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Whatever Happened to Customer Service?

I know that this is not the first and certainly not the last post about this but...

{Whatever happened to customer service?}  Why can't we talk to real humansHeck, I would even settle for a twitter or Facebook response if I could virtually talk to someone! I also don't want to fill out a  form just to get an auto response saying that they got my email but will get back to me with in 24- 48 hours.  

Call a company and you get an automated message.  If you are lucky - you might be able to get through to someone or you can go to websites like GetHuman.com or DialAHuman.com and find out shortecuts to get through to a human... If those don't work then CreditInfoCenter.com has some tips:

What to Do and Say When You Call

  1. Press the following keys to try to bypass the automatic prompt system: 0, #0, 0#, 00, #, *. You can also just try pressing all the numbers to confuse the system.
  2. Say the following terms at the voice prompt:
    • "Prospective Member"
    • "Agent"
    • "Member"
    • "Transfer"
    • "Sales"
    • "Operator"
    • "Human"
    • "Help"
  3. Mumble. The computer will not know what to do if it does not understand what you're saying and will send you to a live agent.
  4. Speak Nonsense. This is my personal favorite. It also confuses the computer and it relieves some of my stress during customer service calls.
  5. Use Bad Language. Some company voice recognition software will put your call to the head of the line if they hear swearing. The same holds true for speaking loudly or shouting in the phone. They want really frustrated customers to get helped immediately.
  6. Do nothing. The system will think you're on a dial phone and transfer you.

Yes, CreditInfoCenter is about cleaning up your credit but there is some really good information here and the BBB gives them an A+ rating!  Read the about section.

Needless to say, when my crappy, low end phone finally took a nose dive into a puddle (I think it actually jumped from my pocket on purpose to get away from me...). I had to make a claim with my service provider to get a replacement.  I actually purchased a new phone from them because of the new program they have to replace phones... for any reason.  In theory, I really dig this company... as long as nothing is wrong with my plan or phone.  Something goes wrong once or twice a year and I dread, hand to [insert deity here] I absolutely DREAD calling or emailing them.  I started using them in 2006 so it is not like I am a new customer.  So much for rewarding loyalty.  sigh.

So... You can imagine my excitement to see that there was a link on their website to the website that handles the claims.  You see, I would rather pay for a new one then call them or even email this company (did I mention that all ready?).  You have to jump through hoops to talk to someone and if you try one of the "tricks" eventually you hear something like, thanks for calling but we can't help you - click.  But... there is a link to another company and all they do is replace phones.  I can so do this!

I clicked the link to file a claim, started the process, got a claim number - my type of phone is not on the list.  Called their customer service, meaning the company that processes the claims for my cell phone provider and after waiting on hold I get someone who wants to debate whether or not my phone is really through that company.

Are you freakin' kidding me?!?  Really?  I mean r e a l l y????  Do you think I would just phone you and demand a replacement phone if my phone came from a more reputable company that may or may not handle their own claims?  Do you think I might forget the provider?  I can't.  The logo is on my phone that does not exist in your database. 
me:  I don't know what to tell you but the logo is on the phone and I know who my provider is...
her:  Well, it is not in the database.  Are you sure it is a [vestal company] phone?
me:  Unless you are trying to tell me that I have to hang up with you and call the cell phone company myself - I am sure it is a [vestal] cell phone
She transfers me to my provider (with out telling me that I am on my own for the rest) and none of the options apply.

Did I mention I am tweeting while I am discussing this with the claims website person and the cell phone provider...

After being hung up on, several times, I finally figure out how to get to talk to someone and they can send me a replacement providing that they have it in stock.  If the phone is not in stock I have to call back in 5 days to do this again.  I.  Have.  To.  Call.  Back.
me:  I have to call back?
them: Yes or you can be placed on a waiting list which may take longer... blah blah blah blah
I have ranted on twitter for less logical reasons and have been contacted by the company to see if there was something they should be done... a communications company... not so much.  A grocery store like Heinen's (which I now shop at because they reached out) but a cell phone company... not so much.  I am not saying they should but...  not very quick on the uptake.  Then again - maybe I am just not that important.

Luckily, the phone is in stock and I can expect it in 3 - 5 days and I have a series of things I have to do to send the broken phone back including a number to write on the envelope... sigh.  Sure why not.  Then I get an email confirmation...

...on top of everything else - some people get faster delivery and some don't and now I know that others get faster delivery?

I guess I should be grateful that they are replacing my phone.  My cheap phone that they don't even offer anymore on their website.

I do think I need to rethink my loyalty or... do I go along with it?  It is what it is and they are cheap?  Maybe this is what to expect from companies these days... Thankfully there are so many choices now that I don't have to go with that thinking... Loyalty?  I'll show you loyalty.


Thank you

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