Azzcat Blast

Design stories & tips, peppered with life's little tidbits

Customer Service #Fail

March 5th, 2010

Fair warning…RANT! elements ahead…

Years ago, I wrote a high school paper on the Meat Boycott. My take-away lesson? That the individual consumer has economic power, which is wielded with the vote—or not—of consumer’s wallet. In other words, if you don’t like a company’s service, product, ethos…whatever…as a consumer, you have the power to vote NO!

Take Your Business Elsewhere*

Fast forward to 2010 and the adult world, where—for convenience, affordability, etc.—I will compromise. For example, though I aim for local/organic/in season groceries, coffee and bananas are never going to be local nor in season! I buy them because I desire them, keeping the kitchen stocked with these ‘essentials’. But I don’t buy bruised bananas or cheap coffee. If I cannot get quality, I do without and vote NO!

So it goes with groceries. Let’s move to service (or lack thereof).

How Do You Respond When Unhappy With Service?

Do you:

  1. complain to the provider?
  2. politely, but firmly explain the problem?
  3. seek out a manager?
  4. take notes/document?
  5. All of the above?

Do you vote NO! if you don’t get satisfaction? I do.**

As a service provider myself, that’s behavior I expect. Isn’t it…logical? Apparently, neither logic nor good service are part of the Verizon Wireless lexicon. !!Rant alert!!

Where Did Service Go?

I began Feb. 28 a happy (6 yr) customer intending to sign 3 two-yr contracts + purchase 3 phones. I had no intention of changing plan or fees—just sought new Qwerty phones (Samsung Alias 2) for texting teens. Read about mandatory data plans.

Happy texting teenPoor service changed my mind. Here’s what happened:

  1. I entered store intending to purchase 3 phones/sign 3 contracts.
  2. Plans had recently changed. Verizon said no go without minimum data plan.
  3. I complained in the store and left.
  4. Next day, I complained on the phone, working up phone tree to a supervisor  named Josh.
  5. Josh (after conferring with his supervisor) eventually agreed to my demands (phones, no data, no data charge).
  6. I took notes, repeating everything back to the supervisor—you know, to verify.
  7. Later that day, I returned to store (w/kids), ready to repeat step #1. Except that we repeated step #2, followed by step #3. Then…step #4—with a different supervisor—Brandon, who stated:
  • Josh was mistaken
  • Josh was new
  • Josh was not properly trained
  • Josh was not authorized
  • Josh was utterly and completely unavailable, unreachable.***

Josh was. Totally…UNtruthful.

The Verizon Supervisor Lied. Outright L.I.E.D.

Anyway, besides Verizon’s epic failure to be honest or even helpful (say with good customer service/compromise) they were epically stupid. Because we have the economic power of boycott for which Verizon will lose:

  • 3/5** of our family plan subscribers (~$50/mo. today, ~$175/mo. in 20 mos. or less**)
  • our business for other services: internet, landline & TV (~$160/mo.)
  • our kids as future customers. Sure, each one is a plan add-on today, but that’s short-term! At ages 20, 18, and 15—they’re not far from their own unlimited plans. (~$500+/mo.) Cha-ching!

Why? Because Verizon will not allow me a plan without a service I do not want and will not use—even on a phone I own. That, and because they lied.

We Vote NO! Verizon

Can you hear me now?

This rule does not necessarily apply to utilities, airlines, information media, and health insurance.
**May be subject to painful compromise, depending on contractual obligations.
About this, Verizon was completely honest.

4 Responses to “Customer Service #Fail”

Rebecca Wolford
March 5, 2010

Thank you for this post. I recently moved from my parents Sprint plan to my own Sprint plan. But while I was looking into plans I also looked at Verizon. I did want data coverage and while their phones were cheaper to buy for the most part their plans were not, and I also know that Sprint ha been very good to my parents as far as customer service at least recently.

I have in the past found that choosing a mobile carrier is more about choosing the lesser of evils than choosing the best.

March 5, 2010

True about customer service. Sprint did OK by your parents, therefore they’ve earned you as a customer.

You’re right about the lesser of evils, too. That’s how Verizon got my business in the first place…lousy service from AT&T.

The Mobile Carrier Vortex of Evil! bwouhahahahah!

Joseph McCullough
March 11, 2010

The idea of dollar votes is basic economic theory, but it is often extremely overlooked as well. The dollar vote that comes about from customer satisfaction is one of the best arguments against regulation of the industry. If people don’t like the standard of service, they move elsewhere, and industries that do not produce high quality products will die out, UNLESS of course the customer does not WANT high quality products. An example of this is the Ford Pinto: Ford openly admitted that the car could explode if rear ended, but it was so cheap that people were willing  to buy that risk. Good post Catherine, I’m now subscribed!