The Ukiah Daily Journal

The state of customer phone service: not good

- Lucy Llewellyn Byard is currently a columnist for the Record-bee. To contact her, email lucywgtd@

The first issue of the day was that I couldn't get my DVD player to work. It was a DVD about the surgery procedure for Spinal Cord Stimulatio­n that I was scheduled to have. I was able to get the DVD to show up on my flat screen but unable to make it play. I tried several times with the same rejected results, so I called my friend Mabel's husband. Bart is a genius when it comes to making things work. He has patience, perseveran­ce and a science engineer's mind. He's a go-to-guy.

Bart showed up quickly after making the trek from his house to mine on his bicycle. Unsuccessf­ul in making the DVD play, Bart checked with an internet search engine to see what he might be doing wrong. Except there was no internet. Second issue of the day.

Bicycling back to his house, Bart took the DVD with him to see what he was doing wrong, sure that it was just a matter of simply pushing the wrong button. It was, so he bicycled back to my house and made the blasted thing work. Not wanting to leave me without the internet he tried rebooting my internet router. Several times. Finally I had to call the ISP for a tech support person.

My hearing is good but this tech support woman spoke so fast that I had to ask her to slow down, which she eventually did. But she kept asking the question that I had answered three times; yes, I had unplugged the box. When she finally “heard” me, and heard Bart repeat the answer, she in a grudging voice, said she'd be right back. She put me on hold.

Once back on the phone, the woman said she had checked and found out that my internet router had been taken off-line because they were sending me out a new, more efficient router.

“When will it get here?” asked Bart.

“It will be there, it's already processed,” she said, her voice clipped and about two octaves higher.

“Why have you taken my service off-line, when I haven't received the new router?” I asked her.

She replied in a tense voice something to the effect, “That's our standard operating procedure.”

Bart just about jumped at the phone, ready to read her the riot act. I waved him off.

“What? You stop my internet service,” I said, trying to be calm and polite, “in order to upgrade my router to a more efficient system and send me the new router, leaving a gap in service of hours and/or days without internet?”

That just didn't make sense to me. It didn't make sense to Bart either.

Getting nowhere, I thanked the nameless woman for her help and hung up.

Bart and I complained about the snotty customer service woman for quite a time.

Two days later the new router arrived and I called the ISP again, hoping I wouldn't get snotty woman again. Bart came over to help connect the router and when called, we got the most helpful woman imaginable at the company. Hook up was easy, once she realized that her company had sent the wrong informatio­n on how to hook up the router. Gads. It's a crapshoot out there!

Another friend told me his view of customer service. “It sucks most of the time,” he said. “It used to be better and easier when you'd get a real person on the phone rather than the automated machine. Starbucks is great for customer service. If they took take long to bring your order at a popular coffee shop in town, they'd come by your

table and give you a free drink or pastry. “I've never had a bad experience with them.”

“However, I'm seriously debating never ordering anything online again,” he added, “because of problems that arise.” He told of how a package didn't arrive to his home and any attempts to find out where the package was, led to frustratio­n. “It first tracked to San Francisco, then it was delayed, then sent back to a customer service center in Pennsylvan­ia.” He's ready to cancel his order, due to the frustratio­n it has caused.

I personally have received notices from an email account claiming to be the USPS that read: “Package reminder: We cannot deliver your package because the address is incorrect, please modify the address informatio­n online.”

After being almost scammed via an email, there was no way that I'd email the fake USPS customer service anything.

Under the promise of anonymity, another person said, “As far as telephonin­g businesses, I feel like customer service is extinct. We have evolved into a time where everything is online. If you're lucky enough to get a human being, they will inevitably tell you to go on the web and take care of your business there. If I am on the phone with someone, after waiting on hold, I want to take care of my business through them. Customer service is a thing of the past.”

Well said.

What's a girl to do?… stop expecting much from customer service people over the phone. Hence lowering my frustratio­n levels.

 ?? ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United States