I know I’m old when I really get nostalgic about so many things. Top of the list is good customer service. Yes, I remember when uniformed gas station attendants cheerfully came out and offered to fill your tank, check your oil and tire pressure, AND clean your windshield. Yes, I remember going into a shoe store where a man in a suit would come out and offer to help. AND, he actually was a professional who knew all about EVERY shoe in the store and took pride in being a GREAT shoe salesman.
The list goes on and on. Today it’s slightly different.
Now, I think there is NO customer service. Gas stations are all self-serve and, if you can even find papers towels and squeegees, you have to clean your windshield yourself. Forget getting air for your tires. Shoe salesmen (or women) today? Heck, you can’t find ANY sales-person in most department stores.
Waxing nostalgic, I also remember being able to pick up my rotary telephone and speak directly to a customer service representative at ANY company I wanted to contact. I remember being courteously spoken to with a “Mister” in front of my name. Boy, am I old.
We all have OUR litany of complaints about the lack of customer service today. I want to highlight one company to get my medal of distinction for incredibly LOUSY service – Version Wireless.
My final issues with Verizon began, ironically, during the recent Winter Olympics. I received a bill that was impossible to understand and way over what it should have been. I tried repeatedly to get a customer service rep on the phone. I pressed every prompt and then pressed another and another only to get a recording that there was a wait-time.
During this wait-time, I watched the myriad of Verizon commercials splashed on the tube during the Winter Olympics. I wondered how much just ONE of those commercials cost while they were clearly short-handed with people to actually help customers.
Eventually, I got a “live” person who directed me to another “live” person in another department who directed me to another department who put me on hold and then I was disconnected. This occurred several times. You must understand that Verizon is a very busy company and my time is of no interest to them. I can wait, hold, be disconnected, and there is NO consequence.
Finally, I got a representative who said they would help explain my bill. She was polite and put me on hold several times. And, I wasn’t even disconnected during those “holds” though I was tortured with all those Verizon commercials making false promises. She did return. She said she couldn’t figure out the bill and was as confused as I was.
She asked if she could do more research and that she’d call me back later that day. I gave her my number. I never heard from her or ANYONE at Verizon again.
I tried a couple more times again. I gave up. I went to another provider, cancelled my Verizon service, and waited for my final bill.
Months later, I received a “wake-up” call at 6:15 a.m. from a disembodied robotic voice claiming I was past-due on my Verizon bill and threatening “collection” if I didn’t call a certain number and punch in a certain code.
Normally, I will fight these things but I just didn’t have the time or energy so I called the number. After pressing the prompts AND that number, I was given NO choice to speak to a rep but given a choice to pay the bill via automatic billing. I tried to do that. Several times. Every time I pressed the prompt to pay, I was put on nether-land hold and eventually disconnected.
I then tried to reach Verizon customer service. You know what happened. I got one department saying I needed to speak to another department and the merry-go-round went round and round.
Ultimately, I paid OFF the bill in full. No one had authorization to discuss a “settlement” in light of my horrid experiences and no one apparently is given ANY authority to talk to a customer and try and solve a problem. They all work from a script. They are all polite and sound not much different from that robotic voice that woke me up that morning.
It’s sad. I’m DONE with Verizon. I suggest that you don’t even start.
Next time, we’ll tell you about Oceania Cruises – a peach of a company that believes in the motto “Penny Wise, Pound FOOLISH!”