Vent: Don't CSR's know how to use Google?

P4i6g / P4i65g
September 17, 2011 at 19:51:20
Specs: Windows XP Home 2002, Asrock 2.8GHz / 2 Gb
This is more of a vent than a real question...

Is it that Verizon Customer Service Reps don't know how to use Google or aren't they allowed to?

Case in point:

I just got a Droid 3, my first smartphone. There was something weird happening with my contacts so I called Verizon. I pay them a ton of money every month for my family plan, so I try to get my money's worth by taking advantage of their free support.

I described my problem, they agreed it was weird, never heard of it, etc. They bumped me up to 2nd level, who also agreed it was weird and suggested that I perform a factory reset to see if that fixed it. Reluctant to lose everything I had just set up on the phone, I declined their suggestion and went looking around on the web.

A simple Google search quickly showed that not only was it a fairly common problem, but a couple of forums even revealed the cause: Verizon's very own Backup Assistant app. The fix was to use Gmail to back up the contacts and drop Backup Assistant.

So I tried to sync my contacts with my Gmail account before I turned off Backup Assistant and couldn't get it to work. OK, let's give Verizon another chance. "Sorry", says the CSR (after having to check with someone else) "You can only back up new contacts to Gmail as you add them. You can't backup the existing ones to Gmail."

Back to Google for another search and a few minutes later I was creating a CSV file from the contacts stored on line via...wait for it...Verizon's very own Backup Assistant! Upload the CSV file to Gmail and all of my contacts are now stored in my Gmail account. Why didn't the Verizon CSR's know that this utility was available on their own website?

With just a tiny bit of effort, these CSR's (or a dedicated "Verizon Google Search Team") could search user forums, find out what issues people in the real world were having and store it in a database so that they could help their customers.

Sure, maybe they wouldn't want to suggest customers drop the Verizon apps or admit that there was a problem with them, but if they knew what the issue was, maybe they could work on fixing it. Let's say I tried their "factory reset" suggestion and the problem came back the day. What would they do next? Send me a new phone? Since that wouldn't solve the problem either, what would they do next? Tell me it can't be fixed?

All right...I've got it all out (for now).

Thanks for listening!

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September 18, 2011 at 02:28:03
Sadly these type of responses are all too typical from 'Customer Services' of many (often large) organisations, not only in the computer industry.

Even if one emails them with full details, often either no or an idiot response is received.

Cannot understand how their senior management accepts this, as it reflects so much on the company concerned.

When I was involved in providing such services, we endeavoured to deliver continued excellance.

Regards - Mike

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September 18, 2011 at 02:58:35
I don't know about verizon but speaking as an EX csr for another carrier NO they are not allowed to use google. This is why I am an EX! I had a lady call in and right away she stated that this was her fourth call. She said she had already been sent to two differnt levels of tech support, which we did have because apparently there is a group of tech guys that actually know supposedly what they are doing but want their calls screened so that they only handle the really important stuff. While the rest of us are always on a call these guys answer maybe ten calls a day.

Anyway when I got on the phone with her I went step by step through there little Q & A stuff that we were required to do. I found this out by being able to answer a question without wasting time doing it. I got a repremand for it. After the q & a on to the next level of about fifteen questions designed to narrow down the issue. This was no help.

The next step was to transfer her to teer two tech support again. She said after the way she had been treated by them she would rather take the phone back and get her money back. Since I was at the bottom of the food chain there was nothing I could do in their system so I did a google search on the problem. I found that it had something to do with some network or connection setting due to some issue they had in that area. There was a conflict with emergency services or something so they had to change something. It's been so long I forget what it's called.

All we had to do was change to another built in network access point or something like that. I walked her through it figuring the phone didn't work now and she was going to take it back so what could it hurt. After the change I made her shut it off and turn it back on. I told her I would call her on another line to test it but I was to late it was already ringing. She was tickled I figured I did a good thing and we were done.

I made note of it so I could ask one of the tech support guys about it when I went on my next break but I made the mistake of talking to my supervisor instead. Hegave me another repremand and told me to meet with his supervisor after my lunch break.

When I came back from lunch I was fired. Not for using google. I was suspended for two days for that. I was fired for telling the 26 year old supervisor and the tech support lead that they where jack@$$es and probibly couldn't find their own backsides with a road map.

