punched in the face #2

I can’t decide exactly where this punch needs to be placed, but in these posts, I think I’ll prefer to be more inclusive than exclusive. So in this case, I’ll tag punch number two for both Verizon Wireless, and for people who answer technical support lines for a living (and let’s not forget about those people that designed said techinical support system).

Backstory: I needed to switch telephone service from Melissa’s old phone to a newer one that we bought via Ebay, because her old one’s hinge failed. So I called verizon to switch her line from her broken phone to the newer one.

First call: Five minutes on hold, answered by a woman. I explain what I want. She puts me on hold. Fifteen minutes later, a different woman answers, as though the first woman did not exist. I re-explain my problem to woman #2. She makes the whole thing entirely more complex than it needs to be, and refers me to another number I need to call to accomplish want I want (side note: I realize that these people are trained to speak to the lowest common denominator (ie – they can grunt and screech ape-speak), but perhaps *someone* out there in tech-support land would consider *my* level of expertiese before boiling everything down into soft, chewable language that isn’t correct?).

Second call: Spent about three minutes “talking” to an automated system, which could not help me. Then spent 20 minutes on hold, waiting for a person. Then I gave up and went to work.

Third call: Spent another fifteen minutes on hold (while I was working… Being on hold requires no attention), then talked to a dude. He swapped the service around for me in about five minutes, and I was done. I mentioned my problems to him, he promised to let his manager know (which I know is likely a fruitless exercise, but I tried) and that was it.

So there you have it. About 70 minutes spent on the phone for something that I should be able to do automatically from any touch-tone phone, in two minutes.

What do you think? Who deserves this punch in the face more? The tele-help system (which is designed to prevent customers from being helped?) or the first two slack-jawed Verizon employees that couldn’t accomplish this relatively minor task?

  1. The other day I called fedex for a pretty simple task as well, but no one seemed to be fluent in English. It annoyed me so much that I’d been on the phone so long and been transferred so many times that I finally just gave up.

  2. My award for punch in the face #2 resides with those that design/train customer help systems/people. You really can’t blame the people in this case, they’re just doing their job.

    Honestly, there should be a little question beforehand, a “rate your knowledge” thing. This way those who completely understand what they want and know what they need to do to accomplish said task, can easily say “I know what I want, please put me in contact with people who can help me.”

    My next statement is going to sound highly arrogant and pretentious. The people that work at call centers aren’t…the sharpest crayons in the box. If they are sharp, they typically get put in management roles, or in other non-crappy jobs. These people do _not_ answer the phone when you call up. Just the way it is. Every so often you get a good intelligent person on the other side of the phone, but it’s nowhere close to the standard.

    If they could design a better automated system to route your call to the correct person sooner, all the waiting around during transfers, etc. could be avoided.

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