January 2007 - Posts

4 ways NOT to get or keep my business.... (part 2)

Todays example of bad service is my cell phone company. I've only ever had 2 cell phone providers and they have both managed to annoy me at some time.

For some reason phones do not excite me. I can spend lots of money on other geek toys but all I want and need my phone to do is make phone calls. Of course you can't find a phone that does just this one simple task so last year I was forced to upgrade to a Razr. Yes I know I'm 2 years behind the cool kids but it was free if I signed up for 2 years. Since I don't use it all tht much I chose the cheapest plan they offer. $29.99 with no text and no data included. I figured I didn't need the data and I can pay for the odd text message. Imagine my surprise when the bill arrived and it was for $85 with $50 of 'data'.

The phone call went something like this:
Andy: Hi I'm calling about my $50 of data
Support: Is this your first bill
A: Yes - why
S: Oh we see this all the time on the first bill.
A: So what is it for? I'm smart enough not to use my phone for data when I don't have a data plan and I never chose yes when the phone said 'do you want to connect to the internet'
S: Oh my computer system doesn't tell me that
A: Well if you can't tell me what is for and I don't know what its for then shouldn't you give me a refund. $50 is a lot of money
S: Oh no thats a small amount of money, I've seen accidental data charges of hundreds of dollars. You must have downloaded some ring tones or wall paper
A: No I think custom ring tones are annoying, wallpaper on a cell phone is beyond a joke and anyway there are plenty of ways to get those on my phone for free - why would I pay $5 for a 50x50 bitmap? Please tell me what I am being charged for or give me a refund.
S: Sir - the supervisors do not like to give refunds for data that has actually been used. However we can disable that feature on your phone so it doesn't happen again
A: Well thanks for that - don't you think that might be a nice option to give people BEFORE they accidentally run up hundreds of dollars of charges that you cannot explain to them. Please disable that now and then get a suprvisor on the line. Unless you can tell me what I got for my $50 then I would like a refund.

At this point he disabled the data and went to find a supervisor - who it turns out was only to happy to refund my money

So today's list of what went wrong:

  • If you know that there is a common problem with people running up data bills when they first get the phone then do something about it - otherwise it seems like you might just be doing it on purpose.
  • Maybe offering to disable the data when someone takes the cheapest no data plan would be a nice way to prevent any of this from happening. Of course at $50+ per customer who doesn't notice and just pays the bill I can see your incentive to not fix this
  • Fix your computers. If you tell someone they have $50 in charges you better be able to tell them what they spent it on
  • Don't lie to me about how unlikley it is that I will get a refund just to stop me from pushing for it. It might work on little old ladies (though how *that* is ethical is beyond me) but I will talk to the CEO of the company about it if thats what it takes.
4 ways NOT to get or keep my business.... (part 1)

No posts for a while I know so lets start up by doing what I do best.. complaining about idiot companies

Lets say you have been selling me a service for the last 6 years. I pay my bills on time, I don't call your customer service line and complain - all in all I am a solid customer. My only request to you is that I would like a feature on my service that you don't actually offer. Every year I send an email asking when/if you will ever offer it and every year I check to see if your competitors offer it (they don't). In 2007 I decide that I'm not that keen on paying for the service without this feature so I send an email saying that without this feature I will be cancelling. Surprisingly I get a reply saying that the feature has become available this year but its only being offered to NEW CUSTOMERS. So I reply and say 'please cancel' my service. Of course cancelling a service is far too complex for customer service drones so I am referred to the Customer Loyalty Department. The customer loyalty department asks why I am cancelling and when I tell them they say 'well we can make an exception and give you the feature'. Of course as an existing customer not only does my monthly fee increase (which I understand) but I have to pay $200 for installation (which of course new customers don't). So where did they go wrong?

  • Your first point of contact needs to be able to cancel when requested. I am SO fed up of places where you can do everything online except cancel
  • When a customer has been asking for a feature for years please keep it on record and preemptively call him when you have that feature.
  • Don't treat your loyal customers worse than your new ones. COMCAST do this in Seattle and it drives me nuts. All sorts of special offers if you switch twice a year from cable to satellite but if you stay loyal you get screwed.
  • Why have a customer loyalty department when your 1st point of contact doesn't care about customer loyalty and just passes the buck. You had lost me way before I had to talk to your loyalty specialists. And your loyalty specialists don't seem to have the authority to keep me as a customer. You lost my business because of $200 guys. I've had the service for 6 years, you would have had your money back in no time.
  • If your job is customer loyalty then please review my case before you call me. My emails had explained exactly why I am cancelling. You just look like an idiot when you make me tell you the whole story again.


(I have my reasons for not revealing the company - I just want to make a point here and I'm sure this is not the only company that operates like this).

A buggy calendar

Someone bought me a Dilbert calendar for Christmas and today I figured it was time to open it. Imagine my surprise to find that the first day on the calendar in January the 8th. So I figured the first few pages had gone missing - no because the day after the 8th is the weekend of the 6th and 7th followed by the 9th, 10th, 12th and 11th before we jump right back to the 1st.

Of course it doesn't fix itself there! After the 1st I get the title page of the calendar followed by 2, 3, 5, 4, 13, 14 and from then onward it looks OK. But I've not checked the whole year...

I suspect I have the pointy haired boss to thank for this re-org of the year.



This Blog