Monday, August 30, 2010

GOOD customer service!

Oh, I do love it when I receive good customer service, as happened today. What? No, I'm not being sarcastic. I really did come away as a satisfied customer today.

Not that it was easy. And I did have to refrain from raising my voice, crying or hanging up the phone. Several times. But, in the end, it all worked out.

Here's what happened.

When we first moved in, none of the phone jacks in the house worked, so I called Ma Bell. Ma Bell assured me that they would send a technician, at a cost of $99 - or we could sign up for their "Wire Care" package at a cost of $6.95 per month and the repair would be free. Adding new jacks, of course, would cost extra. Well, I signed up for the Wire Care package.

The technician came. He found that the person who "flipped" our house had accidentally cut the phone wires, and the old jacks were outdated, so he fixed all three of them.

The next bill came; there was no $99 charge, so I thought nothing of it. But then, on today's bill, a $99 charge suddenly appeared, and I noticed that the monthly Wire Care charge was not being billed. I was not a happy camper. So I called Bell to point out their error: the Wire Care package hadn't been applied, and the repair was just that - a repair to existing equipment, not the addition of new jacks.

Unfortunately for me, I had not kept track of the all-important confirmation number for my Wire Care request. Heck, I had made the tech support call from a hotel room before we had actually moved into the house! Without it, I was essentially screwed. Furthermore, the technician had posted the visit as an installation of new jacks rather than a repair of existing equipment. So even if they had posted the Wire Care program, I still would have had to complain!

Okay, so we're not seeing any good customer service yet. Hang in there.

In fact, at this point, I was livid, but still controlling my voice. I was doing a good bit of deep breathing. Pausing carefully before I spoke. That kind of thing. Finally, I accepted defeat and asked the rep how I could go about cancelling my Bell service.

Finally, finally, they transferred me to a good customer-service rep, one who understood that Bell was about to lose a loyal customer, all for the sake of $99.

She asked how I was, and I replied that I could be happier.

(Yeah, not the best "winning friends and influencing people" reply. I was in full-on Incredible-Hulk-turning-green-and-busting-his-shirt mode. Which, when you're me, comes out as passive-aggressive sarcasm. And at the very same time, I'm trying not to cry. Don't you hate that kind of anger where you're beside yourself?)

She stayed calm and said, "I understand that you're very unhappy right now. I've heard our technician's side of the story, but I'd like to hear yours."  And she listened. She did some more checking and regretfully told me that, without a confirmation number and a record of the technician's visit, there was nothing she could do about the $99. BUT she could offer me a deep discount on our regular monthly service - about $25/month. Which adds up to way more than the $99 service charge!

So, they screwed up, but in the end I came out feeling like a winner. Not the best customer service ever (that would've been doing their jobs right in the first place), but all's well that ends well.

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