My mom has been a Verizon customer for several years. So have I. We may not be for much longer, though. My step-dad passed away last week. Part of the insane amount of paperwork that needed to be done to finalize his affairs was to turn off his mobile phone and put the account under mom’s name. She also wanted to add a line to her account and put my sister’s phone on her account. To get this all accomplished, they headed over to a local Verizon store. Here’s are two of the many things that went wrong trying to complete the goals …
My mom has been a Verizon customer for several years. So have I. We may not be for much longer, though.
My step-dad passed away last week. Part of the insane amount of paperwork that needed to be done to finalize his affairs was to turn off his mobile phone and put the account under mom’s name. She also wanted to add a line to her account and put my sister’s phone on it. To get this all accomplished, they headed over to a local Verizon store.
Here are two of the many things that went wrong trying to complete the goals:
- There were several computer glitches during the process of turning off the one phone and transferring the accounts. At one point, the person helping mom was on the phone, presumably to Verizon’s tech support team. At one point, whoever he was talking to hung up. The guy looked at my mom and told her the person cussed at him and hung up before the problem was fixed.
- While using my mom’s phone on speaker, the guy at the store was talking to another person from Verizon. The Verizon person said there was something outstanding on the account having something to do with an item that was sent in for warranty service and a replacement was sent back but there was no record of Verizon receiving the defective item. This was something that happened almost a year ago. The item in question was shipped to Verizon before the replacement was sent, so it was hard to understand what the problem was. The person from Verizon said (while on speaker, mind you), “Let’s assume for a minute the customer isn’t lying about this.”
At this point, my mom took the phone from the store person, hung up and walked out.
So, let’s review:
- A member of the tech team charged with helping the stores function verbally abused one of the people who work hard to support the customers who, ultimately, pay their salaries.
- A member of another team charged with helping those same store personnel accused a customer of lying about a transaction right in front of the customer.
Needless to say, my mom was pretty ticked off when she got home. She was in the store for 3 1/2 hours and accomplished nothing. As she relayed her story to me, I got pretty ticked off myself. I decided to sent out a tweet:
I got a reply fairly quickly:
To which I replied:
Which elicited this response:
At this point, I thought to myself that we might be able to get some issues settled. So, I followed and DMed. Here’s the conversation that ensued:
I thought the link they DM’d to me would be some sort of easy way to communicate with the “Correspondence Team.” The link actually led to the regular “Contact Us” page on Verizon.com. I went over it several times and couldn’t find an email address or a form with which to submit my complaint – only phone numbers and live chat. I didn’t have time to deal with a phone tree or a live chat.
My last DM received no response.
What were the problems here? There were several:
- The tech team member was verbally abusive to the store team member – What is up with that? Both of these people are really on the same team – the Verizon team. This is certainly a leadership issue. You cannot expect good team members to stay good or stay with you if you allow this type of behavior. The team members will either leave or become so disillusioned that they will be ineffective; neither of which is a good option. The fact that this was done in front of customers made this even worse.
- Another support team member accused a customer of lying while the customer was standing there listening – Anyone who has worked with customers has been tempted to complain about them with their coworkers. It’s one thing to wait until the customer leaves and then go into the back room to blow off some steam. It’s quite another to do so right in front of the person. This is another leadership issue. This type of demonstrated bad attitude needs to be quickly dealt with before business is lost. All it takes is one incident to lose that customer and, potentially, anyone who that customer tells.
- There was no follow through on the customer complaint – I’ve written in this space before that you cannot limit the ways you are willing to communicate to customers. I preferred to email my complaint to Verizon, but it appeared that I was not able to do so. That is a huge problem, especially for a media company that provides email service. The fact that no one responded to my last DM was also an issue.
- The Social Media team was not empowered or equipped to handle the problem – This is related to the previous issue. When I read, “… so we can report their behavior” I rather expected some action. There was none.
- I understand that there may be a third party vendor monitoring Verizon’s social media. That’s pretty standard and a good practice. If that’s the case, it’s understandable that the people responding on Twitter are not equipped to handle email from customers. If that is the case, though, there should be procedures in place to escalate complaints and allow for a smooth transition between the social media team and those who are able to deal with issues. That can be done in a way that’s nearly transparent to the customer.
- On the other hand, if the social media team is part of Verizon, then this is completely inexcusable.
- The people who have front-line contact with customers need to be empowered and equipped to handle issues or have a clear way to escalate customers’ problems to those who are.
So, maybe someone at Verizon will read this and do something about these issues. They may lose my and my mom’s business, but maybe they can make some changes and keep their other customers.
Update: Someone at AT&T is on the ball. Within minutes of me tweeting out a link to this story, I received this response:
Too opportunistic? Perhaps. Maybe I’ll check them out a little closer as I look for another provider.