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September 18, 2011 at 03:10:22
After working at a couple different call centers now it seems to me, maybe I am wrong, that there is no real tech support. No guy that really knows how to care for or fix the equipment. Even in the upper teers everything is scripted for them. I am sure you do it long enough you'll pick up on things but it just isn't the same to me. I've gotten responses like "Really? Are you sure you followed my instructions because I don't have that listed as an option here." This leaves me thinking that over the phone tech support is a myth.

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September 18, 2011 at 06:40:08
Well, if I'm going to paint the CSR environment in a negative manner, I should be fair and tell a positive (well, mixed) story too.

My daughter is having problems with her Mac. The battery will only run for about 2 hours. We have a 3 year Apple Care service contract so we called Apple. She's away at college so we did a 3-way conference call. The tech walked her through some key strokes, ask for some numbers about battery cycles, etc. Nice guy. His conclusion was that "something wasn't right" but it didn't sound like a "depleted battery" (which wouldn't be covered) so he suggested she take the laptop to an Apple store for further troubleshooting.

The closest Apple Store is about an hour from her college so she made a weekend appointment and drove down with a friend. She called me and said the tech says the battery is depleted: "For $129 we'll can put a new one in right now."

I conferenced in Apple Care and based on the notes from our last call, they bumped us right up to Tier 2. The Tier 2 tech had her go through some steps and agreed that it didn't sound like a depleted battery and he wanted to talk to the Apple store tech and find out what he did to come to that conclusion.

Here's where things get a bit "mixed" between positive and negative:

He put us on hold and tried calling the store. He came back on and said all he got was a busy signal which is strange because there should have been a "You are # 3 in are #2 in line..." message. He said that he could talk to the tech on my daughter's cell, but that we could not be on the line because their rules state that when Tier 2 talks to a store tech, the customer can not be on the line. Fine. He took my daughter's call phone number, called her back and asked her to give the phone to the store tech. OK, so this is "positive". I've got a guy who really wants to help and see if we can get the battery covered under warranty.

Here's where things take a turn for the worse...

A few minutes later I get a text from my daughter who says she leaving the store, she doesn't have time to deal with it anymore, she'll try again some other time.

As it turns out, the Apple store tech refused to take the call from the Tier 2 guy because "We are not allowed to use customer cell phones to talk to internal support staff. They have to call in on the store line." When my daughter explained that the guy has been trying to call for ten minutes and all he gets is a busy signal, the store guys tells her to tell him to just keep trying.

My daughter told the Tier 2 guy what the store tech said and she also told him that she couldn't stay there any longer because her ride had to get back to school.

The Tier 2 guy gave my daughter his direct extension and told her to call him directly before she goes back to the Apple store so he can try to call ahead and speak to the tech to find out why he thinks the battery is depleted.

So on one hand, we've got a Tier 2 guy that really wants to help and has gone out of his way to speak to the Apple store tech and on the other hand we have a bunch of "rules" and bad phone systems that prevent him from having that conversation.

The unfortunate part is that since my daughter is an hour away from the Apple store, getting this issue resolved in a timely manner is going to be difficult.

When I spoke to the Tier 2 guy later that day, he said he will keep the case open and that we should call him before going to any Apple store so he can work with them to get this resolved.

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September 18, 2011 at 22:26:17
Makes one wonder if someone designs this system to fail in this mannor. This is why I turn down the optional/additional service contracts on products anymore. Growing up my father insisted on the extra protection. We bought a lot of stuff from Sears back then and they seemd to stand behind their stuff. Nowadays I am not sure many do anymore. Your "Apple" trouble is a prime example to me of "if we make it difficult they'll just give up and go away and we have still honored the contract.". I wonder how many billions each year companies make from this scam?

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September 20, 2011 at 18:54:11
While I typically opt out of extended contracts, with my girls going off to college where I can't be there to assist, I felt it was a good idea. Had it been a PC where I (or anyone with a screwdriver) could swap out components, I might not have but I felt that it made sense with the Mac's. I actually still do, because...

"if we make it difficult they'll just give up and go away...'

Ain't gonna happen! Not only do they have to prove to the senior tech that the battery is depleted and not defective, they're going to have to prove it to me. When my daughter comes home for 4 days in a few weeks, it'll be me who shows up for the appointment at the Apple store and I don't "go away" very easily.

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September 21, 2011 at 21:56:02
I don't blame ya at all. The coverage is a good idea and seeings how you paid for it make them fix it. But for everyone of you that gets it done there are atleast 50 that give up. I still see this as a scam because they know the majority will go away.

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