You call that “Customer Service”?

Yesterday I had the opportunity to experience two very different levels of customer service.  The title of this post applies to the 1st of those two experiences.

  1. I wanted to renew my RCI Points for three years.
  2. Update my credit card information that is on record with Medco for my mail order prescriptions

 

My first call was to RCI’s special Worldmark owner’s line. The customer service agent either must have been new to the job or just incompetent. I speak very slowly when I am giving someone pertinent information over the phone. In fact there is ample time should the agent need to write it down then enter it into the computer. This agent had to have everything repeated at least three times. My name, my member number, my address to verify it was my account and finally my credit card number. At one point he said he would be right back and put me on hold. I waited for several minutes before he came back. I would have hung up and started over if I knew how agonizingly S L O W this call was going to be. Anyway, he comes back on the line and once again I had to repeat everything for him. No apologies from him. Finally he got into my account and AGAIN I needed to repeat everything. I gave him the required info and my credit card number. He completed the renewal transaction, which only took about 1 minute of the 19 minute call.

 

My second call was to Medco. The only number I had for them was the prescription refill number. It took me a couple of tries to get out of the automated phone system. The agent answered the call, gave me his name and thanked me for calling. I explained to him that I just needed to update my credit card info with the new expiration date. Ernesto (see I even remembered his name) said that he would need to transfer me to member services. He got a member service agent on the line and now David (I remembered his name too) was able to update my account with the new credit card info. It took David only seconds to complete this task. David mentioned that he noticed that I had an outstanding balance on my refill account and asked if I wanted to pay it with the credit card I just updated. I did and David completed the payment transaction and asked me if there was anything else he could help me with. I told him no and thanked him. David said “I thank you for calling Medco”. This call only took 6 minutes even with getting out of the automated system, telling the first agent what I needed and being transferred to David.

 

The moral of this story is that a bad customer service experience usually sticks in someone’s mind much longer than a good customer service experience does. However, in this case I couldn’t tell you what the RCI agent’s name was but I remembered the two very polite, friendly and professional Medco agent’s names.

 

Pretty much my whole working life I worked in jobs that were in some way involved with customer service.  When I trained new sales reps at Qwest I told them it was OK to say they were new and would check on something then get back to their customer if needed. Often I was the person they would come to check on what they needed to provide their customer. I always told them that I would rather have them come to me and ask or verify than to give a customer incorrect information. There was nothing worse than trying to clean up after a rep that left the company and didn’t leave a file or notes of what was done on an account.

 

Unfortunately in many organizations customer service has become second to the speed of getting the customer off of the line or the task completed. I truly believe that you can give good customer service while improving efficiencies and handling customers in a friendly yet professional manner.

 

Read more about this topic on Trauma the Drama’s blog titled Another bitch about the lost art of customer service.

 

Corporate changes but I’m OK with them

So I started my morning as usual today. Got up, checked personal email, Facebook, a few blogs and then company email. Imagine my surprise at 4:30AM to see an email that came in at 4:13AM from the Qwest CEO, the company I work for announcing a merger. This merger is with CenturyLink (Century Tel) and is expected to have all approvals and complete in the 1st quarter of 2011.

The business unit that I work in, Business Markets Group will remain intact. That was a stipulation of the merger negotiations. That means that BMG retains our headquarters in Denver (not Monroe, LA) and the EVP who runs the unit today stays. BMG is the revenue machine of Qwest. CenturyLink is primarily a consumer and small business provider. They have a small sales group like BMG.

Others in the company that may have duplication of work are most likely those at the upper management levels. Two CEOs, CFOs, head of legal, etc. will be the ones who will be affected. Not those of us in the trenches who do the work and bring in the new revenue.

So once this merger has completed I will be able to say that I have worked for 4 companies and never had to move, change jobs or lost vacation (actually I gained 2 weeks with the last merger) in 33 years. In fact, I work in the same building that I started in back in 1977. I have worked in 4 different buildings but all downtown Portland.

CenturyLink merged with Qwest Communications in a deal Thursday morning that is one of the largest telecommunications deals in the United States. The transaction is estimated to generate over $625 Million over a 3 to 5 year period following the transaction.

Qwest, a leader in voice, network, and data fiber-optic services for businesses, agreed to merge with CenturyLink (CenturyTel, Inc.) in an all stock deal in which CenturyLink’s shareholders will own 50.5 percent of stock in the company to Qwest shareholder’s 49.5 percent.  CenturyLink is a chief provider of video, voice, and broadband communications services to residential and business consumers. The company reported 2009 revenues totaling $19.8 Billion

The new corporate buzzword – Viral Marketing

I never thought that the 100+ corporation that I work for would become a modern, hip company. The latest trend in marketing has come to my company. We are on Twitter, have a channel on Viddler, a Facebook page and now have an imaginary Facebook friend.

Here’s what my friend said when she suggested I add this friend “Hello all,
I run our National Events program at my company and this year at Interop Las Vegas (huge IT trade show), we are doing a rocker spoof on an 80’s hair band. His name: Johnny Lee Ross, legendary front man of Twisted Riot. We’ve created a profile on FB for him to do some viral marketing and we need him to look like he has alot of fans… if you could find it in your heart to accept the friend suggestion, it’d be greatly appreciated!”

So being a good corporate citizen I accepted the friend request and now have an imaginary 80’s rocker as a friend. Crazy, huh?

From Wikipedia:

The buzzwords viral marketing and viral advertising refer to marketing techniques that use pre-existing social networks to produce increases in brand awareness or to achieve other marketing objectives (such as product sales) through self-replicating viral processes, analogous to the spread of pathological and computer viruses. It can be word-of-mouth delivered or enhanced by the network effects of the Internet.

Blogging from phone

Just another way to use a smartphone. What will “they” think of next?

Testing adding a post from my email

I just discovered this WordPress feature. I can add a blog post from my email. I am not sure when I would do that. I suppose that I could from my phone since I can access my email account from there.

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i'm EMAILING FOR THE GREATER GOOD
Join me

Easy to learn, Easy to work, Easy to play

That is what Asus says about the little mini laptop, the Asus Eee 1000H N280. I ordered it last Sunday from Amazon and it arrived on Wednesday. That was super fast!

It is the perfect size for when I travel on vacation. I can check my email, read blogs, find things to do in the areas that I visit, etc.

I will be taking it on my next trip to Isla Mujeres. I already know all of the restaurants that provide free wireless internet access. I am hoping that the restaurant just a couple of doors down from where I stay has a strong enough wireless signal that I can connect to it from my hotel room. I eat breakfast at that restaurant 3 out of every 5 days anyway so I wouldn’t feel like I am stealing their internet. It will be nice to go have a drink in the evening and get on line while waiting for dinner at some of the other places that have wireless access.I hear that the new Cafe Mogagua is a great place to sit, relax and people watch while accessing the internet. I have not heard great things about their breakfasts though and only mixed reviews about dinner. But I have heard great things about their banos. That is an important thing to know when traveling in Mexico.

I took Tara her mini laptop today and she was thrilled but at the same time disappointed because she says now Kelly will never get off of the computer. He is a gamer and a computer hog.

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Hhmm, maybe they ought to consider changing their name

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This is what I was greeted with when I came online this afternoon to check my email. Nice cheerful news, right? NOT!

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Maybe I will just check my email from my smartphone.