On the continual lowering of quality from large companies

I do not normally post things that are not strictly business here, but this is very business-related, and I felt that people should know. We here at QRA Computer Services use a Verizon pre-paid phone for the business line. We do this only as a last resort, as it is the only service that covers the many towns that we service. We use a pre-paid device in order to keep our costs low, and pass that on to the customer. Verizon Wireless however, does not have the same commitment to service and quality that we do here. Our phone’s speaker went out this week, so today we called to have it replaced. The first “customer service” agent we talked to took no time at all to run us through the steps and determine that it was indeed a faulty speaker (the only glimmer of light in this otherwise awful ordeal). Since this is a business number, we decided to put an old device on the line while the new phone is delivered. They then claimed that the device we were attempting to put on was active on another account. It had been replaced by another phone nearly two years ago, and then that phone had been upgraded. So, it clearly was inactive, and to prove it, we attempted to make a call from it, and was informed by an automated recording that the device we were attempting to call from was inactive. So, while they fumbled trying to find out how to deactivate an already inactive phone, I took it upon myself to active the device and within about one minute, I was able to make a successful call, despite being told by the person on the phone that it was not possible.

We then asked to finish setting up to have the old device replaced. The agent on the phone promptly transferred us…to the sales department, who then tried to tell us that to replace a prepaid phone, we only had to go to any retail store that sells verizon products, and purchase a new device. So we asked to be taken back to technical support. Over there, they claimed they could not replace the phone, and that could only be done by the manufacturer (which my experience as a salesman (I use the term loosely, because I fear being confused with the verizon people. I was a customer-oriented, service professional) at RadioShack (which by the way, STILL does great at providing the much needed buffer between verizon at their neglected, abused customers) tells me is generally handled by verizon)

Anyway, we then asked to speak with a supervisor due to our bad experience, and the supervisor said that there was nothing he could do, and that if we converted our account to a post-paid (contract) device, we could have a new phone shipped right to us. I WILL NOT use a contract with this business, as we will be switching to either Boost or Virgin Mobile as soon as Sprint’s tower upgrades are complete. I also advised them that I will be posting about our ordeal, and that I will advise every customer of this business against using Verizon at all costs.

We called the manufacturer, who told us that their standard procedure was to have us pay to ship the device to them, have it repaired, and then send it back, which would leave us without phone service for nearly a week, had we not used a personal device as a temporary replacement. This was not what verizon told us when we were told to call the manufacturer. They said that the manufacturer would send us a postage-paid box, we send it to them, and a new device would arrive within several days.

So, we called verizon “support” again, and were given yet another story, and told that we could, in fact, have the device replaced by Verizon, but she would have to find out a little more information. So, at the least, thank you customer service agent “Jeri” for your help, or at least attempt at helping, even though the people you were talking to had your hands pretty well tied.

But, in the end, the good folks over at Radioshack actually took care of us and are going to replace the faulty device because they actually know how to treat customers and know what it takes to have customer loyalty.

It is no wonder that so many people have told me they are jumping ship from verizon due to prices, terrible customer service, and limited plan options. Alternatives like Sprint, Boost, Virgin, Net10, and even TracFone are gaining so many new customers thanks to the money-grubbing behemoth that big red has become. They are one of the worst to deal with on the phone, in-store, and online. I expect that there will be one of two things happen. Either Verizon will ignore this post entirely, or we will receive a copy-paste response, apologizing for the inconvenience, and hoping that we can continue to be customers. And, on top of all of it, we were not offered any kind of reimbursement for the loss of service due to a faulty device, even before they knew we had a temporary one to use.

So, in summary, I encourage all people to bail on Verizon, and go over to companies with better service and commitment to their customers. After all, we know here that without happy customers, you don’t have repeat business, and if your competitors are quickly closing the gap in your advantage, you won’t be nearly as successful in the future. Don’t worry so much about sales, and worry more about quality, both in your products and services, and in your front-facing customer-representatives.

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