20 February 2013

Adventures With Customer Service

The emergency phone in one of my elevators is acting up. I contacted the phone company with account number in hand, and they asked which phone number it is. I don't keep copies of the bills; I just enter them & send 'em to the accounting office, so I hung up, called the bookkeeper, and he gave me the THREE numbers which appear on the elevator bill.

So I called the phone company back, spent 20 minutes trying to get the moron who answered to understand that one of the phones doesn't work , but I don't know which one. All the while, he keeps telling me that I need to verify which number it is, or otherwise he can't open a repair ticket.

I asked him if he remembered that the linemen can put boots on the ground & trace the line, but he ignored me.

Meanwhile, the line in question produces nothing but static, and can't be used at all. He asked me several times to call from the elevator & ask whoever answers what number showed up on their caller I.D. (You CAN'T use it to call anyplace but ThyssenKrupp on the east coast, whereupon they would dispatch a local technician to come & rescue you from being stuck in the elevator.) "Son, I just told you that the thing doesn't work at all. Are you actually listening, or just reading from a numbered list?"

So I finally said, "Look. Open up trouble tickets on ALL THREE NUMBERS and go from there." He grudgingly agreed to do so.

Then ... it turns out I'm not on the "authorized contact person" list for the account. He transferred me to business services. THAT person then asked for my name & contact info on company letterhead, via e-mail. No problem - took 3 minutes.

That was the first 25 minutes.

Eight minutes later, he called back and verified that my name is added to the account. He said he would transfer me back to the help desk - and promptly cut me off.

I tried calling his number back, and there was no answer. (Remember, I'm supposed to be watching my blood pressure. I am: watching it slowly go up.) So I e-mailed him again & told him what happened.

He called back, and stayed on the line as he transferred me back to the help desk. When the lady answered, he said "okay, you two talk" and hung up - which promptly cut me off again.

So now I'm officially out of humor. I e-mailed him again & told him it's not funny - then I called the voice-operated system a third time & went through all the "press 1 if..." hoops to get back to the person I last spoke with.

Upshot: 35 minutes to report static on a phone line & ask for someone to check it out.

I had a lingering suspicion that companies might be more careful of their customers in this economy, but apparently not so much.

It's official: I'm a dinosaur.

13 comments:

Max said...

That's what you get for wanting customer service, what is wrong with you?

Rev. Paul said...

Apparently, much. :)

Cathy said...

I sit across the room watching hubby trying to use that "press 1 if" business. He's got BP issues, too. He starts shouting "Agent! Agent!"
Still, with an emergency phone failure . . you'd expect a little more competency.

Well Seasoned Fool said...

Hardest task in the world; doing business with the "phone company" on the phone.

Rev. Paul said...

Cathy, I expected it. But then, that's life on the frontier ... or so we've come to learn.

WSF, agreed. I remember Lily Tomlin's "Earnestine" character telling a customer, "Sir, we don't care. We don't have to: we're the phone company."

Mrs. S. said...

I remember a number of years ago I was working late to finish a deadline at work. I heard the sound of a phone ringing... and ringing. Wondering why it didn't go to voicemail, I tracked it to the elevators. A telemarketer had somehow managed to call the elevator phone.

If they still can't figure out which phone number goes with what elevator, you can try calling all three numbers and see which ones ring.

Rev. Paul said...

Mrs. S, what's in the elevators isn't a phone, per se. It's a speaker with a "Push to call for help" button.

But it's worth a try. Thanks!

Old NFO said...

As one who's dealt with that before, the 'quick' way is to call the elevator company. Actually THEY are required to maintain the wiring to the call box in the elevator. The switch block is normally located in the elevator house, and normally has the number written on the switch block. And if I remember correctly, 'legally' the elevator has to be taken out of service until the line is repaired. I had the Otis guy on speed dial... :-)

Mamma Bear said...

Like most, I keep notes of whom I am speaking to and the time when dealing with customer service. I have actually started with one person in the morning, been passed around all day from one person to another only to end back up with the first person I talked with to begin with.

I have high blood pressure too.....

Rev. Paul said...

I did that, Mamma Bear. Seems the last time my company called them was in '04 ... and with luck, it'll be that along again before anyone needs them.

Rev. Paul said...

NFO, the elevator company already recommended calling the phone company. If the lineman says it's bad wiring, then ThyssenKrupp is going to eat it.

Old NFO said...

Gah, they're passing the buck... Not surprised in this day and age...

Rev. Paul said...

NFO, it's an outgrowth - and a case in point - of the "no personal responsibility" syndrome. Everything is someone else's to fix.