Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Customer Service: A Tale of Two Verizons

Part the First: The Bad.

You know I'm always looking for tales of good customer service. Well, tonight I found one in a most unexpected place -- my cell phone company, Verizon Wireless.

Yes, I know. Shocking, isn't it? Cell phone companies are more often known for their customer service nightmares than with anything else. What made it even more unexpected for me was the contrast with my previous experiences with Verizon, in particular with the folks who staff their Ann Arbor store.

But wait, let me go back to the beginning.

Just before Christmas I decided that it was about time for Lisa and I to upgrade our cell phones and that the holidays were a perfect excuse to do just that. So, in secret, I went over to the local Verizon store. I've always preferred working with people face-to-face on these things. For some reason, they seem to be more responsive to your needs -- most of the time.

So, I entered this establishment. The room was huge -- and largely empty. It had displays along the walls, but otherwise the space was devoid of ornamentation of any kind. No places to sit. No furniture at all except for the checkout counter. It took a few moments for one of the three clerks to come over. I had already done my research, so I knew exactly which phone I wanted. It was only a matter of getting the right package for the phones. Simple, right?

Well, forty-five minutes and three clerks later, I found that this was definitely not the case. Apparently I confused them with my need not to transfer the phones right then and there. After all, Lisa might get suspicious if her phone just stopped working all of a sudden, right? At one point, two of the clerks had their heads together and had and exchange which sounded something like:

"We could ramft the cloverleaf function across the bork 534. That would delay the J62 onset and should make the jump-up contract fall on the dispersal date."

They then looked up at me and, I swear, one of them said, "Does that sound like what you want?"

By the time I left, I needed an Advil.

I would have chalked it up to just my bad luck, but this store further solidified its reputation when Lisa tried to take back the leather case which I had purchased separately. The case really didn't work for me and neither of us wanted it. Amongst the other obstacles they tried to throw in the way, the clerk in question came up with this beaut:

"It really would be more cost effective if you keep it."

What more can you say after that?

Tomorrow: Verizon, the Good.

So, do you have a cell company story to beat this?

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