By Bonnie Hutchinson
Revenge of the “on hold” people
This column has a long preamble to two short happy stories and something that made me laugh.
The preamble. I have for months been putting off a phone call to a phone and internet company to tell them I’d like to receive my statements online instead of in the mail.
I tried to set that up using the link the company provided, but I can’t make their link work.
This is the same company that, every time I want to set up an automatic email message saying I’ll be away until a certain date, has a system I can’t seem to make work.
Every time I have phoned about that problem, they walk me through the instructions and then they, too, run into the same problem I do. Sometimes the technical person is able to set it up manually, and sometimes even that doesn’t work.
This should be a five-minute task, max. Last time I wanted to set up the automatic message, I invested an hour and quarter waiting on hold and eventually talking to a technical helper who had a hard time figuring out how to work around the problem I’d encountered.
Apologetically he explained that, “Our technical people are working on it.” If they are, I haven’t noticed. I’ve been encountering the same problem for more than a year.
My heart sinks every time I think about having to phone that company, because I’ve never yet been able to get through to a human being in less than 15 minutes. Sometimes (when the problem was such that I had to wait until I could get through), I’ve waited for 45 minutes.
At least they no longer have a message that says, “You call is important to us…” which is clearly not true. If my call was important to them, they’d answer. They still have the message that says, “We’re experiencing unusually high call volumes,” which is also clearly not true. If it was unusual, I wouldn’t always have to wait so long.
Grump, grump, grump.
Last time I was waiting and waiting, my grown-up mind pointed out to me that my grumpiness doesn’t change a thing about the situation except to make me feel worse. That was a useful train of thought. I set myself the challenge of being as “Zen” as I could. So at least the company is perhaps helping me build character.
All this is a preamble to two happy stories and something that made me laugh.
Yesterday I had to phone a credit union and a phone company (a different phone company). I dreaded both calls, not because they were difficult, but because I expected to have to wait a long time to speak with a person. I chose to make the calls at a time when, if necessary, I could take half an hour.
The first call was to the credit union. They answered immediately, I explained what I wanted, they handled it right then, and the call was done in less than five minutes. Wow!
The second call was to the phone company. Again, someone answered right away, I explained what I wanted and they handled it immediately. Wow Wow!
The two calls combined took less than 10 minutes. How wonderful to have my time respected by not one but two large companies. I felt a bit discombobulated!
And here’s what made me laugh, just a few minutes later. I read an article about how customers are using social media to get back at companies who provide bad service or products. The article included a Twitter post from one of my old heartthrobs – Patrick Stewart, who played Captain Jean Luc Picard of the Federation Starship Enterprise.
He wished to set up a new Time Warner Cable account and met with long wait times, disconnects, forwards, call backs and more. He posted this tweet:
“All I wanted to do was set up a new account with @TWCable_NYC but 36 hours later I’ve lost the will to live.”
I’m still laughing.
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