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The Most frustrating thing about calling customer service.

The Most frustrating thing about calling customer service.

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Contributor SoCalDon
Contributor
Posts: 7
Registered: ‎03-26-2009
Message 11 of 28
(17,216 Views)

1)  I kinda didn't write "1 second," but nice try at the exaggeration.

2)  Speaking as someone who's created a lot of computer software, and provided customer service for it, I've filled my software with code to detect and report problems, every step of the way.  Thus, if a customer ever contacted me with a problem (and maybe even provided me with an error code), and provided sufficient description of the circumstances, I could find it and solve it very quickly.  A new version of the software would be produced within 24 hours.  And in very short order, the product would be completely bug-free.  As for problems caused by the end-user, after providing tech support for a few years, I could figure out what the problem was very quickly, even if the customer had very poor communication skills.

3)  I've also worked with hardware, and that is a bit different, because unlike software, hardware wears out and needs to be replaced.  Regardless, when you're talking about a mega-huge company like Verizon, they can afford to buy top-quality electronic devices, and (similar to my software techniques) fill the system with sensors and redundancy, to detect, bypass, reroute, etc., circuits, as well as to instantly identify problems in the system.  All it takes is the foresight, extra thought, effort, and investment, to set it up that way in advance.

 

Regardless, the larger point has to do with customer service, and "wow-ing" the customer (IF that's the goal).  Dump the dang phone tree, dump the need for the customer to explain the same dang thing 3-4 times to 3-4 different people, dump the hyper-silly marketing style rhetoric, stop treating the customer as if his time is worth nothing (but Verizon's time is extremely valuable), and just be plain, simple, straight-forward, and human.  Answer the phone, talk to the customers, and if you don't know what the problem is, then just say so.  Most of us will understand.   Really.  And then get to work to solve the problem.  We're paying for a service, and it typically is a very important service to our daily lives (phone, cell phone, internet).  The wow-factor will be in how fast problems are solved and how few of them there are, and how much of our time and stress-level is taken up with helping them solve it.

Contributor rhazzon
Contributor
Posts: 8
Registered: ‎04-07-2009
Message 12 of 28
(17,208 Views)

I think there are several shortcomings in the design of the customer service experience that Verizon provides.  The most significant is not providing a means for a customer to escalate a complaint past a CSR.

 

I believe the phone tree is burdonsome to the consumer.  How about providing separate numbers for different groups.  I've used over ten different phone numbers provided by Verizon and they all wind up routing to the same place.  The only number I've found that truly goes to a specific group is the IOBI department.  These CSR's are really on the ball too.

 

  1. Too many products for one person to deal with.  Whether sales reps or techs, there are far too many products for one person to deal with.  I think there should be separate groups for specific products.  I tried having Voicemail notifications sent to my Verizon Wireless phone, a product specified in their voice mail product manual.  One rep said it would have to be ordered through Verizon Wireless, another said it wasn't available, yet another told me it could be set up via my voice mail box options.  I finally spoke with someone who was familiar with it and submitted the order.  Three days and six hours worth of phone calls to resolve this.
  2. Who fixes problems?  I had a problem and the CSR said he didn't know what to tell me because the situation was a result of a problem with their system.  He had no means of escalating it, nor did he have someone to notify of the problem.  I asked what to do next and he said he didn't know.  THIS IS A PROBLEM!  If your reps cannot resolve a problem they should have a clear means of escalating an issue.  Management should be available to review these problems and move them to the proper departments for resolutions.  I ordered Voicemail service via the website.  Two days later the order was completed and no voicemail.  Placed the order again, two days later no voicemail.  Finally spoke with IOBI department who got a senior tech on the line and they found the problem.  The web ordering computer was generating the wrong order codes.  They pushed the correct codes manually and it finally went through.  I finally had voicemail, it just refused to answer the phone.  A CSR took the initiative and placed a call to an engineer in the voicemail dept who had to manually reset the account for it to work.  This order took nearly three weeks, over fifteen phone calls, and well over eight total hours on the phone.
  3. Update your systems Verizon.  I ordered CallAssistant and received an email that the order was being processed.  Two days later I received an automated email from Verizon IOBI that my account was ready and needed to be activated.  I clicked the link in the email and the servers were down.  The next day I tried again and the servers were up and running.  I tried activating the account, but it refused to allow me access.  I called the IOBI department and they told me that the IOBI service was no longer being offered and it was replaced by CallAssistant.  They said I should have never received that email.  Things happen, I understand.  But they should be dealt with when the problem is noticed.  Two days later I received another of the same IOBI emails due to a change in the voicemail setup.  I suspect that it won't get fixed for quite some time.

