Monday, February 11, 2013


It would seem to me that it was more than a little ironic that right at the time I was writing last week’s column regarding advances in electronic technology it was electronic technology that completely let us down. Mind you, as usual, technology didn’t let us down- the operator of the technology completely let us down. And our frustration wasn’t necessarily with the technological breakdown as much as it was with the customer service, or lack thereof, that became the most frustrating part of the whole ordeal.
            It all started when I bought my wife an iPhone for Christmas. Up ‘til now Deb’s had an old flip-phone with buy-as-you-go phone cards and she was quite happy not having to be a slave to her cell phone so I got to thinking that she should really upgrade herself into this century and get a phone where she can Facetime with the kids and grandkids and she can text and email and do all of those wonderful things that only a new cellular phone can do for you. Of course, these wonderful tools come at a cost. And not a low cost either, so in an effort to cut down on the cost of our two-member household paying an enormous phone bill we decided it would be a good idea to bundle up some of the phone services that we were using, make one of our cell phones our home phone and cut out our landline. Simple, eh? I guess not. Many, apparently, have done this. I wish we hadn’t because that’s when the trouble really began.
            We weren’t completely advised of all of the details that this little adjustment to save ourselves a few bucks would entail. We expected a couple of glitches, and there were more than a couple, but when SaskTel completely lost our email account information for four days we started to panic. Not only were we unable to send and receive emails, we completely lost everything. And I mean everything! Anyone familiar with email usage will know that it’s essentially a cyber filing cabinet and to lose all of the information stored in there could be catastrophic.
And, yes, all of you cyber-geniuses with your condescending head-shaking and all-knowing grin going, “tsk, tsk…why didn’t he back up his information?” I’ll tell you this, NOBODY does! Okay? NO-BODY. Well maybe the 1.6% of you cyber-geeks do it but besides them…NOBODY.
Anyway, we get on the phone, the first time, for one-and-a-half-hours of waiting and going from this rep to that rep to another rep all the while nobody can figure out where our stuff went and “Oops, sorry, there’s not much we can do about it now” answers and…”Perhaps you can send us the details of your problem in an email…” “YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS!? YOU LOST OUR EMAIL! (expletive, expletive)”
Then we’re on the phone the next night again and they say they might be able to restore everything but “please give us twenty-four hours to work on it”. Okay…twenty-four hours and two minutes later we’ve got our email restored, with none of our old information by the way, and a new/old email account to boot and then the stupid thing stops working all together again.
Up until then we’d been fairly polite when dealing with these people but now I’m past agitated and this has been going on for, like, four days, and, believe me, I was in the retail lumber business for over twenty years and I’ve had my share of ticked off customers to deal with and I don’t like ‘em and I don’t particularly like companies that turn me into a ticked off jerk customer, either, and it’s a real shame that you sometimes have to be one to get any satisfaction but that’s just what happened. I turned into a class A (as in ass) jerk and they restored our stuff a few hours later. All of it!
I’ve always believed in the adage that, “you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar”, but, as with all things, there are exceptions to every rule.
“The best customer service is if the customer doesn’t need to call you, doesn’t need to talk to you. It just works.”- Jeff Bezos (1964-)- CEO

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