Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Customer Service: A Tale of Two Verizons 2

Part the Second: The Good

I'm huddled in front of my computer tonight because, in keeping with some sort of vast universal law, the temperature outside is around 20 (and tomorrow supposed to be even colder) and our furnace decided that heating the house was really too much trouble. We called up a local furnace repair place, Indoor Comfort, (who claimed 24-hour service). The serviceman on call, Corey, got back to us in jig time. I've got to hand it to him. He was completely honest with me. He told me that he would have to charge me $140 for the service call and, since our furnace is getting a bit long in the tooth, he probably wouldn't have the parts to fix it. You've got to appreciate that kind of honesty. He even suggested another place that might have the part.

Wow! I love great customer service like that.

Speaking of good customer service, I wanted to tell you the second half of my Verizon story.

A few nights ago, I was doing the bills. I went to record the Verizon statement only to discover that it was a little more expensive than I had expected. I checked, and, sure enough, the in-store twits clerks at the Verizon store had put the "handheld" option on Lisa's phone, which I had specifically told them not to do. The handheld option allows you to hook up your laptop to your cell phone and use it for a broadband connection. A cool service, but not worth $60/month!

So, I dragged myself over to the phone, since I always love to call customer service (and the fact that it was a cell phone company only made me even more eager). I dialed the number and was immediately taken to my favorite place, voicemail hell. Then I was in for my first shock.

I went through one layer of options, had to enter my cell phone number, and was immediately connected with "Cheryl", a real live human being (or at least a very convincing facsimile!). OK, I know I shouldn't get so excited, but if you knew my history with voicemail systems, you would understand.

Anyway, to make a long story short, within 15 minutes, Cheryl had removed the "handheld" option from Lisa's phone, reversed the charges for that option, and had explained some of the other options that were on the account, helping me make good decisions on exactly what I needed to make the most of our phones. While we spoke, she was unfailingly pleasant and even chatted with me a little about her experiences working for Verizon. I think the only complaint I have about the whole experience was that she couldn't transfer me to someone there with whom I could register my extreme satisfaction with the whole experience!

Hey, Verizon! Here's an idea. Why don't you send your in-store clerks to the same customer service training that you sent Cheryl? It's wonderful that they know so much about the technology, but I would have been a lot happier if they had treated me like a real human being, instead of just a commission.

So, can your good cell phone company experience beat that?

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