I cringe at the thought of calling Verizon for anything.  Each call is always a multi-hour nightmare.  And every call has resulted in something else being broken due to the method used to resolve the original issue.  I truly love the FIOS service and field techs have been wonderful.  It's the call centers that need a serious overhaul.  The problem is that Verizon does not seem to care.  If they did they would offer a venue for customers to voice their complaints.  They don't.  Or at least they don't advertise it.  I don't know what it is going to take to get the corporate attention these problems deserve.  In the mean time contact your local Public Utilities Commision for your state as well as the Better Business Bureau.  Also, if you have a local board within your town/city, feel free to contact them as well.

 

I've actually been thinking about setting up a website for customers to post their complaints in an effort to get corporate attention from Verizon.  Should I decide to follow through with this I'll be sure to post the address here for others to participate.

 

Silver Contributor I
Silver Contributor I
Posts: 417
Registered: ‎03-17-2009
Message 13 of 28
(17,212 Views)

socal,

 

My exaggeration is intended to demonstrate the intense over-assumption that Customer service can fix any problem any time without getting familiar with your issue.

 

 

 

You can say it all you want, but the true intent and purpose of an IVR is to solve an issue and recommend options prior to getting you to a live operator, thus reducing hold time for everyone. Either way,  and in the case you need to speak to a live operator, you can always get put on hold for an operator by pressing 0, seeing as how it's required by law to have an immediate way to get to an operator, but its also the companys right to keep the option in silent. Customer service is a service not always guaranteed solution, and oddly enough MOST issues originate with the user that's calling customer service to begin with.

 

Not to say I don't agree with the plight of those that get treated poorly. I'm in no way saying this doesn't happen. But there are definite ways to avoid it. I find the best thing to do is get your thoughts straight on what the issue is that prompted your calling Customer Service, getting your bills together and calling in at that point. Calling in upset without a clear idea of how to explain it to someone that's never talked to you before will only end in frustration, and the inevitible service rep who doesn't know what you're talking about and then transfers you.

 

Message Edited by SMRyan on 04-11-2009 12:51 PM
--Never forget to unleash the fury of caps lock.
Contributor SoCalDon
Contributor
Posts: 7
Registered: ‎03-26-2009
Message 14 of 28
(17,140 Views)

My exaggeration is intended to demonstrate the intense over-assumption that Customer service can fix any problem any time without getting familiar with your issue.

 

O.k., well, I don't know how you got that from anything I wrote.  My short dramatization for how to "wow" the customer (something which, apparently, customer service reps are instructed to do) simply implied that the way to "wow" is with solutions, as quickly and painlessly as possible.  Everyone I know of -- everyone -- finds Verizon's customer service to be a form of time-consuming torture.  And I repeat, I have performed customer service, for my own customers, for products I created.  I fully understand the need to attain essential info. from the customer.  But if I had asked the customer to explain the problem three to four times.  And tied him up for hours.  And made him go through a phone tree, answering questions each time he called.  And had him perform a lot of steps which presumes he's an idiot, no matter how much he displays that he knows what he's doing.  And..., then my customers would be some mighty unhappy campers, and rightly so.

