Oh my goodness, Madame X almost just blew her stack.
As mentioned at the end of the last post, I had to call Verizon about a little billing discrepancy. So after all the automated blah blah, here's approximately how the call went:
MX: Yes, hi, I ordered your Call Direct service back in July and was told I would be charged $9, but I just got my first bill and it says it's $15 a month, can you help me with that?
CS rep: Wait a minute, what? I'm not understanding you. What's the problem?
MX: [repeat explanation]
CS: Okay, just a minute... yes, the $15 is correct.
MX: Well I did take very careful notes and the rep I spoke to definitely offered me a $9 price.
CS: Well she obviously made a mistake. Our rates are regulated and there is nothing I can do about that. I'm sorry but the cost is $15.
MX: I understand that, but I think a company has to take some responsibility for standing by the prices their reps offer. It's standard business practice to honor a price, even if it's in error. And if your calls are monitored, wouldn't there be some record of this to verify what she offered me?
CS: [sounding annoyed] I'm sorry, she just made a mistake, that's all. I don't know why she would offer you the wrong price and I can't be responsible for another rep who just made a mistake. I can look up the original order and tell that rep she made a mistake, but I can't do anything else about it now.
MX: I don't think that is acceptable, can you connect me to a supervisor who can help me with this? I think it would be fair for me to get some kind of credit on my bill.
CS: [sounding even more annoyed] That isn't going to help, even a supervisor can't change the price. They can just speak to that rep and tell her she made a mistake.
MX: I understand that you can't just change your pricing, but I really think Verizon has to stand by the actions of their reps, even when they make mistakes. Can you please connect me to a supervi--[click...DIAL TONE]
At this point, all I can think of is some old rap song, I think it was by YoYo, where there was a little spoken intro part in which she says "That b*tch hung up in my face!" Maybe, just maybe there were some kind of technical difficulties over there at Verizon, THE PHONE COMPANY, that caused our call to be disconnected, but I think that rep just got fed up and didn't want to deal with me. And just to be clear-- I was very calm and courteous throughout the whole call. I was not even close to being abusive, so there was no excuse for her attitude.
I sat there with steam coming out my ears for about 10 minutes, wondering if she'd call back, googling to see if I could figure out who Verizon's VP of Customer Service was, wondering if I should write or just call again. I decided to call back and ask for a supervisor. Though the first human I spoke to said something about how it usually requires a "24-hour call-back" to speak to a supervisor, he put me on hold and a few seconds later, I had my supervisor and told him the whole story. He said "well, maybe she was trying to look for a supervisor" and tried a little bit of the "$15 is the correct price" routine but I very quickly discovered that he was promoted to supervisor for a reason.
With no further ado, he said "I can give you a $6 credit on your bill." My response: "Thank you. If that other rep had not been so rude and dismissive about that even being a possibility, I would not be on the phone with you now. That is a fair solution. I've had a chance to see my bill, and now that I know the correct price I can choose to accept it or cancel the service. I just did not think I should have to be responsible for an error on Verizon's part." And then he said, "you know, you have a great attitude, I'll make it a $12 credit."
So that's that. I don't expect to need the service for more than 2 months anyway, so it works out fine. But I am still feeling a bit stung by that hang-up. I know telephone customer service reps probably get a lot of crap from people for too little pay, so I always try to be really polite and patient if I have to complain about something, and most of the time that is how I am treated in return. I have had some experiences where people were so nice and helpful and empathetic (in a true, not-fake, not "I-have-to-say-I-feel-for-you-because-of-that-Best-Practices-seminar" kind of way), that I ended up feeling good about the call even if they couldn't entirely solve my problem. But being given the brush-off by a customer service rep just sucks. Maybe she was just having a bad day, but if that's the case, get her off the phones. That kind of treatment can really color a customer's feeling about a company-- for a minute there I wanted to just cancel my service and never deal with Verizon again. Moral of the story: be nice to your customers, and be nice to customer service reps. That way everybody wins.