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They value your call over and over again
VITAL TRIFLE, BY LAURI GROSS
They value your call over and over again
It all began with four little words: "We value your call." You know when you are on hold for a very long time and the recorded voice tells you that they value your call that they don't really value your call. Telling someone you value their call is like saying the check is in the mail: You'll believe it when you see it.
Recently, I needed to call the phone company (I won't tell you which one), which I thought would be pretty good at handling phone issues. It turns out they are not.
I received in the mail a brochure from the phone company proclaiming great news. They were upgrading my service, which would allow me to access all sorts of nifty new features for free. The brochure explained what to do to complete the upgrade.
To be fair, we do have a complicated phone situation in our house. Besides our cell phones, we have several land lines. We have a home number, plus I have a business number plus a fax number.
Then, to really make things interesting, we are maintaining a couple additional lines that used to belong to my husband's dad. Judd, my late father-in-law, ran a law practice from his home, so he had several phone lines in his residence also. When he passed away, another attorney advised us to continue to retrieve messages on Judd's business phone line for one year, so we could redirect his remaining clients who may not have known about his passing.
To do this, the phone company forwarded Judd's business calls to another number, which I used to access a remote voice-mail box to retrieve messages from people looking for him. Setting up this system with the phone company was no easy feat and took many frustrating phone calls, but once we got it going, it has been fine. In fact, for 11 months it has been fine. Then I got that brochure about the upgrade.
I followed the instructions in the brochure to remove certain software from my computer, install other software, download this, install that, reset this password and open a new account and on and on.
When I finished, I called the remote access number to retrieve Judd's message like always. I got a recording telling me the number was no longer in service. I figured I must have done something wrong or that the phone company was in the process of upgrading and the number would be back in service when they were no longer working on the upgrade.
The next day, the problem persisted, so I called. I talked to a few people, who offered unhelpful explanations and transferred me around and around. Through it all, they valued my call!
The last person I talked to was Pam, who said that, in two days, I should hear back from someone who could help me. The good news is that it only took one day for someone to call me back. The bad news is that two people actually called me back and gave me conflicting answers.
The first was Mike, who said my line was being converted, rebuilt and worked on and would be back up and running soon. Eight minutes later, Jackie called to say there was an order to disconnect that line. She said, if that order was an error, I needed to call their business office to straighten it out.
That order was indeed an error, so I called the business office. Over the next hour and a half, I talked to Will, Sonya, C.J., Rita, then C.J. again (or maybe it was a different C.J.), then A.J., then Sue. I talked to people in the business office, the billing office and the repair center.
During the inevitable long stretches of waiting on hold, the automated on-hold recording said that the agents were busy assisting other callers. Lucky them. Even when I talked to a live person, I wasn't getting any assistance, so I wondered if those other callers were actually being assisted, or just annoyed, like me.
The on-hold recording also suggested that I visit the phone company website for easy answers to all my questions. If the 10 people I had already talked to couldn't help, I was pretty sure I wouldn't find satisfaction from an online FAQ page, so I remained on hold.
All of the 10 people I talked to were actually was very nice and professional. I wish I could say the same for me. These situations tend to bring out my worst, and I have been known to unleash a fury of snotty sarcasm. It usually doesn't help.
My husband is a better man than me and never loses his cool, even when in the midst of these tangled, supremely frustrating situations. Vowing to be more like him, I made a New Year's resolution to be nicer to customer-service-type people, even when they were really, shall we say, trying my patience. I remembered my resolution, and, for the most part, I kept the snotty sarcasm at bay and remained civilized to Will, Sonya, C.J., Rita, that other C.J., A.J. and Sue.
It didn't help. When I reached Sue, I waved the white flag. I told her to go ahead with that disconnect order. I decided 11 months of retrieving Judd's messages was close enough to one year. I hope it's that long until the phone company once again tries to value my call.
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