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Customer Disservice

Wednesday, Oct. 05, 2005 9:15 PM

SBC: In The Doghouse First, the voice-recognition system utilized by SBC needs work. I have a clear, unaccented speaking voice; when I recited my phone number for the nice computer, it didn't recognize a single syllable. That's irritating, but not what I'm upset about.

The nice computer then put me on hold, and I waited for close to 25 minutes before speaking to a service rep who, upon hearing my question, said she'd have to transfer me to another department. Back on hold I go.

Customer service answers after another twenty-odd minutes on hold. The next service rep introduces herself, asks for my phone number, and then ... the line goes silent.

There follows a brief noise, like someone is fumbling with adjusting their headset, but then goes quiet again.

I'm willing to be patient. I ask if there's anyone there, but the call has not been terminated, so I'm still connected to the system. There is a second brief burst of noise/conversation, affirming that the connection is still good.

After an additional fifteen minutes on hold (total time on hold is now close to an hour), I choose to hang up and redial.

And get a recording telling me normal business hours ended at the top of the hour, just as my call was getting answered.

Conclusion: the customer service representative, upon reaching the top of the hour, disconnected/muted her headset and clocked out.

I've checked. The company's stated policy is to complete all service calls in progress when the service center closes.

I am not going to beat 'the customer is always right' drum. I can fully understand that whether you're based locally or further east, it's nice to go home, have dinner, spend time with your family, and/or read a book.

Which is exactly what I was trying to do while waiting on hold for close to an hour. I cooked dinner for my wife and myself; I would have liked very much to take care of personal e-mail and assorted online tasks.

Faking a disconnect/hold and waiting for the customer to break the connection, redial, and be rebuffed by a recording listing hours of business, is rude, unethical, unprofessional, and wholly inexcusable. Accordingly, a complaint has been filed with the California Public Utilities Commission.

That being said, someone else did your job this morning, when a third call was made during normal business hours.

The Ministry has received 1 comment(s) on this topic.

Brin - 2005-10-06 00:45:29
When I was working my way through the labryinth of customerserviceland at *my* cell phone carrier, I finally reached a human being who was completely unfamiliar with the FAQ online. The FAQ online had stated that the problem I was trying to solve was best solved by calling a customer rep. The customer rep insisted that the FAQ had instructions online. So after I read the FAQ to her, word for word, she capitulated. Shouldn't have had to do that, though. Grrr. Sympathies!