7/12/2012

Verizon: Making Things Annoying One Customer At A Time

Yesterday it was finally time for my new every 2 cell phone upgrade. Since I was out and about, I stopped in at the Verizon store. It was maybe 5:45, the kids were in pretty good moods. I thought it would be a quick in and out operation. After all, I just wanted to buy a new device, not make any changes to anything.

Verizon seems to think that treating their stores like a doctor's office will make you feel like you're loved. So rather than having their sales people out and about where you can find someone who's not busy and get them to help you (you know, like most retail outlets), they want you to sign in. Then they have monitors all over to help you know when it's your turn. In theory this makes it easier to see people in the order they arrive. But if the person in charge of getting you signed in (since they won't let you sign yourself in anymore, you have to find the guy with the tablet and get him to do it) is nowhere to be found...you end up wandering around looking for someone who appears to possibly work there. Try doing this with two small children. It's fun!

So we finally track down the MIA manager and get signed in. As do all the other people who were milling around looking for him. The first person gets called. Ten or so minutes later, the second. But she's now nowhere to be found. Also nowhere to be found? The sign in guy, and there are at least four people looking to sign in and grumbling rather loudly about it. I only noted it smugly because my name was next. So when they gave up on lady #2, they called me.

Now, I am not anti-immigrant. I really am not. My ancestors were immigrants. But here's the thing, if you're going to work in a customer facing position, please do everything you can to lose the accent. Particularly if it is so thick that I think you are, in fact, speaking Ghanaian. If you aren't customer facing, then hey, we'll all live. But if your sole purpose at your job is to speak with and help people? I need to be able to understand what you're saying. Particularly since, with two small children, you have 80% of my attention, at best. (That number lowers dramatically when it's taken well over thirty minutes just to get a chance to try and start my transaction. There's only so much good behavior small kids can handle. Then they want to start getting into things.)

Ten minutes for him to look up my account and for me to call my dad to authorize me to buy a new phone. (We share a family plan. It's easier. Except when it's not. This would be an instance when it's not. But it's cheaper. So there's that.) Then finally: "What can I help you with?" "I want to upgrade my phone to a Droid 4." He goes and gets the box. Do I want to trade in my old phone (the POS) for a credit? How much of a credit? $31.I'm on the fence about this. I had thought to make it into a "keep the 4 year old occupied without having to sacrifice my own phone" toy. Finally I decide he's going to want to play on mine most of the time anyway, so sure. Let's trade her in.

There's a $30 upgrade fee.

What? What on earth for? Well, because they transfer the pictures and contacts over for you. So if I go home and do this online I don't have to pay it? No. You still have to pay it. But then what's it for? We've started offering in person and online classes to learn how to use your phone. But I don't want classes. I'm not 90. I can figure out how to use a phone. Too bad, so sad. You have to pay it if you want a new phone. Because we're Verizon and we like to charge our customers to do business with us. It makes them love us.

Fine. The "credit" for trading in my old phone negates the stupid tax. Move on. Let's go. The melting down is beginning and if you can't smell what the baby just did in his diaper, you're very lucky.

Your old plan is no longer available. What? I don't want to change my plan, I just want a new phone. Last time they killed my plan they grandfathered me in. No more grandfathering.

You know what? Give me the POS back. I will deal with it and take my squalling, stinky baby and my hungry, whining four year old home. Where I will research other phone carriers because, honestly, Verizon sucks.

At home, when diapers were changed and boys were fed and life had calmed down some there was research. Sadly, I think I'm stuck with Verizon. They have people over a barrel and are quite happy to spank them, cause they know you don't really have options. At least not good ones. So I'll just do the upgrade online and skip the language barrier and misbehaving children aspects of the transaction. Or, you know, give up on having a cell phone and just put a rock in my purse and pretend to talk on it. That's about what I've got with my current phone so it wouldn't be that big of a switch.

1 comment:

Lynellen said...

The upgrade fee is actually to help offset their corporate reduced profit (they still make a profit, just less than they could have) by selling phones at below-full-retail price.

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/new-iphone--carrier-cash-cow-.html