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Customer Service

The provision of service to customers before, during and after a purchase.

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A Quick Tip by Penelope11

  • Dec 1, 2011
  • by
I'm part of a monthly blog chain whose topic this month is "gifts from the heart." Right now it's hard for me to actually think of something pleasant in a gift as I have been trying to take care of a billing problem with Verizon. So this will be my gift for you of a warning of doing business with a mega company and the promises that they make and don't keep, and how you might resolve the "service" issues.

This is not lack of payment on my part, rather it's getting money back that is owed to me. When I discontinued my service with them, that stopped the "bundling" I had with them and Direct TV. When I made my final payment to them, which included my charges for Direct TV, they just took the money as full payment without sending the funds owed to Direct TV. I've heard it said that "medical practice" is the art of keeping the patient entertained until nature takes its course. I guess something similar could be said of "customer services" as the art of saying "we're sorry for your inconvenience" until they handle it in their predetermined corporate time frame which has no relation to your convenience.

Two months ago I was promised those funds. At that time it took 2 hours of calls to confirm that they did owe me money instead of me owing them. Last night it was another 2 hours of calls and being bounced around like a ping pong ball. Verizon would tell me I did indeed pay them including the charges for the TV service. Next I was transferred to Direct TV to clear up the problem. At which point I was told I owed the money as their records showed I didn't pay Verizon. My final call with Verizon ended with being told to call in the morning to a different department which was now closed. I confirmed with that rep the proper time to call with my time zone and I was assured I could call at 8:00 AM.

After 5 calls and 55 minutes I am coming to the end of my patience. I have been trying to get to the correct department which is financial services. However, when you call the number (that I have confirmed with 3 reps now as the correct number) it routes you to other departments. There is no other number for me to call. Two of the 3 reps told me I would just have to keep trying as they couldn't route me to the correct department. Two of my additional calls didn't even go through to a live person (even after saying "customer service") as when I went through their prompts the final automated response was "you're calling after hours, try again at another time." Don't you love those automated systems!

With my final call, here is what I learned...

1. The check would be in the mail (which I was promised last month) in about 2 weeks as part of my 2nd final bill. They only do this monthly and can't change or expedite the cycle.

2. They are not responsible for correcting the payment to Direct TV even though they were paid for it. I need to pay Direct TV myself even though it was part of my bundled bill paid through them.

3. Saying "we're sorry for your inconvenience" is merely a phrase to be said. It makes just as much sense as saying "thanks for choosing Verizon, we appreciate your business."

4. A service problem with a mega company can't be handled quickly. Their phone prompts will do all they can to prevent you from talking to someone. Once you input all their required info and you get someone "live" you will have to repeat it over and over to each person you are directed to in the call process, thus prolonging the call even more.

I guess I really shouldn't be surprised how bad the customer service is as it also started badly. When we originally signed with Verizon we did so as we were guaranteed we could get a DSL connection. After 3 weeks of numerous calls to tech support to attempt to fix the lack of service and 3 reps at our house to check our phone lines and computers, we were told that our location was in a "black hole" and the service couldn't be provided as it wasn't available.
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December 01, 2011
I have been there. DirecTV keeps sending me a bill for equipment I already mailed to them last year. I'm sorry you have to go through all this. Do they have an online chat system? It may channel you overseas but, generally I get my answer promptly. I would also send them this link in an email. I find that social media has a big impression on companies. Also, ask to talk to a manager ASAP. Agents really have no power to do anything and have stock answers or delay plans for everything. I hope some of this helps! Good luck getting your money back!
December 01, 2011
Each time I asked for a supervisor and was told I had to detail the whole story to them first to make sure I would be directly promptly. Then I was told none were available.
December 01, 2011
I would not repeat a darn word, state that you've already answered the prompts to get to this place and demand to speak to a supervisor. I wouldn't take that BS for an answer- none available?!? If they are forceful, bring in your social media guns. Try this: " I don't want to get angry or frustrated with you since I know you're just doing your job and you don't have any control or power over this situation. I'd like to talk to someone that can answer my problem and satisfy your customer service policy." If that doesn't work, "Just so you know, I've reported this entire experience on as many review sites as possible as well as my FB, Twitter, etc page. Next will be your FB page. After that, the BBB..." Somehow, the threat of a viral negative review works wonders for me! Next up, find a higher up's email address and write to them.
 
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review by . January 18, 2010
Expect nothing less than great customer service.
In the highly competitive world in which we live it simply makes no sense at all to deal with retailers, financial institutions or service providers who offer nothing less than top notch customer service.  There are just too many options out there to accept anything less.  SCORE or the SCORE Association was previously known as the Service Corps of Retired Executives.   SCORE is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides free business mentoring services to …
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Christine Henderson ()
Ranked #235
I am an avid reader and have always been. My picture shows just a few of my favorite books. They range from mysteries, political thrillers, science fiction (but only the classics like Asimov, Heinlein … more
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Wiki

According to Jamier L. Scott. (2002), “Customer service is a series of activities designed to enhance the level of customer satisfaction – that is, the feeling that a product or service has met the customer expectation."

Its importance varies by product, industry and customer; defective or broken merchandise can be exchanged/swapped, often only with a receipt and within a specified time frame. Retail stores will often have a desk or counter devoted to dealing with returns, exchanges and complaints, or will perform related functions at the point of sale.

Customer service may be provided by a person (e.g., sales and service representative), or by automated means called self-service. Examples of self service are Internet sites. The experience a customer has of a product also affect the total service experience, but this is more of a product direct feature than what is included in the definition of customer service.

Customer service is normally an integral part of a company’s customer value proposition. In their book Rules to Break and Laws to Follow, Don Peppers and Martha Rogers, Ph.D. write that "customers have memories. They will remember you, whether you remember them or not." Further, "customer trust can be destroyed at once by a major service problem, or it can be undermined one day at a time, with a thousand small demonstrations of incompetence."

From the point of view of an overall sales process engineering effort, customer...

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