Thursday, September 16, 2010

ridiculous phone call(s)

My internet service provider cut off my service the other day because I hadn't paid them in a while (go figure).  This is yet another area in which I need to improve my practice in stewardship.  I think my move and the changes associated with it will help.  But had I paid on time, I would have missed this delightful experience:

Call #1:  paid the balance due by phone, then talked to someone in customer service who told me the reconnection would happen automatically in 10-20 minutes.

Call #2:  after 45 minutes and still no service, I called again and spoke with someone in tech. support, who transferred me to billing and gave me their direct #.  V. in billing was very helpful, and was looking into the problem when my cell phone either cut out or I pressed the "end" button with my cheek, which I have annoyingly done before.

Call #3:  I called billing's direct line but still had to go through the same beginning rigmarole with the chatty male auto-voice, who says things like, "Thanks.  I'll just look that up." and "What is the nature of your problem?  You can say things like...."  Finally I got to a human being, explained I had been in the middle of some process with someone in billing when we got disconnected, and asked if he could help me.  He told me the reconnection will happen automatically in 5-6 hours.  After a brief pause, I said, "I'm sorry, did you say hours?"  "Yes, ma'am, 5-6 hours."

I decided my need to watch old Seinfeld episodes was not dire and that I could pack boxes instead.  But the suspense was killing me; if I called again to see how long it would take, who would win best two out of three?

Call #4:  I called again and had a lovely conversation with auto-guy, who asked me for the fourth time:
"Please enter your account number."  I did so.  "Thanks.  I'll just look that up."  (I'd called them a couple of times before today, and since my last call they'd added new, disturbing beep-beep-boop-click-click sounds while auto-guy "looks up" my account.  I can't decide if it's scarier to imagine a computer actually doing this, like a Terminator prequel, or that the company views Americans (rightly or wrongly) as being too dumb or too impatient to wait through a few seconds of silence.)
"Now, so I can best serve you, please tell me in a few words what the nature of your problem is.  You can say things like, 'I'd like to know my bal-'
"Tech support"
"You said 'other.'  Is that correct?"
"My mistake.  What is the nature of your prob-"
"Tech support"
"Okay, tech support.  Is this regarding a problem with a modem, disconnection-"
"Okay.  Many disconnection problems can be solved by....Did you try this before calling?"
(Pause)  "Please say 'yes' or 'no.'  Did you tr-"

I finally got transferred to a human, who talked so softly I told her I couldn't hear her.  She apologized and apparently adjusted her headset at the same time I turned up the volume on my phone full-blast, because then I heard, "Can yoU HEAR ME NOW???"  I could, explained my problem, and she told me I actually needed to speak with someone in accts. receivable, and transferred me.  I figured the whole office must have watched Mr. Rogers tapes over lunch, because every human I spoke to told me I was a very special customer and they were thrilled to have my business; this last woman oozed so much happiness and gratitude that sap started dripping from my phone.  I wanted to ask, "Seriously?  Have you seen my account record?" but I didn't.  The woman in a/r said I was the second call that afternoon about being disconnected, blamed it all on their system, said her manager was working on the problem, and I should be able to get back online in 30-45 minutes.  She was right!

Now I just have to call them one more time to cancel service for good when I move - I sure wasn't going to mention that until they'd reconnected me.

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