Your call is very important to us...Part 4

Part four in a series. Part three is here.

Here’s a new twist I found on customer service. A certain satellite television provide advertises on their web site that they have “Better Customer Service for All” and on their contact page it says “Superior Customer Service”. So can you guess what it is like to call them?

They are responsive, and you don’t have to wait long to get attention. There is the usual tiresome menu system to wade through but if you press “0” you get straight through to customer service. Sounds good so far, doesn’t it? Now the fun begins.

You basically have to prove you aren’t an idiot to get any kind of real help. And it isn’t that simple to prove. and you have to do it every time you call.

Let me explain. I have had the same digital video recorder/receiver now for more than 6 years. I was probably one of the first to get the technology. Over the course of that time it has begun to have difficulties. Most of these are probably software bugs, but I don’t have access to the internals so I can’t be sure. It locks up when recording. It shuts off and restarts by itself. It stutters, it fails to record at the appointed time. Having dealt with customer service before I know the routine. Reboot the unit. Wait for the satellite signal to reconnect. They put you through all the steps. Have you checked the cable connections? Is your TV on the right channel? Is it plugged in? Can you move the unit to another television? All good troubleshooting steps.

So the other day the receiver just stops giving any signal to the television at all. Reboot doesn’t work. Check the cables. It is showing a green light but nothing. Replace the cables. Nada. Finally I call the “superior” customer service. And I have to proceed through all the troubleshooting steps on the phone with the customers service representative. Forget that fact that I know the receiver is malfunctioning. I must do it all over again for the benefit of the person receiving my call. By the time I get to the part where I’m supposed to connect to a different television I am getting pretty upset. And then she tells me that I should call back after I have moved the receiver to another TV.

So I call back in a few minutes, because of course it doesn’t work and I already knew this. And I can’t get the same representative on the phone. (By the way, the customer service people sound like they are from southeast asia, not that it matters, it could just be chinatown in the U.S., but they are following a script and you can tell.) So what does this person do? Starts me over at the beginning. I try to explain to them that I have already taken all these “steps” but she informs me that I must comply and follow the instructions or she cannot send a replacement unit. Once again I find myself being asked if I checked the wall plug of my TV. Did I press the correct button on my remote, etc., etc.

In frustration I hang up and get my laptop to connect to their online chat “service”. Same thing again. But this time I cajole and insist and whoever it was that was handling things online finally agrees to replace the defective unit.

So I am sitting there looking at a black screen, and finally give up and turn everything off. Now comes the good part. The next day, I power the thing up just for the heck of it and it works again. Oh well, I am still going to swap it out when the replacement arrives because it is so damn flaky.

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