I Can Barely Contain My Rage

Monday, August 28, 2006

Am I the only one to find this ironic: there exists a communications company wherein one Department is unable to communicate with the other, even though they all deal with the same services and apparently share a database.

There is such a company who provides me with the ability to post useless drunken ramblings on this blog and use many other internet-related forms of fun. This weekend, this communications company did some system maintenence which has caused an interruption in my service.

I called. After an hour and a half and approximately 7,000,000 little steps (including telling the computer voice my phone number, name, and problem, only top have to repeat it to the customer service rep...), we found the problem, which I stated above. Cool. So all we have to do now is transfer over to the sales deparetment to confirm my order. Of course, the tech support person can't do this, even though they plainly share the same information and are even looking at the same screen as one another at the same time (I know this from previous troubleshooting exercises). I am on hold. Then suddenly, I am told that the sales department is currently closed (it was SUnday...makes a little sense). Again, while looking at the same information as the sales "team," they cannot help me. They told me to call back today (Monday).

I called back. Of course, because it's a new day and a new person, regardless of all of the steps I already took yesterday, and regardless of all of those steps having been logged in their database in perfect sequence by the tech support person yesterday (again, I know they do this because of previous troubleshooting inquiries), I again have to repeat all the same steps. Apparently, the people they hire have no ability to apply the past to the present...

...say...that sounds a little familiar of someone or something else...hmm...

So we do all of this again. And now comes the moment: they will transfer me to sales to confirm my order. Yes! We're here.

Sales Rep: Can I confirm your name?
Me: (name)
SR: All I need now to look up your account to confirm it is your customer code on your bill.Me: M....my what?
SR: Your customer code.
Me: What's that?
SR: A new code we require people to give us, found on your bill statement, to modify your account.
Me: I'm at work. Why would I have my bill?
SR: Sorry, sir. We need that code to proceed.Me: So, after another hour on the phone, after nearly two hours yesterday, because of a problem you created, we can't proceed without this esoteric number?
SR: Sorry, we can't.
Me: How about my social security number? My cat's name? Anything else?
SR: Sorry. We can't do the social security numbers any more. It's on a totally different screen that is not connected to this one.
Me: So, we could conceivably go to this other "screen," I give you my social security number, you find this customer code, and copy it into the screen you're in now? Right?
SR: No sir, we can't.

So now, I will have to call back again when I get home and search my recycling bin for the old bill. And go through the same steps again.

This is the problem with massive corporations. We have allowed so many companies to combine into larger companies that I no longer get any customer service. So driven are they to streamline their internal services into separate highly-functional pieces that the customer is left out. And worse, they are under no compulsion to actually give me real customer service. They make so much money that when I threaten to leave and take my $19.95 a month, they will never miss it. $20 is nowhere on their radar screen, and honestly, neither am I. What recourse do I have but to take it in the ass? And worse, who can I leave to? Nobody. They've all been bought. So much for competition.

My only consolation is that after verifying who you are, they ask if they can call you by your first name. Maybe next time, I'll say no, call me Your Majesty.

4 comments:

Thrillhous 12:06 PM  

Ouch, I feel your pain. And it's not like yelling at the sales rep helps; he/she's just some schmoe doing what the higher ups tell them to do.

I think it's more that these big companies just don't want customers to call. Same w/ cell phones. When we signed up for verizon phones, it took all of about 15 minutes to pick a phone, open an account, and be out the door, calling on the new phone. But take it back to customer service for something minor, like changing your billing address or whatever, and they have one guy manning the desk, and there's always about 10 people waiting. Most folks just walk away when they see that.

I read a good essay about this "Do what you can get away with" mentality recently, can't remember where (atlantic monthly? washington monthly? gigantic-asses.com monthly?)It talks about this type of corporate thinking, and how it has infected all of us to some extent or another. Our gov't sure seems to operate on a "Do what you can get away with" model.

wife,  12:08 PM  

you should have them call you "El Conquistador"

Bob 1:08 PM  

OK, this must be AT&T.

I had a very similar problem about a week ago. You see, we cancelled our home phone entirely in June. My wife was not aware that we are stuck paying two AT&T bills every month, so she just cancelled our local phone service. Even though this action would have sufficed to cancel the long distance as well when we used separate companies, now that AT&T provides both services, you have to call different numbers to cancel your AT&T long distance or your AT&T local. They aren't connected.

Let me repeat: separate companies could figure this out, but one company cannot.

So now that I have received a bill for services I do not want, nor can I accept because my phone is disconnected, I called the long distance service number. I went through their stupid voice activated menu system and reached human who rudely informed that I he could not fix my problem, that I had reached the wrong department. (But menus are so precise)

Once I reached the correct department to tell them I wasn't paying the bill they had sent me because I didn't even have a phone, I was put on hold while she checked it out. While I was on hold, I reheated some chicken, nuked some peas, put them on a plate, sat at the bar, ate, and washed off my plate. At that point, I gave up and hung up, which is really what they wanted me to do, so I would just pay my bill.

I have no idea how to call back or reach the same department, but I am not paying for services I did not use.

Otto Man 12:26 AM  

Actually, sounds like MCI to me. They slapped a $500 charge on my bill by their mistake, and it still took me three days of nonstop calling to get it fixed.

There's a special circle in hell for MCI executives.

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