were looking to make a major purchase - computer, monitor, printer/scanner, audio...the works. After looking at computers for about twenty minutes, the associate came to us.

I explained the deal and he looked at me and said, simply, "We can't do that. You'd have to pay for it up front and then get reimbursed from your employer. I can't help you." Then he walked away.

One, if we *had* the money to buy a new PC we wouldn't be using my employer's offer. In. The. First. Place. Second, he was just rude. Fresh from a tour of duty in the school of Craptacular Customer Service.

So we went across the street to a competitor and had EXCELLENT customer service. So much so we spent over $1,700 on our items.

I wrote the managers of both stores a letter, informing the first of his associate's major slip up and the second of his staff's excellent work.

But the long and short of it, customer service often stinks.

And if you want a great story of getting cheated by customer service, check this out:

Anonymous said...

My Dad's cell phone crapped out on him last week & he's only had it about 6 months. He took it to a Cingular store where the punk kid told him he'd have to talk to someone in warranties & they told him it would be 7-10 days until it would be replaced. Not good enough for my father. He paid to have them ship a new phone overnight. Yes, customer service sucks everywhere! I was once in Target and the kid who checked me out never said one word to me. Not hello, not my total ,not thank you NOTHING!
As for the computer--I had a nightmare with Dell recently. Do you know that no one there speaks clear English? I talked to a Japanese woman at their Panama office. I had to pay for one of our company techs to come fix what Dell screwed up on my computer.

I sympathize with you & love your blog!

MB said...

I thank you, anon, and send my sympathies regarding the status of both your father's phone and your Dell. There's a reason why I didn't replace my old Dell with another one...

red pill junkie said...

so what's the brand of your laptop anyway MB?

The best computer I've worked with: the one I'm using right now at the office, a Gateway. Truly a workhorse this little baby. I mean, I've actually let it run 2 weeks non-stop (we do architectural renderings with it)without any problem whatsoever.

And although I know it is time for a replacement (in the CAD business a computer's life-time is even shorter) I know I'll miss this lady.

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