Customer Service Revisited

Every now and then I rail about the service economy or lack thereof. I’ve had some mixed experiences of late and it has me uncertain if things are getting better or worse.

It took a few phone calls to cancel Robbie’s credit card and take him off the insurance. The bank explained the required paperwork then worked with us to process his sizeable stack of savings bonds.

When we tried to cancel his plane ticket to a family event via Travelocity, things ground to a halt. The first customer service guy I spoke said the request was in the system and a Travelocity credit was being filed which we could access the next time we used the site, minus any applicable penalties.

Deb tried to use the credit days later and no credit was on file. She handed the phone to me as I railed at the customer service agent who suddenly had a checklist of things required that the first guy never mentioned. One involved sending in a PDF of the death certificate or faxing it. We scanned a copy and sent it with the required account numbers.

I then heard from a rep by e-mail who asked for a copy of the credit card charge. I pointed out that we do everything electronically so there was no copy to forward. That seemed to mollify her but then she needed more information that I had already sent.

The next rep asked for a copy of the death certificate so I sent it a second time.

The next two reps also asked for a copy of the death certificate so I sent it a third and fourth time, noting they were turning a painful process into something unnecessarily excruciating. The last time I sent it as both an attachment and embedded in the e-mail and that seemed to do the trick so now they’re processing the request.

Amazing.

On the other hand, Cablevision, which I generally dislike, has proven to earn their J.D. Power certification for having terrific customer service. Our DVR has been acting up and nearly two dozen premium channels (all the Starz and Encores) were garbled. Over the last few months they came and changed various hardware and fiber optical cable and nothing fixed the problem. They said we needed a new box. Well, as you know, this took a low priority so it was only this week we focused on the matter. Over the last few weeks we’ve been catching up and had just 8 shows left so dumped them onto DVD and I took the box back. I was on line longer than I was at the window. The new box seems to be working so I’m pretty pleased with how that turned out.

3 comments

  • Susan O

    We had a terrible time clearing my grandmother’s affairs. We almost couldn’t bury her because of a catch-22: although she lived in Prospect more than 50 years, died in her Prospect home, once she died she was no longer a resident of Prospect, and only residents of Prospect can buy a burial plot in Prospect’s cemetery. My mother, a Cheshire resident, could not purchase one for her. In the end, it was worked out that my grandmother’s *estate*, still in Prospect, could purchase one in her name, and we went on from there. We twisted the rule again later, when her brother, who grew up in Prospect but lived just over the Cheshire line, died: we buried his ashes in the same plot, knowing she would have approved.

    One company insisted they needed her new address to cancel an account, refused to understand there was no address, she had died. Finally, after the third or fourth go-round and still not getting anywhere, my father gave them the address of the cemetery. No more problems.

    We think of you, Deb, and Kate often. Glad to hear you’re staying busy.

  • Likewise. Thinking of you daily. I was wincing at Travelocity’s demands there; what were they thinking! Goodness. I’m sorry.

  • Manny

    When the son of my mom’s best friend died 21 years ago (pre computers here) while we were sharing an apartment, the poor lady kept getting phone calls from VISA collections regarding his account, despite repeated faxing of the death certificate.

    I finally had to go to their offices in Toronto and swing a verbal bat for 2 hours.

    All my best,Bob. You and yours keep the faith.