 

As for the IVR reducing hold times, nonsense.  It does no such thing.  What it does, is reduce the number of people that Verizon needs to pay, by forcing customers to interact with a lengthy and tedious computer program, rather than human beings.  More customer service reps = reduced hold times.  I'll add, that I don't mind SHORT IVRs, as in, about 3 options when you first call, and then that's it.  What Verizon's IVR "says" to customers, is "we really really really do NOT want to talk to you.  REALLY!  PLEASE, try to use this computer system to find what you need to know, and then leave.  But, sigh, if you really want to talk to a live person, then answer a few more questions, and then, sigh, we'll connect you, you troublesome customer, you.  Sigh.  But thank you for your call, which is VERY valuable to us!  Have a great day!!!"

 

 As for "most problems originate with the customer" I don't doubt that.  But that's all the more reason to have a sophisticated system of inner checks and analyses, to be able to quickly determine if the problem is on Verizon's end.  If it can be determined that it is a Verizon problem, then it's a waste of time and effort (and a bit insulting, sometimes) to force the customer to verify that he hasn't fouled things up somehow, before proceeding to check on Verizon's end of it.  What's more, after tracking down problems millions of times, eventually patterns are seen, even in customer-caused problems, and so even they can be quickly deduced and solved.  Every home and business could/should even have some little gadgets installed, which can provide an analysis of the situation on the customer's end of it.  Maybe even relay that info. back to Verizon, without the customer even saying anything (it's already tied in with a phone line, and so there already is a pathway to transmit the info.).

 

Ryan, it should be clear, that a lot of people are having difficulty with Verizon's customer service.  Even though you empathize with "being treated poorly" sometimes, I don't see it as being a byproduct of the customer being unprepared, or irritable (I never am, because I realize the reps. aren't personally responsible), or an occasional bad apple customer service rep. (on the contrary, the customer service reps always seem very pleasant, upbeat, and trying their best).  It's the system, as designed by Verizon.

Bronze Contributor II
Bronze Contributor II
Posts: 364
Registered: ‎03-21-2009
Message 15 of 28
(17,135 Views)

@SoCalDon wrote:

My exaggeration is intended to demonstrate the intense overestimation that Customer service can fix any problem any time without getting familiar with your issue.

 

O.k., well, I don't know how you got that from anything I wrote.  My short determination for how to "wow" the customer (something which, apparently, customer service reps are instructed to do) simply implied that the way to "wow" is with solutions, as quickly and painlessly as possible.  Everyone I know of -- everyone -- finds Verizon's customer service to be a form of dimensioning torture.  And I repeat, I have performed customer service, for my own customers, for products I created.  I fully understand the need to attain essential info. From the customer.  But if I had asked the customer to explain the problem three to four times.  And tied him up for hours.  And made him go through a phone tree, answering questions each time he called.  And had him perform a lot of steps which presumes he's an idiot, no matter how much he displays that he knows what he's doing.  And..., then my customers would be some mighty unhappy campers, and rightly so.

 

As for the IVR reducing hold times, nonsense.  It does no such thing.  What it does, is reduce the number of people that Verizon needs to pay, by forcing customers to interact with a lengthy and tedious computer program, rather than human beings.  More customer service reps = reduced hold times.  I'll add, that I don't mind SHORT IVR, as in, about 3 options when you first call, and then that's it.  What Verizon's IVR "says" to customers, is "we really really really do NOT want to talk to you.  REALLY!  PLEASE, try to use this computer system to find what you need to know, and then leave.  But, sigh, if you really want to talk to a live person, then answer a few more questions, and then, sigh, we'll connect you, you troublesome customer, you.  Sigh.  But thank you for your call, which is VERY valuable to us!  Have a great day!!!"

