After owning an iPhone for about three weeks, I got my first AT&T bill. There was a section on it I didn’t understand, and the idea of calling customer service made me want to reach for a hot iron to press against my ear instead. I hate calling customer service of any kind, and almost any
torture is better than dealing with a mobile phone company’s customer service. I hate their fake, made-up, Americanized names they use to make us think we are understood; I hate the script they read, regardless of your answers; I hate not having my problem solved. My prior experience has been with Verizon, who softens you up by letting you sit on hold and then lets you deal with arrogant, untrained people. At least, that’s what happened to me time and time again. My favorite example is a bill Verizon sent me, for more than $200. I had proof that I was on the landline, speaking to a client, at the time they had me talking on my cell phone. They refused to even consider checking into the error, and told me the equivalent of “Pay or we’ll terminate your service.” Their words were, “Verizon doesn’t make mistakes.”
Which brings me to my call to AT&T. True, I did have to listen to menus and choose, but a recording told me I would have to wait one minute (nice touch, no matter how long the wait) and in less than a minute a customer service person identified himself by name. Another nice touch. I like to call people by name. He listened to my question, and asked a clarifying question to know how to answer. Then he explained the answer in simple English. No jargon, no sounding like a police report (“The vehicle was pursued by officers until the male suspect was apprehended.” instead of “The police chased the car and caught the man.”)
Within a minute I had my question answered, and then he asked, “Is there anything else I can do for you today?” Yes. Pick my jaw off the floor. A pleasant experience from customer service.
I thanked him and hung up and realized I’d spoken to a well-trained customer service rep. I should have hung up on Verizon years ago.
–Quinn McDonald is a writer and communications trainer. See her work at QuinnCreative.com (c) 2007. All rights reserved.