Monday, March 3, 2008

Customer Service, Verizon-style

I spent nearly 1 1/2 hours on the phone today, trying to sort out our telephone situation with Verizon. I talked to a woman in India who asked me to verify my billing infomation, and then repeated it back to me again. She asked me if I were Timothy. "No," I answered. "Well, she wondered, "are you authorized to make decisions in his name?" I was starting to get ornery and this always sparks a sarcastic inner voice in me. The inner voice snarled, "Hell, yeah, I can make decisions in his name. I've decided that he can't sleep with Shania Twain and so he doesn't." Outloud, I simply assured her that I could. This woman patiently listened to the problem, parroted what I said, but lo, there was no resolution. She saw the problem, but could not help me, and transfered me to the fellow who could. That fellow verified all my billing information again and then asked if I were authorized to make decisions in his name. My inner voice bellowed, "By gosh, when I told him that he was not buying a Mazzerati, that was that. I've got real authority, bub." But again, all I said was "Yes. I can make decisions." And explained the whole flipping thing again. And he explained to me that I needed to call another number. I called that number and for the third time verified all the billing information, and assured him yet again that although I was NOT Timothy, I was authorized to make decisions in his name
(*&^%$$%^!!!!!!) And this man explained that I was speaking to a premium operator. I was not authorized to speak with a premium operator. There was an extra charge to speak to the PREMIUM OPERATOR. I had not paid for premium service. I thought of all the times Verizon had assured us that we were valuable customers. Verizon lies.
I used to be a customer service person. I hated to speak to angry customers. Now I was one. "Listen, " I seethed. "I'm pretty mad right now, and want to kick somebody's ass. Unfortunately, the only one here is my dog, and I'm really quite fond of my dog. I'm not mad at you, but I'm telling you right here and phone service has been screwed up since February 20th, and we are going to resolve the situation right here and now, or we're getting a new phone company. I'm trying to be as nice as I can. Now why don't you tell me what you're going to do to solve this problem for me."
I was on hold for 25 (TWENTY FIVE!) more minutes. Finally an operator came on. He sounded as if he were from India. He verified my billing information again. I spelled my name. He spelled it back, incorrectly. He wondered if I had permission from Timothy to make decisions in his name. I gritted my teeth and assured Verizon (yet again) that I could. And then amidst profuse apologies, he told me that he could not help me. Their computers were down. They could not access the customer information.
Ye gods. I need a good stiff drink.


A said...

Oh dear. I despise having to call the customer service center of our phone company. Almost as much as they must despise me calling! lol.
I once had a phone technician come out to check the line - He had to unplug the phone and internet cables to do this. He put them back incorrectly and I had to fix it myself when he left.
I also had a modem that kept coming up with the message "Error 202: Your computer appears to have been abducted by aliens. Please contact the mother ship for further directions."

Good luck for round two!

jeanie said...

Oh my - can you charge them for your alcohol consumption while dealing?

Mike said...

The last time my Verizon phone broke I went straight to the store in order to bypass India.

I spent two hours picking out a different phone and waiting for them to call my mumber. After a half hour of being "helped" by an actual American human, I was told I could not buy a new phone because my wife had purchased the plan.

where is General Sherman when you truly need him?

debby said...

Sad thing, Mike? If it were just the phone, I'd fix that little problem with no problem. We in the backwoods are moving from dial-up to DSL (woo-hoo, the excitement!) They've made changes to our phone system that reroutes incoming calls to them instead of our home. We had no idea that they were 'taking' our calls, no idea how to retrieve these messages. I've got one kid in basic training, another in New Orleans, one in Michigan someplace, the other on the other side of the state. I want my calls, dammit.

Jeanie and A, I know I'm whinging again. Ooh. Jeanie, this makes your whinges look positively amateurish. A, I still think your two year old makes more sense than the Verizon folk I talked to yesterday. All four of them.


Mary Paddock said...

A few months ago while I was working online, I heard a large telephone truck on the road below our house go by. Shortly afterward, our internet went down. At that point I was still employed, and somedays I was working from home--this just happened to be one of those days. I contacted the server who ran me through all the diagnostic tests and restarts and resets I'd just run my self and ruled out what I already knew; it wasn't me.
She sent out a work order telling me it was a matter of throwing a switch to reset something at the substation, but they wouldn't be able to get to it for at least twenty-four hours.

This wasn't acceptable, especially as I knew it was some technician's fault. So I called back twice more, being polite but insistent. Every time they ran me through the same diagnostics and every time we determined the same thing--it still wasn't me. The final rep agreed. "You're right. It shouldn't take twenty-four hours to flip a switch. Let me see if I can push that work order to the head of the line. You're working from home right? Have a deadline to meet? That will probably do the trick."

That evening I heard a big truck drive down the lower road. Shortly after our internet was restored. The technician in the truck called me and said, "The problem doesn't seem to be here. It must be you. Sometimes modems just go to sleep and it takes several restarts to get them going again." I cannot tell you how mad it makes me when people treat me like I'm stupid, but I managed to stay civil. We have two or three technicians who work regularly in our small town. One of them has a reputation for ineptness and laziness among the other techs. Guess which one this was?

debby said...

I give up, Mary. Which one was it?

PaintedPromise said...

oh boy. Verizon AND my atm... lovely!!!

but how does one deal with this type of frustration if one doesn't drink???

debby said...

One learns, Susan.

UPDATE: Tim called Verizon last night. The situation was resolved after only a half hour on hold. I guess I know who wields the real authority in our house.