 

 As for "most problems originate with the customer" I don't doubt that.  But that's all the more reason to have a sophisticated system of inner checks and analyses, to be able to quickly determine if the problem is on Verizon's end.  If it can be determined that it is a Verizon problem, then it's a waste of time and effort (and a bit insulting, sometimes) to force the customer to verify that he hasn't fouled things up somehow, before proceeding to check on Verizon's end of it.  What's more, after tracking down problems millions of times, eventually patterns are seen, even in customer-caused problems, and so even they can be quickly deduced and solved.  Every home and business could/should even have some little gadgets installed, which can provide an analysis of the situation on the customer's end of it.  Maybe even relay that info. back to Verizon, without the customer even saying anything (it's already tied in with a phone line, and so there already is a pathway to transmit the info.).

 

Ryan, it should be clear, that a lot of people are having difficulty with Verizon's customer service.  Even though you empathetic with "being treated poorly" sometimes, I don't see it as being a byproduct of the customer being unprepared, or irritable (I never am, because I realize the reps. Aren't personally responsible), or an occasional bad apple customer service rep. (on the contrary, the customer service reps always seem very pleasant, upbeat, and trying their best).  It's the system, as designed by Verizon.


The Verizon IVR system is flawed, I will agree to that. It is designed to reduce the number of 'live' calls VZ has to take on a daily basis. But that is not saying they don't wan to talk to you.  Its there for simple troubleshooting to eliminate a lot of the human error and easy stuff to fix. VZ and VZW are making a very big push for customers to take advantage of their Self-Serve options. It allows VZ to invest in expanding their network and bring new customers in and upgrade their existing services w/ the money they save. It costs VZ/VZW on average $8.00 per live call, if they can reduce the number of live calls they take, the more money they can save. 

 

I personally hate calling VZ services due to the IVR and the fact their customer support is not open that often. Most of the time I just say operator or technical support until I talk to a live rep. I'm pretty technically savvy so I really don't need the prompts and annoying computer 'trying' to resolve my issue. On the other hand, I find VZW's IVRs easy to navigate and pretty straight forward. I hope that VZ can adopt some of VZW's IVR systems to make them more user friendly.

 

But, I will not sit here and bash on VZ. They do their best to assist customers on a daily basis. The point Ryan is trying to make by reduced hold times is that the system can solve some of the common problems w/o ever having to talk to a live rep.

 

I think that we live in a society that wants everything right now and doesn't want to wait at all. Exuding a little patience would go a long way.

Message Edited by garetjaxthemise on 04-11-2009 10:39 PM
**Cheers**
Contributor SoCalDon
Contributor
Posts: 7
Registered: ‎03-26-2009
Message 16 of 28
(17,134 Views)

I think that we live in a society that wants everything and doesn't want to wait at all. Exuding a little patience would go a long way.

 

Garet,

One extreme to the other.  Nobody's demanding no-waiting.  The complaint, from everyone, is:

 

1)  Forcing the customer to use his time.  The customer shouldn't need to spend but a few minutes, explaining the problem.  From then on, it's up to the people being paid to provide the service, to solve it.  In the meantime, the customer can go do something else.

 

2)  Forcing the customer to repetitively explain the same thing, over and over.

 

3)  Forcing the customer to go through steps and procedures, when we know full well that it isn't the problem.  But we have to go through the routine anyway, because that's part of the standard procedure troubleshooting script.

 

None of that is necessary to get the job done.  It's a waste of time and effort.

 

And understand, that things like telephones and internet connections can be "mission critical" tools that folks use in their daily lives, and so if they malfunction, it can be costing the customer money and fouling up their lives in other ways.  And so, being impatient may not be a byproduct of "instant gratification" syndrome, but rather a mini life crisis, causing life hassles (and maybe even money) with every passing hour.

 

A balance needs to be determined (in ANY business) between cost-savings and quality of service.  Something's gotta give, in one direction or the other.  My contention is that Verizon needs to tip the balance a several notches towards customer service and problem resolution.  As it stands now, most of us dread calling, and therefore only call when there's absolutely no alternative, and then prepare for the long bumpy ride ahead.

