Saturday, February 23, 2008

Consumer From You-Know-Where

As I mentioned yesterday, I've been having service issues that put me in a pattern of behavior of which I'm not proud. I call about my problem, get frustrated to the point of lashing out, then apologize because it's not their fault their company sucks, and praise their calm in the face of my bitchiness. Here's a sampling:

Problem: They keep sending messages over the phone line that our DVR is not activated, even though the TiVo has been recording consistently and every time I call (at least 6 times now), the response is "That's odd, we don't know why." Last weekend, we had about 15 messages. So I called again.

Sample Exchange:
Guy: It sounds like your box is going bad.
Me: So we need a new box.
Guy: Yeah. Now, we don't do TiVo anymore, but our DVR is the same thing.
Me: No, it's not the same thing, and I hear it sucks. I like TiVo.

None to the problem, but the CSR who transferred me to tech support said she'd give us a $5 per month credit for a year.

Problem: At some point Sunday afternoon, our Verizon-supplied wireless router to connect us all to our wonderful FiOS service went dead. Almost dead. There was a faint glow in two of the lights, but not the power light. The rep ran me through a series of very inconvenient but necessary steps until he said, "Yep, router's dead. You need a new one."

Sample Exchange:
Him: We can send you a new router, but unfortunately you'll have to buy it. If you had FiOS TV we could send you one for free.
Me: You don't have FiOS TV available here, unless that's changed.
Him: *pause* You're right, we don't.
Me: So that's not a very useful offer, is it?

Him: You can buy any router, though.
Me: So despite your dire threats when we subscribed about never using a non-Verizon router, even though our old router had better security and a stronger signal, you're telling me I can just use any old thing.
Him: Uh...yep.

Resolution: None from them. We couldn't find our old router, so I used a $25 coupon I had from Staples and bought a new one that I can include as a business expense on my taxes (since I communicate with all my nonfiction and editing clients online) and is, yes, faster and more secure than the old router.

Problem: Using Sheetz's touch-screen ordering system, I ordered a 20 oz. dark chocolate mocha and two hash browns. I went and paid. I came back, and no one was doing s*** to make my order. Three people stood toward the back having a little staff meeting. The basket was in the deep-fryer. The "drink order! drink order!" alarm had screamed when I first put it in. But when the little meeting was done, no one went to the food-making area.

Sample Exchanges:
Me (to woman who came around the counter): Uh, is anyone gonna make my order?
Her (to woman behind the counter who'd lifted the hash browns): Hey, is there an order up?
Other her: No.
Me: There should be, I put one in. (said in acerbic tone)

(A few minutes later)
Original Her (back behind the counter, to drink-making her): Are these hash browns even for someone?
Me: Uh, yeah. They're mine.

Drink-making her was very apologetic and sweet and hurried to make the drink. One of the guys (presumably making his own drink so he could hang around in the back making people like me angry becaues they're not doing anything--here's a tip: If you go on break, leave the area) had been making a drink and she thought he was making the order and had forgotten to hit the button to take it off. So she did it for him, because they get penalized when orders are up too long. Now, since she was very nice and worked hard to rectify it, and apologized about the hash browns, too, while the buffoon who bagged them glared at me balefully, I didn't tell her to next time ASK if he was making that order before she took it off the machine.

It takes a lot to move me to call anyone, and if it involves a problem where I think a confrontation might occur, I'll put it off or try to resolve the situation another way. But once I get into it, I'm no retiring mouse. I don't like being nasty, and the people I've had to deal with have handled me very well, demonstrating an upsurge in customer service skill and ability overall.

I just wish the frickin' companies they work for would put quality first so I don't have to even go there.

In case you're wondering,the decision on the TiVo is to nurse the box along (it loses connection to the satellite and has to be reset, sometimes more than once a day, sometimes not for weeks) until summer, when there is much less on TV to record and I can stomach losing the shows I've already recorded (that's a fib, there's no way I can stomach losing Supernatural for three months). I'll be researching our options for late summer/early fall to hopefully have a solution in place before football season.

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