29 October 2008

Verizon Wireless - Epitomizing Good Customer Service

Something about this move has made my interaction with customer service almost a daily happening. There have been both positive (24 Hour Fitness) and negative (Pacificare) experiences and I've decided to write about all of them. I want to sort it all out here, so my complaint & compliment letters are all concise.

Verizon Wireless

Last month, Jesse and I decided to get Broadband Internet access through Verizon Wireless. We're in a temporary place and did not see the point in paying $100 for Comcast to come and "install" a cable to the wall. We were also not about to get a phone line, then pay AT&T to also install DSL. Broadband was as fast as we needed, the same price as what we paying in Vegas, and portable. We signed up and started surfing. I got my first bill today and I was not pleased.

I thought the Internet access was unlimited. Likely my own wishful thinking. It's free up to 5GB of data usage. I think that's a lot. But for Jesse and I, it's not nearly enough. We eat 5GB and keep going. Our overages (at $.25 per MB) came in at $190. So add that to my PinkBerry service, and the 1.5 months of regular Broadband service and my bill was more than $300 after a discount through my job. I called Verizon and am pleased to report it's all been handled.

The woman on the phone apologized for my unexpected bill. I know she has to say that but it made me think she really would help me figure it out -- instead of try to convince me why I just had to pay it. She explained about the data usage, told where to look to keep track of it, checked where I was for this month, and reversed the $190 charge. It probably took five minutes. I was very satisfied with the whole thing.

Unfortunately, my 30 day trial is about to end and I'll be canceling the Broadband service. We're apparently Internet addicts and will need a much bigger fix.

(Have you seen the upcoming Blackberry Storm? I hope it comes in Pink)

Safelite Auto Glass

You might recall that car break in situation a little more than a week ago. My car was repaired by Jerry from Safelite Auto Glass. The company was recommended by my insurance company and has some sort of discount for Progressive customers. First of all, a person answered the phone when I called. That's important. He was pleasant, helpful, thorough, and patient. (I ended having to coordinate with Jesse and call back.) The next day, Jerry called to tell me what time he expected to arrive (within the 8AM - 12PM window) and he arrived at that time. He too was pleasant -- explaining what was going to happen and how long it would take. He vacuumed the glass, replaced the window, washed it and waited for me to test it. The whole thing took less than 45 minutes.

San Francisco Department of Parking & Traffic

Jerry from Safelite also recommended I contest the parking ticket I got that same morning. That's right - a parking ticket on a car missing a window. Thank you San Francisco Department of Parking & Traffic. The ticket was for parking outside of the lines. Had I pulled it out of the envelope then, I would have seen there was a second ticket for being in front of a broken meter. It didn't seem broken to me. It took my money and gave me credit. What else was it supposed to be doing. And as far and being outside the lines -- I work at 4AM. I parallel parked in between to cars. They were gone by the time the DPT arrived, but there was another car ahead of me and one behind me. So we all fit. And clearly I was near enough to a meter, since I was busted for using an allegedly broken one. Harrumph. I am now contesting both tickets.

Nevada Power, Now Nevada Energy

I paid our second-to-last power bill twice. My only inclination of having done so is that my checking register and my online banking statement were off by exactly $138. Despite the $138 credit AND the $110 deposit I gave them in 2005 as a deposit, Nevada Power (now Nevada Energy) sent me a final bill for $41.04. I called to protest and was on hold for 14:59 before I hung up. I paid the bill and called back after the check cleared. The woman told me my $138 will be mailed in 10 more days. I hung up before I could ask about the deposit and had to call back. The second woman was one of those "explain why you pay what you pay people," instead of one of those helpful Verizon types. That made me combative and condescending. She put me on hold and printed my bill. My deposit had been applied to my credit a year ago. That's all I needed to know.

Trinity Management

We rent from Trinity Management. Trinity by far has been the worst customer service since we've been in San Francisco. I had an agent before the move. I talked to her several times and emailed her as well. She's fine and seems competent. She's the only one. The day we moved in, I arrived at the rental office at 1:25PM only to find a sign saying no one would be back until 1:30. I waited there, while Jesse waited three blocks away, guarding the car full of stuff. I stood outside that office until 2PM, when a woman strolled in with a Frappucino and without remorse. I told her why I was there. She got my folder, watched me write out a check for the first two months' rent, then told me they could not take personal checks. I huffed to the bank, came back and tossed the money at her. I wanted to throw it, but I was an adult. She didn't have our mail key, and couldn't tell me why. There was nothing I could do in the face of her incompetence.

My agent later told me I needed an account number from the power company to exchange for my mail key.

Trinity Management also lacks some things I find to be basic: package notifications for example. We're supposed to check the office log for packages. They do not put any notice in your mailbox. UPS & FedEx do, but if you're planning to send me your condolences via the USPS, you'll have to warn me so I check the office. Or I can send some random girl to get it, since they don't ask for identification before they hand out packages. The bed is so uncomfortable, I have yet to sleep through the night. Once I was convinced I'm sleeping on my phone. Jesse thought we were laying on the box spring. We were both wrong. And then there's the whole car break-in in the underground "supervised" parking lot. The night after my window was busted, the car parked next to me had his window busted too. There we were -- tw0 busted peas in a patrolled Trinity Management pod.

As you can see, I'm brimming with consumer issues. I've lived here for a month, a week, and some days and already I've had my fill of 800 numbers and selection menus. I've also had positive experiences with the San Francisco Election Department, and Progressive. Still, I hope to be back below the customer service radar within weeks.