Monday, August 8, 2011

YOU CALL THIS CUSTOMER SERVICE?

I know I shouldn’t air all of my dirty laundry through this column, but on the other hand, it hasn’t really stopped me before, so here we go.
A little while ago my internet e-mail provider decided that it was time for an upgrade and they said that there would be a brief interruption of services as they “improved the e-mail platform to enhance its benefits”. Okay, whatever, the old one wasn’t very good so any effort to improve it would be, well, an improvement, so go ahead, enhance away.
They stated that: “Every effort will be made to complete your upgrade during the early morning hours, but may continue into the day.” That warning was issued on June 9th for the June 28th upgrade. We’re into August, now, so “continuing into the day” has kind of stretched out a bit, don’t you think? They’re still ironing out a few wrinkles but, again, whatever, just don’t lose my stuff and you can improve my e-mail to your heart’s content.
In the notice given to their users about the upgrade they never said anything about backing up your files or your address book, or anything, they just said there might be a slow down on your already too-slow system and the “new and improved” webmail will be available as soon as the conversion was completed. To their credit they had the new system in place by the 29th of June, as promised, but “completed” would be a debatable term.
Gone was my address book. Gone were all my sent files, which, of course, I had been using as a sort of cyber filing cabinet, but the new “enhanced” system looked better and seemed more user friendly but my stuff was gone. I need my stuff! Where did it go?
And never mind all of you “techie” wizards out there that are all…tsk, tsk, tsk...and shaking your heads with your rueful smiles going, “What a fool! You didn’t back up your stuff? You always back up your stuff! Every day, Dummy! You’re just asking for trouble, you know, when you don’t do your back ups.” I know, I know, but, I don’t, and millions of others don’t, either. Do backups that is.
Regardless, my stuff is lost so I send in a query to their “Customer Relations” department at “consumer.support@__________” e-mail address to inquire of their “Customer Services Team” as to where my files are. Their response: “We appreciate the time you have taken to write us, and we acknowledge receipt of your request. We are currently addressing your inquiry and will be contacting you within 48 hours (two business days).” Huh? Two days?! Do you have any idea what “Customer Relations, Consumer Support or Customer Service” means? I guess not.
So I send them a lecture about what “Customer Service” is supposed to mean and how the timeline is unacceptable and everything and what do I get for a response? Yup, you guessed it…“We appreciate the time you have taken….blah, blah, blah…48 hours…blah, blah, blah.” You cannot be serious?
By this time they’ve at least restored my address book but not my sent files so every 48 hours I send them a new e-mail asking where my old sent files are. Finally, they respond by emailing me that I have to phone the HELP line to talk to a “Customer Relations” specialist, or something, in an effort to finally find a solution to the whole schmozzle. A schmozzle of their creation, mind you!
Guess what? “All of our representatives are currently busy…your call is important to us (BULLDROPPINGS!!!)…please stay on the line and a Customer Relations Representative will address your concerns within…pause… (different voice)…15 minutes.” What!? I have to phone you to be put on hold for 15 minutes so you can tell me how you lost my files over a month ago? Really!? Oh the agony! Thank goodness I have been dealing with our health care system for the last eleven months so I am quite used to non-service service, if you know what I mean?
So off goes another e-mail to their “Customer Service Team” stating that I want THEM to call ME. How do you think that’ll go over? Me too. We’ll see what they say in about…oh…48 hours.

“How much of human life is lost in waiting?” Ralph Waldo Emerson-(1803-1882).

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