Monday, August 13, 2012

Cancelling Home phone service

Well, a short while ago I got off the phone with my home phone provider (the big American telephone company), and found the experience both humorous and frustrating.

First off: All I was wanting to do was cancel my home phone service.

I spoke to no fewer than 4 people over the course of about a 20 minute call to accomplish this task. (23 minutes if you count me dialing customer service twice because I mis-input my phone number into the robot that answered the phone the first time and this put me on hold so I redialed). I'm aware of the times because I made the call at the beginning of riding my exercise bike and I was into the 24th minute of the ride when the call was finally completed.

While waiting on hold between all of my transfers I found out repeatedly from the automated attendant that it would be very simple to pay my phone bill if I went to, but unfortunately I had to wait on hold and be transferred around for the privilege of not paying.

So at the beginning of the call the automated attendant asks me to input the phone number on my phone bill. I do so. I'm not sure why they wanted that, because I think each of the four people that finally talked to me asked me for both my name and all that information again, 3 of whom would only transfer me to someone else who would ask me the same information again.

I may be getting the order of conversation wrong and have generalized and embellished, but it went something like this:

1st customer service rep: After waiting on hold for a long time - maybe about 8 minutes listening to how I could conveniently pay my bill online at - the first customer service rep picked up. I told them I wanted to cancel my home phone line. No problem, they said - let me transfer you to the people that do that. They'll be right with you.

2nd customer service rep: This rep again asked who I was and asked for my name and phone. I said I just put it into the system, it should be on your screen. He may have asked for the last digits of my social to just to make sure I hadn't changed who I was sense I talked to the last person.

After confirming my name, phone, and that I was someone who knew the last four digits of my social security number - they also confirmed that what I indeed had told the first rep was true - that I wanted to cancel my home phone.

I think they wanted to try to give me some secret deal that nobody else ever gets unless you win the lotto, but I told them I already had my new line and wanted to cut my bills. I'd already looked online on the website to try and find a way to keep my home phone at a lower cost, but all their plans were way too costly compared to alternatives. Anyhow, they said, OK, let me transfer you to someone who'll take care of your cancellation for you. It'll be just a minute. I'm like why can't you do this, but I'm like whatever, let's just get this over with.

I wait on hold for a while longer listening to more exciting advertising and information on how to pay my bill online. I'm a pretty good way into my bike ride now, getting kindof sweaty, and have flipped the TV and ESPN to listen to Skip Bayless and others talk about Chad Johnson's problems and Rex Ryan/Tim Tebow.

3rd customer service rep: This rep again starts by asking my name and phone number, and surprisingly asks what I'm calling about. I'm beginning to think the reps at this company don't talk to one another or know who they transferring me to or why. Surprise, I'm trying to cancel my home phone. This rep is very friendly and in the nicest voice possible says, OK, let me transfer you to someone who will take care of that for you. I kind of laugh and ask if they were sure.

At this point I'm increasingly glad they're monitoring this call for quality control, because I'm having difficulty imagining how much better customer service quality might be if they weren't paying attention to it.

4th customer service rep:
When I got to the 4th person he again asked for my name, phone number and again confirmed the last digits of my social. He also wondered what I was calling about. I told him I heard mythological tales of one who could process the cancellation of my home phone - and that I was on a quest to find the one who could fulfill my wishes. I also made him promise that he was the last person I had to talk to. Luckily I'd found the elusive person in the company with the great power to fulfill my request. He really was a nice guy - I just wish I didn't have to spend 20 minutes to do something simple like tell them to stop sending me bills.

Yeah, all done with that. According to my exercise bike's readout I'd burned nearly 180 calories while cancelling my phone, so it wasn't all bad.

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