Thursday, June 22, 2006
or... what happens when customer service people wait too long.
Inside the Verizon bill was an ad telling me I could now (now!) get unlimited calling for 34.95, which seemed like a bargain, since I typically pay about $60 per month no, and barely even use it.
Dialing in Massachusetts used to be very complicated, when going to any area code other than one's own was a long distance call, even if it was 5 miles away. You had to buy into a multi-tiered calling plan based on dialing zones, which no one could understand, so when "unlimited" calling finally became the norm, I just picked one and kept it.
And it is true I don't pay for long distance calls. But I don't make many of them either, and I have a $60 bill. So this little ad got my attention. But 5 minutes on hold gives someone a lot to think about.
First it made me think that a 5 minute Average Wait Time in my call center will get a Hush Puppy in everyone's butt, if the Boss's sweaty head doesn't explode before he makes it down the whole floor.
I had time to read the entire brochure, while listening to the vaguely contemporary christian hold music -- and I would like to look into that more, as in "what's up with that?" Unfortunately, I didn't have time to hear a whole line of anything to support my hypothesis before the Voice of the Company broke in to apologize.
"When I look up.... [we apologize for the wait. Please continue holding and someone will be with you shortly]... the promise of a new...[we apologize for the wait. Please continue holding and someone will be with you shortly]...to honor you...[we apologize for the wait. Please continue holding and someone will be with you shortly]... glory...[we apologize for the wait. Please continue holding and someone will be with you shortly]"
Promise-honor-glory? This is not mentioned in the site FAQs.
But it is called The Freedom Value Plan.
I started to realize, as I read the brochure, that the real cost of my plan is 41.95. The rest is tax and fees: the "federal subscriber" line charge, the bring-the-internet-to-Appalachia fee, the help disabled people call an ambulance fee , the fund the Spanish-American War fee.... At the rate of $1.50 a month, you'd think I'd be able to visit Cuba.
$7. I'm on hold for five minutes for $7?
"You and I can't walk on water... [we apologize for the wait. Please continue holding and someone will be with you shortly]....
"I'm sorry, say your name again for me?"
[pause-pause] "Ok,thanks. I actually think I answered my own question. I had some time to read through this brochure while I waited." (because I know this call is recorded) "It occurs to me," I say, "occurs" being one of those words that sounds marvelously FM when I say it over the phone, and will show MarbioManko's monitors how absolutely crappy his voice and diction are, "that this 34.95 represents the plan cost, but the taxes and fees will stay the same, won't they?" I am hoping I can trap him into admitting that they will, in fact, cost me more.
He says, "the sales tax might be less."
"Of course," I say, as if he has helped me to this realization, "I see that now. So the real difference for me would be seven dollars?"
I leave that question out there. I learned in my own telesales training... the person who breaks the silence loses. Marbio may know this trick as well, but since he hasn't learned diction and modulation, and his company hasn't learned how to reduce AWT, I figure not.
Finally he says, "Yes." So sadly. So career-endingly sadly.
"Yes," I say, "Thanks for clarifying that for me."
"May I ask you howyouaccesstheinternetathome -- is it dialup, braband, or digidull caboo?"
BRAband? Yes, I access the Internet through my bra.
"No, thank you. Good night." and peace be with you.