Customer Service Woes

Posted: October 19, 2007 in Thoughts
Tags: , , ,

It never seizes to amaze me how different “custom service” and “customer relations” are. Customer service employees, on many occasions, seem to have no idea what they are doing, and just want to get you – the customer – off their back. On the other hand, customer relations employees seem to have a lot more knowledge and experience, a lot more that they actually CAN do to satisfy the customer.

Here’s my latest encounter. It was with my cellphone service provider. About 6 weeks ago, I found out that an additional phone number has been added under my name, and it has already been in use, with an outstanding balance on it. Of course I called the customer service, and it took a good amount of time to convince them (or at least to let them understand) that I do not know anything about this new number. They said they could cancel it if I pay the outstanding balance, which I refused. So they said they would have to start a fraud investigation to see if someone else registered in my name or how this exactly happened. I agreed, even though I had the feeling that someone in the company messed up! They said they would call me back within 2-3 days to let me know the status. A week later, and no one called, so I called them back. Again, the customer service rep told me that they haven’t looked at it yet, since these things usually take up to 2 weeks. So I waited for one more week then I called back. This time, the costumer service rep called the fraud department again, left a note for them, and told me they would call me back in a couple of days to update me. Again, no one called.

As you can already tell, I’m a very patient person, and I like to believe that these people have a lot other stuff to do, so they might have an excuse in taking so much time, even though they have no excuse in not getting back to me. Anyway, I called again after a couple more days. This time, the customer service rep said that no fraud investigation has even been opened since the previous people only left notes for the fraud department while they should have filled a certain form, which they didn’t. So this guy filled out that form for me, gave me another phone number, and told me to call that number in a few days (this was on a weekend) to get an update.

So, I tried calling that number, which seemed to be ringing with no answer all the time, until eventually someone picked up. They told me that the situation has been resolved, the unknown number has been canceled, and that the balance would be credited to my account, and that I should be able to see all that on the next bill. I guess my patience finally paid off in the end!!

Yesterday I got the bill, and guess what, the other number was still there, and the balance was still the same. At that point, I snapped!! I called the customer service and told them that I would like to cancel my account with them. I guess that was the magic word! They transferred me to customer relations. This person heard all the story from the start, then confirmed that the situation WAS indeed resolved. However, the effect would take place one week AFTER the bill has been issued. She kept apologizing about the unprofessional behavior of the customer service colleagues, and assured me that by Monday, the balance should be adjusted. However I wasn’t going to easily let this go with an apology. So, in a last desperate attempt to convince me not to cancel my account, she offered to even add an additional amount of credit to my account, as a compensation for all the trouble I had to go through. To be honest, that was a good offer, and I took it, so I get to keep my account, have my balance restored, and basically get extra credit. It’s amazing how far they are willing to go in order to keep a customer from leaving. I wish they could only go as far to make sure customers don’t think of leaving in the first place.

On Monday I should make sure that everything has been done as agreed, or I WILL cancel this time.

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