I was driving around the north side of Lafayette a few days ago, looking for a good picture. You may not agree, but I like the looks of this house. I wouldn’t want to live in it, but I like the looks of it.
I’ve had to deal with on-line customer service a couple of times this week. Eventually the results were positive, but not before some trials.
Earlier this week I paid for, downloaded and used a software package. I tried it out, and after a couple of stumbles was able to use it satisfactorily. I was pleased. When I went to use it the following day there was a pop-up on the screen that said the license had expired. That was strange. I had bought the software around twenty-four hours earlier and the license had already expired? This was a job for Customer Service, guardian of the software oppressed.
So I went to the website where I purchased the software and found where I could contact the company’s Customer Service electronically. I filled in the required information, adding my order number which they surprisingly didn’t request, and filled in the text box with the strange message that I had received in the pop-up. I dutifully hit send and sat back to await their apology and fix. About ten minutes later I received an email stating that I had received an automatic response with a Ticket ID and a promise to get back to me when they had researched my problem…the problem with the software, not my other innumerable problems.
I waited at the laptop, doing other things, for about half an hour but didn’t hear back. I gave up for a bit and shut the laptop down. I came back two hours later and powered up the laptop. There were no further emails. I started the software program. The pop-up came back saying the license had expired. I sighed. I gave up on it for the day.
The following day I checked again, but there was no response from the company. I started the software, but there was no pop-up. The software worked without a hitch. I am pleased that whatever the problem was had been resolved, but I was intrigued that Customer Service did not contact me to take credit for the fix.
That brings me to yesterday and my interactions with the cable company’s Customer Service. Cindy and I spent part of yesterday morning with a tax accountant. I normally do our taxes, but last year Cindy started her own business and wanted to use a professional. I got it. So, during our meeting he asked how much we pay for Internet use. I didn’t know because it is bundled with our cable and home security. Cindy promised that we would get back with him that afternoon. That meant that I would get the information and pass it on to Cindy so that she could give it to him. I get it. To each his or her own field of expertise.
When I first got home I looked at the most recent bill to see what the breakout was. Well, the bill doesn’t show that info, just the total of the bundle plus other add-ons such as “additional cable charges,” and “cable modem rental,” and “taxes and surcharges.” It didn’t help. So I looked at the bill for a phone number under the Contact information. There was a toll-free number and I dialed it. I got a recording that asked for my patience while they checked to see if I was eligible for a spectacular free offer. I only needed to answer one question; how old was I? I answered and immediately was sent to another automated recording that breathlessly told me about an offer that I easily refused, but instead of moving me on to a Customer Service representative, I was taken to another offer. When I refused that offer I was taken to a third offer, this time for Dish Network. Since Dish Network is the cable company’s biggest competitor around here, I was pretty sure that I was never going to speak to Customer Service. So I hung up and went to the company website where I got into the Customer Service live chat room.
I started the chat by explaining that I wanted to know the breakout of the bundled charges, specifically how much the Internet charges were. I was joined in the chat by ‘analyst Cristine.’ That may or may not have been the analyst’s real name. I had visions of burly convict in a prison boiler room, answering questions and stealing social security numbers so that he can file false tax returns for a refund.
‘Analyst Cristine’ asked me to tell her how she could help me. I retyped my question in the text box, trying to be as clear as possible as to what I wanted. ‘Analyst Cristine’ thanked me and asked me to give her a few minutes to research the answer. I said “of course.” She thanked me again and then went silent. A few minutes later the screen showed that she was typing, but then she wasn’t, and then she was again, but then she stopped, and then she finished and sent me her response. What ‘analyst Christine’ sent was the same information that appears on our monthly bill, just the bundled total.
I used the text box to send “So you can’t tell me how much I pay on the individual components of the bundle?”
‘Analyst Cristine’ sent back that she would see if she could find that information. She asked me to be patient while she looked. I said, “of course.” She thanked me again and went silent. A few minutes later the screen showed that she was typing, but then she wasn’t, and then she was again, but then she stopped, and then she finished and sent me this query. “Your bundle includes home security, right?” I was pretty sure that I had mentioned that in my initial question, but I simply said yes. ‘Analyst Cristine’ Thanked me and asked for a few more minutes to research. While I nervously envisaged ‘analyst Cristine’ using the time to file a false tax return, I simply replied that I understood. She thanked me again and went silent.
After another five minutes or so, ‘analyst Cristine’ triumphantly returned to tell me how much the cable portion of our bundle cost each month. I wasn’t totally impressed with that information since I had repeatedly asked for the Internet portion, but it sufficed. I sent back that I knew how much the home security portion cost (I had found the installation paperwork) and that I could do the math for the rest of it.
‘Analyst Cristine’ asked if I had any other questions. I had spent forty-five minutes in the chat room already, so I said “No, but thanks for asking.” It never hurts to be polite, especially when chatting with burly convicts.