Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Final ‘Frontier’ of Customer Service

Last year a new company took over the phone service in our state. The name of this company may or may not rhyme with the phrase “Runt-Deer Communications.” And this company may or may not have a talking buffalo as the advertising spokesman/mascot. Since a buffalo is a big, lumbering creature with a brain the size of a Raisinet, I guess it’s an appropriate choice.

When the previous phone company, which may or may not rhyme with “Hey-hey and flee,” decided to focus exclusively on wireless service (21st century technology) and get out of the land-line business (19th century technology), they sold their land-line accounts to Runt-Deer.

When this change took place, I began to receive two separate invoices, and that’s when I realized I was paying $116 per month for a land-line phone we hardly ever use anymore, plus an Internet connection that would be considered high-speed — if this were the year 1996.

So I called the customer service phone number to see what could be done. After being on hold for a couple hours, I finally was told, “Oh, we can put you on a new plan that has much faster Internet speed and the same land-line service, all for half of what you’re paying now.”

I replied, “Um, so how many more months were you going to keep collecting my $116 before ever telling me about this new plan?” I didn’t really get a straight answer to my question.

In order to set up the faster Internet speed, I had to make an appointment for a service technician to come to my house. So we picked a date when I could be home all morning. When that day arrived I waited and waited, and no service tech ever showed up. Finally I called, and after being on hold for a couple hours, I was told, “Oh, it turns out we can make that change on our end, and we don’t need to come to your house.”

I replied, “Um, so how many more hours were you going to let me sit here twiddling my thumbs waiting for your guy to show up?” (Full disclosure: I rarely twiddle my thumbs. And I actually was getting work done from home, but they didn’t need to know that.) I didn’t really get a straight answer to my question.

When the Internet change was made, I noticed the Caller ID and voice mail functions on our land-line phone stopped working. So I called again. After being on hold for a couple hours (wow, what a surprise!), I was told it was a mistake, and those services would be re-activated right away. I asked if all my saved voice messages would be lost and whether I would have to set up my voice mail account from scratch. I was told everything would be preserved and there was nothing I needed to do.

So naturally, it turned out all the saved messages were in fact deleted, and I did have to set up the voice mail account from scratch. Another couple hours of my life wasted.

I have yet to receive my new revised invoice, but who will be surprised if Runt-Deer’s definition of “half of what I’m paying now” actually means “half of what I’m paying now FOR MY MORTGAGE”? But I’m sure if that happens it will be another simple mistake (as if anything is simple in the telecom business), which can quickly be corrected (which means NOT quickly corrected) by one or two or twelve phone calls. Then again, what should we expect from a big, lumbering creature with a brain the size of a Raisinet?

1 comment:

  1. I had the IDENTICAL situation happen to me. I got a little smart though. Instead of holding each time for an hour, I got a customer service rep's email address. I send an email each month now. Why each month you ask? Because the discounts that get you that better price, they keep 'dropping off' my account. I have to email Catlyn each month to get me my discounts. You have that to look forward to. Get an email 'on hold' time....