A Light in the Darkness

Curl up everyone. Grab a cup of joe, get you fuzzy slippers out, and pace your sarcastic laughter. THIS, is gonna be a while.

Back in late May, I got fed up with Comcast's treatment of me as a customer, and I decided to ditch them. I signed up for what I THOUGHT, was Verizon Fios, and DirecTV. The next day, Direct was out to install their dish, and get us running. Verizon meanwhile, couldn't get someone to my home, till June 3rd. But for me, it was worth it....or so I thought at the time.

June 3rd. I'm at work, my mom's at home, waiting for the guy to show. I'm still not sure how, but apparently, with my mother well aware that he was coming in the morning, and without a car to go anywhere else, the tech stopped by, dropped an "I'm sorry I missed you" note on my voicemail, and never installed the service. I call in to figure out what's going on, and we reschedule for the 14th of June.

June 14th: the guy comes this time, and installs the service, but something seemed wrong. When I did a speed test comparison between Verizon's internet and Comcast's, I saw that I was getting 1/3rd the speed at the BEST of measurements. Turns out, I'd been signed up NOT for Fios High Speed internet, but DSL slower-than-my-3G-smartphone internet. As a gamer, I'm naturally dismayed by this. My irritation only grew, when verizon's Dialup-Speed-Levels internet, couldn't even stream DirecTV on demand as it should. And it broke when  we were AGAIN, losing calls to our home phone line. I don't know how or why, but the house phone simply would not ring.

Naturally, I called in again and again over this, trying to get it sorted. And I was hit with a myriad collection of inept answers to the problems, none of which apparently involved having a tech come out and check the service directly. No no, no need for that. Just reset the modem, or turn it off for a while, or unplug it, and that'll solve everything. Of course it never did, and I just waited to see if the problems would eventually sort themselves out. I mean, how hard is it to make sure a service you want to pay for, is working....?

July 13th, I decided to cancel Verizon. When I call in, I'm told Verizon doesn't need the modem back, and that the bill's been taken care of. I was kind of relieved. I said then, that while I wasn't happy with the DSL service, if Fios High Speed ever hits my area, I'd be willing to give it a shot, and I thanked the woman for her help.

July 16th, I get a bill from Verizon saying I owed $81.54. Figuring this was just an automted bill printed and mailed before I canceled and was given a zero balance, I paid it no mind and went about my billings.

July 25th, I get a bill from Verizon, saying my service has been disconnected for non-payment and that I now owe $94.21. I call in, and speak to a....well, let's just use his name of Jeremy, since there are a great many things I want to call him at THIS point. Jeremy tells me that it looked like I'd been OVERbilled on some things, and he was willing to give me a credit on those. But, that balance of I believe $78 stood firm as owed on the bill. When I ask why I should pay for services that never worked for two days after installation, he tells me, with a seemingly clear mind and voice, that there are no notations on the account of me calling in to complain about the TELEPHONE service, JUST the internet. And since that's what the $78 represented, I was required to pay it.

Trying to maintain my composure, I then asked to speak to a supervisor. I was transferred to someone who I believe referred to herself as Miss Smith. Smith repeated Jeremy's assertions that I'd never called in about the phone service being a problem(which is interesting, since I called in on july 6th to discuss getting the number BACK to Comcast and was told then, not to cancel services before Comcast got the number back, or it could be lost for good) and that I would have to pay the bill. I then made clear that Verizon had not rendered any service to ME, which met a standard of payment, and I would not be paying the bill PERIOD. I asked what would happen when Verizon wasn't paid, and through several grating back and forths, was told that Miss Smith had no information about that. I would have to speak to someone in the financial services department for that information, which was closed for the day.

TODAY, I called in at about 1:30pm. I spoke to four customer service representatives. I was blind-transferred BACK to the CSR queue three times before, by random chance, I got ahold of Nicole out of the Maryland Office. The first three....well, why sugarcoat it; they were **bleep**. They heard nothing I said, did nothing to help, and just transferred me to get themselves out of my line of fire. I had to repeat account verification four times, the same story four times, and hear the same responses THREE times. Only NIcole (whom I'm singling out here for GOOD reasons) actually DID something. She zeroed out my bill, and got me to a clean slate with Verizon.

I'm writing all of this because I feel Call Centers do far too little to uplift the few GOOD people working for them. Pretty much everyone else I spoke with, was a drone who had nothing to say that an automated voice couldn't have done with less aggravation. In particular, the three I spoke with today before Nicole, need to be released from their jobs. Telling me they were all going to get me to a Financial Services Supervisor,  then just blind-transferring me to another person without even marking on my account that I'd spoken with them was bad enough. but the rote like, script adherance of "I'm sorry you're having problems today Mr. Handy, let me fix that for you" was jsut barely tolerable. This was the very kind of treatment I was LEAVING Comcast over. I firmly intended today to be the LAST time I ever dealt with Verizon, just because of those people.

Nicole is the only light I had in this darkness. Without transferring me, without putting me on hold or lying to me, she jumped right in and resolve my problems. I didn't get scripted ansewrs from her. I got a person. I got someone who wanted to fix a customer's bad experience so that they could be a customer again. And singlehandedly, she saved my relationship with Verizon. Assuming what she said happened to my bill will actually go through, I'm more than willing to give Fios High Speed a try when it finally hits my area. And you can lay that squarely on Nicole's shoulders. The others, need to be let go. They did nothing, said nothing, and solved nothing, but Verizon is paying their bills. If that's your idea of quality customer service, seek professional help.