Friday Fives – customer service and unnecessary expenses

What was the absolutely worst customer service experience you have ever had?  

Well, like all of us, there have been tons.  So, let’s go recent.  We had internet from Century Link for some time.  Long ago, we also had a landline.  I wanted to reactivate the landline.  The first guy came out and not only didn’t hook up the phone, he broke the internet while I was out here.  3 service trips later and it was all working again.  Then… I got the bill.  The bill should have been around $60.  $18 for internet, $17 for phone, and the all the bs made up taxes.  Of course, some of this should have been comped for taking my internet down for 3 days.

Then… I got a bill for $640.  Good work, phone company!  Sure, we have ALL heard these stories about Comcast, but I didn’t know Century Link was as daft.  i did some googling and yelping and sure enough, they are.  Sadly, out where we live, we have no choice.  The cable company doesn’t come out this far.  That’s just fine with me, since Comcast customer service sucks 1 thousand fold of Century Link.  Oh, yes… I have Comcast stories.  No time for that now, just watch this… again.

You are teaching Customer Service 101, what do those folks need to know? 

Well, I kinda do teach that, having been in telecom management for almost 20 years now.  I try and teach patience and empathy.  The most important think you can teach a 25 or 30 year old, if it is possible, is that there is no ‘they’.  Reps sit around and mock customers who think us big companies just sit around and look for ways to screw people over.  No company does that.  The reps, of course, know this is absurd, and we are trying to do the best we can with complicated systems and limited training.  Right?

Then, these same folk sit around work and gossip about all the horrible things that the leadership do.  Many of them literally think we sit in meetings discussing ‘how can we make agents miserable?’, or ‘how can we make this unnecessarily complicated for the agents.  First rule to being a grown up.  There is no ‘they’, just we.  Sooner you figure that out, the happier you will be.   Also, the sooner you figure that out, the sooner you will climb up the corporate ladder.

What is your next major purchase? 

I think I want a radar detector.  Worse, I think I need one.  I have a long drive to work every day (an hour each way) and I get impatient driving.  I reckon for the cost of one speeding ticket, I could get a decent radar detector.  Thing is, I don’t know dick all about them.  Do they still work?  Are they legal?  If you have knowledge in these things, please let me know.

What are your “Red Flags” when making a major purchase?

Too good of a deal.  If there is one thing I have learned, and I swear I say this every single day – you get what you pay for.  If you find something that normally cost $200, and you can get it for $35… that isn’t a deal.  That means you are buying a piece of shit, and/or getting scammed.

What’s something you prefer the cheap version of better than the higher quality version?

Buying generic at the grocery store, for just about everything.  Well, not for Saran Wrap.  Don’t go generic on that, but everything else is same and cheaper for generic.  Oh, and whores.

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