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.


Geeze, all I wanted to do was buy a new phone and switch my wireless service provider

Update: I do not have my Qwest 20% discount. I have to go back in and have them upload my photo id yet again. Also I found out today that the word is that Verizon will be selling the new RIM Storm Blackberry beginning in 11/14. So my plan is to return my MOTO Q and get the new crackberry. VZW has a 30 day customer guarantee, no questions asked return policy. I however will let them know that I am returning the phone because I think that had I known the Storm release date was less than two weeks away I would have waited.

The Storm has a touch screen and looks like it will be very easy and cool to use. Much better than the tiny little keys I have on the MOTO.I spent over an hour in the Verizon Wireless store on Saturday. My only mistake was that I did not bring a copy of my current provider’s bill. How would I know that was needed? I did not need my bill when I ported my wireless # from AT&T to Qwest. That transaction was done over the phone. The sales person helping me could not get my order to go through. I must have given him the same information over and over at least 4 times. I really do not like to have to verbally give out my SSN. I mean there were people within two feet of me on both sides. I also ran into huge problems because as a Qwest employee I get a 20% discount off of the monthly Verizon plan charges. The rep had to scan my Qwest id photo to upload to my account information. He tried many times from two different computers and couldn’t get it to upload. He was asking for help from two other sales reps. Finally one of the other guys got my photo id to upload from his computer. Because I did not have my full account # with me the rep could not fully activate my account. He told me that I had to call the customer service department and give them my full account # so they could complete the activation. I was standing in the Verizon store for over an hour. I was so ready to sit down and put some ice on my knee but decided I deserved a late lunch out first. When I got home I called Verizon Wireless customer service and after three transfers got someone who could help me, well sort of. He had to take all of my information over again. Then he transferred me to someone in their credit department who needed to set up some security questions regarding my credit history. I was so ticked off by this time that I almost told them to F it and cancel my service request. Meanwhile I got a call from the sales rep at the store who wanted to know why my service wasn’t activated yet. Well, duh it was your problem to begin with. I told him I was on another phone with Verizon customer service. He, I am sure was worried that his sale had not completed (sales compensation) and he asked me to come back into the store so he could try to finish the transaction. Sorry, I said that is not going to happen!
Finally a couple of hours later my service was initiated and I now have Verizon Wireless service. I still am doubtful if I have the 20% Qwest employee discount on my account. That will be a follow up question with the sales rep when I go back in later in the week to have them synch my Bluetooth headset to the phone.
I already do really like the smart phone that I bought. Believe me I have spent much time already programming it and still have more to do. I have unlimited text messaging and can synch to up to 6 email accounts. I have only two email accounts but it will be nice to have both my work and personal email available to me on my phone. My next to do is to get some cool ringtones so I can differentiate callers. I already found that I can buy Gone With the Wind’s Tara’s song for my daughter Tara’s in coming calls.