Copper Contributor iheartfios123
Copper Contributor
Posts: 24
Registered: ‎03-24-2009
Message 17 of 28
(16,782 Views)

Alrighty - A little more back on topic, here is how to get to the department that you need pretty much everytime.  You CANNOT just say agent, because it will more than likely give you whoever is available.

 

For billing/order status/new order/general questions related to products but NOT related to using your service issues - Call 1-888-553-1555

 

USUALLY if you have a verizon home phone number you should enter it in from jump - when you get to the main menu press 1 for billing - then as long as the first menu has "none of these" as number 5 press number 5 - when you get to the next menu - as long as number 5 is none of these, press # 5 - you will then get a prompt that says, "if you are calling to pay your bill press one, if not, press 2" If you have a question ONLY - press 2.

 

If you DON'T have a verizon home number do almost the same except when it asks for your phone number say - "I don't have one" Then when it gets to the 2nd prompt that asks for the number you signed up with, press that in then follow the rest of the steps after the main menu.

 

If you are calling FIOS tech support, the steps above are pretty much the same except when you get to the main menu, press 2 for tech support.

 

If you are calling DSL -  call 1-800-567-6789

DO NOT ENTER YOUR PHONE NUMBER - Say "I don't have one"  2x for the first question, "no"  to are you calling to establish new service,  and "I don't have it" for the 2nd.  When you get to the main menu do NOT press ANYTHING - SAY  Repair - press the option for internet -It will ask you if this is for Fios - press 2 for no.  It will then get u into the DSL queue.  

 

For problems with your copper phone service - call 1-800-483-1000

DO NOT ENTER YOUR PHONE NUMBER - Say "I don't have one"  2x for the first question, "no"  to are you calling to establish new service,  and "I don't have it" for the 2nd.  When you get to the main menu do NOT press ANYTHING - SAY  Repair - press the option for telephone - It will then say something like "I'd be glad to get you a rep, but it will make it easier if they had a phone number."  You can THEN put your number in-  It will then get u into the Copper repair queue.

 

Hope this helps!!!  Let me know...

 

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Contributor uslowes
Contributor
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎04-21-2009
Message 18 of 28
(16,760 Views)
it takes a long time to get to India.
Contributor crazzytyme
Contributor
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎04-28-2009
Message 19 of 28
(16,542 Views)

you know, i was just going to say you can always say customer service and you will be redirected.

but, i need to actually talk to someone now and was transferred to the help desk and so far on hold for 15 min 28 sec. making me angry. very angry. trying to use live chat but it is not working so still just waiting for someone to answer. they can at least put real songs on the hold music. it is the same unstrumental thing for 19 min 19 sec now.

do i hang up or keep holding??? whats a girl to do???

24m 39 sec now still no answer on hold same stupid music loop. they would be better play "this is the song that never ends" lol this ridiculous.

going to hang up i guess.

and process starts all over...........

ya know i am irate now......another 10 on hold and no answer. just the stupid hold music.

have stuff to do will try again later.

 

---cant get cust service if no one will answer the phone...........

Contributor SoCalDon
Contributor
Posts: 7
Registered: ‎03-26-2009
Message 20 of 28
(16,539 Views)

CrazzyTyme,

 

Or better yet, here's what I'd like phone-tree designers to add:

 

"Your hold time is approximately ____ minutes.  While waiting, if you'd like to listen to pop music, press 1; for country western, press 2;  for hard rock, press 3;  for classical, press 4;  for news, press 5; for a comedy routine by Bill Cosby, press 6; or for no sound at all, press 9."

 

Waiting on hold is one thing, but when you have no choice but to listen to some music you don't like, and may be poor quality, is indeed a further annoyance of the whole process.  And truth is, if I want to listen to music while I wait, I have several radios and stereos available, all of which have much better sound quality than a single tiny speaker in a telephone, shoved against one ear.

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