I remember an article on tech from a decade ago that was titled, “Why Can’t it Work Like a Refrigerator,” or something to that effect. The gist of the column was how difficult getting a new computer up and running was…a PC in that case. The writer wished he could simply plug it in, like his refrigerator, and have it work. With Social Media today and all the new technology, this problem has only gotten worse. Add little-to-no decent Customer Service to the mix and we’re living a sort of tech-hell.
Ever time I buy a new tech device, I go through the same routine. I get excited at first upon the purchase. I place the boxed device – often encased in impregnable plastic – on my desk. I admire it for a week or more. I think about opening it. Nah. I wait. When I finally do open it I ultimately run into one problem or another that either the non-existent manual doesn’t explain or that requires calling for assistance in reply to the sticker that says, “Please call this number before returning…”
Then I go through a hideous unclear list of voice-menu options and, on rare occasion, I get put through to someone who actually helps. The only exception to this experience has been with Apple products and I continue to praise the day I switched from PC to Mac for all my computer needs.
Let’s talk utilities now. I’d rather not, but let’s. They used to be monopolies like AT&T. Those were broken up and everything got even worse in the ensuing confusion. Enter cable and the Internet and “bundles.” Long gone are the days of TV antennae! Now, we have to get our TV via satellite or cable, the same for Internet, and we have that option as well for a landline phone. One word: UGH.
We bought a home in Park City, Utah and I tried to “work” with Comcast, the major provider for these services in the area. The number of wasted hours on the phone with ultimately NO RESULT finally prompted me to cancel it all with them. I, of course, had to return the equipment to their local store which was closed the first two times I went there even though their posted hours indicated they should’ve been open.
I switch to Dish. Slightly better, at first. BUT, my bundle with Internet means they use an outside vendor to do the Internet for them. From DAY ONE, it is inconsistent. Indiscriminately the line/internet goes dead. I unplug the modem, plug it back in, and usually it then works. Not OKAY.
Calls and calls later and after a new modem is sent that still does the same thing, they tell me it MUST be the wiring in my home. I KNOW it’s not but I agree to HIRE an electrician to check the lines. The electrician comes and my lines are JUST FINE.
I’m done with Dish and my Internet. They do seem capable of providing our television service so I’m going to stick with that, for now.
I’ve arranged for another Internet provider that is specifically just that – an Internet provider – to set me up this coming week. Then, I will call Dish and find out how to return their two modems and CANCEL the Internet part of my service.
I dread that call and the B.S. that they’ll tell me, the excuses they’ll give, and the extra charges I’ll have to fight and the PainInTheA** I’ll probably have to go through to return their modems. The last time I wrote a column like this – about Time Warner – I got a call the day it was published from their head office. I spoke with an English-speaking college-educated adult. They fixed my problem and told me that they just found a new lower rate for my services. What a lovely coincidence?
Time-Warner has been perfect ever since. Is this the ONLY way we can get respectable customer service? And, what about those who don’t have a large enough “platform” to get their attention? You know the answer…they’re screwed!
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