Sunday, July 18, 2010

Customer Disservice

"Hello, this is Myra, how are you today?"

(Life sucks and, on top of that, I'm wasting a half-hour trying to find out if my stupid cable company knows that my cable and internet access are out. But other than that, I'm wonderful, thank you!)

"I'm fine, how are you?"

(See, you're not the only one reading from a script!)

"I'm fine, thank you for asking. How may I help you today?"

(Why do the idiots who write the"level 1" customer service scripts assume I'd enjoy someone talking to me like Jeeves the butler?)

"My cable and internet service aren't functioning and I wanted to find out if there is a problem in my area."

"I can help you with that."

(No, REALLY??? I'm shocked! You see, I actually called just to hear you tell me you couldn't be of the slightest assistance whatsoever.)


(A LONG pause.)

"Can I get your full name please."

"Dan Longiaru."

"Thank you Mr.,,,er... Lawn-ga-rue. Can I get your address, please?"

"Service or billing?"

(HAH! You're not dealing with some amateur here, sweetie!)

"Uummm.... service."

"387 Basingstoke Q, Hazy Acres, Florida."

"Basingstoke what??"


"Is that a street, avenue or something else?"

"It's a building."

"Yes, sir, but what street is the building on?"

"It's not on a street, it's on a parking lot."

"OK, so what street is the parking lot on?"

"Hazy Acres Boulevard."

"I'm sorry sir, but that doesn't match your service address."

"I know that and you know that so why are we discussing it??"

"Because I need to verify your service address."

"Obviously you don't since you know it's not on Hazy Acres Boulevard!!"

"Sir, I need YOU to verify it so I can VERIFY your IDENTITY!!!"

"FINE! My address is 387 Basingstoke Q as I said before!"

"Yes, I heard you but I need to know what the name of the street is."

"LOOK, I didn't make up my address, the frickin' Post Office did and I swear on my Mother's grave that there is no street name or description ANYWHERE in my address!!! I live in a huge condo development with hundreds of buildings in which there are thousands of apartments, all of them on parking lots adjacent to Hazy Acres Boulevard. How would it help the postpeople deliver mail to the right person if every address mentioned a proximity to Hazy Acres Boulevard??!!"

"I'm putting you on hold for a minute sir to check into this."

(Please let her supervisor not be brain-dead! PLEASE GOD!! I'm begging you in the name of....)

"Sir, you gave enough of the address to verify it.

(Thank you Lord!!)

"But, just for future reference, your service address is 387 Basingstoke Q Avenue."

"Avenue?? You guys made up an address for me?? No wonder your bill doesn't show up half the time. You need to delete the word 'Avenue'"

"Sir, I can't do that. The system won't let me. But if you want I can set you up for 'paperless billing'".

(And trust the timely receipt of my bills to the internet of which you are the gatekeeper?? Are you out of your mind??? Of course you are: you're in customer service and only a looney would want that job.)

"No, never mind. Just leave it the way it is. So, can you tell me why my service is out?"

"First I need your account number."

"What for?"

"To verify your identity, sir."

"I thought you just did that with your trick address question?"

"We need to verify it using two pieces of information."

"OK, how about asking me for the last four digits of my social security number?"

"We've found that too many people have access to social security numbers so we decided to use something more secure."

"It's secure all right. Nobody knows it including the customer!!"

"It's printed on your bill."

"Unfortunately, your bills are sent to my New York home where I spend most of my time. Can't you use something else?"

"We have your driver's license on file but it's a very long number."

"A very long number? New York shortened its numbers I don't know how many years ago."

"Then I'll need your account number."

"Look, why do you need to verify I'm who I say I am? So what if I'm a terrorist trying to find out why a retirement community in South Florida is without cable service? Or do you think I've been waiting for the golden opportunity to strike at the heart of American power by attacking Hazy Acres while it's inhabitants are dazed with TV withdrawal symptoms?"

"Look sir, I'm just following the rules!"

"I know but the rules make no sense."

"I can't say one way or the other sir."

(Don't do it, Dan! I know the words are already about to pass your lips but there's still time to pull back from that precipice. Just hang-up and forget about it. Oh no, here it comes!!!!)

"I'd like to speak to your supervisor."

"Hold on a minute sir."

(NOW you've done it! You know perfectly well that no one in that organization under the rank of a Senior Vice President has the ability to say yes to anything but a rate increase. Still, her supervisor did accept my partial answer to the address question. Maybe she can help.)

"Hello, this is Myrna, Myra's supervisor, how are you today?"

"I'm fine Myra..."

"That's Myrna."


"How may I help you today."

"I've been trying to find out if there's a service interruption in my neighborhood since I don't have cable or internet service."

"I can help you with that but first I need to verify your identity. Name?

"Mohamed Atta."