I’ve had it with customer service, and people not doing the jobs they were hired to do.

Like reading.

Having worked in customer service for quite a few years, I am prepared to cut CSRs quite a bit of slack.  I know they have a difficult, boring job in which they are expected to tolerate high levels of stress while sounding cheerful throughout.

However, could they at least listen, or read, depending on whether they are on the phone or using a chat interface?

I am a bit unusual in that I don’t expect the CSRs to fix everything, I know their limitations, but I do expect them to understand a problem when I have taken the time to lay it out for them.

For example:

I need to get into an old email account through Cox.  I’m aware it’s over the 180 day deactivation period.  However, the OTHER customer service people, with Star Wars: The Old Republic, insist that they need to use that address, and only that address, to help me with an issue I have, and they refuse to change it because I’ve already changed it once.  I could write pages about THAT interaction but won’t.  This one is about Cox.

Anyway, I let the chat rep know, fairly succinctly, that I just want to know if the account can be reactivated or recreated so I can use that old address.  I answer all his questions, I use complete sentences, and even proper punctuation.  I think he’s US-based, or at least has a good command of the English Language.

So he acknowledges my problem and sends me a knowledgebase article that purports to fix it.  I click on it, hopefully.

Nope!  My issue isn’t solved.  I explain it again, using even shorter sentences.  He says he’ll go research.

He sends me the same damn KB article.

After more discussion I finally pry it out of him that nobody can do what I”m asking so I’m pretty much SOL, since I can’t spoof a account and they aren’t allowing any new user-created ones at this time.  And, of course, the old email address would still be considered “taken” even though no one else can use it now.

At this point I’m pretty disgusted and I tell him thanks for nothing, and express my wish that he’d just read my original question and told me the truth from the beginning.

So, this brings me to my futile plea.  Considering that as a chat tech support rep, it is literally his job to read, why couldn’t he at least do that?  It would have improved his score and my opinion of the company, greatly. 

I shouldn’t feel like a freaking rock star just because I can comprehend the printed word.



If you are still unfortunate enough to be toiling in the galleys of customer service or tech support, I promise you that if you take the time to truly understand the customer’s problem you will be a DEITY among CSRs and will actually improve your metrics considerably.  You will also have to deal with far less trouble from customers, most of whom just want someone to give a crap, whether they can help or not.


By the way, If you’re wondering what I mean by “customer serviced,” think about cattle breeding.

A Tale of Two Bumpers



Once upon a time, I was driving home in my beloved Hyundai Elantra. I was sitting quietly in the turn lane, waiting for the green arrow, after dark.


I looked around, saw a large silver pickup behind me. I drove to the nearest parking lot, stopped, got out. The driver was a 16 year old girl in her dad’s pickup. “My foot slipped off the brake.” (Wouldn’t have happened if you were driving a standard, you ninny, because we were on flat ground!)

Fine. We exchanged insurance information. In the light of day I noticed a biiiig dent in the back bumper that I hadn’t seen at the parking lot. So I called their insurance for a claim. It was Geico. I have Progressive.

Geico says “fine, we’ll fix it or we’ll pay for it.” It sounded good. Now, a dent in a modern bumper involves replacing the shell that is over the real bumper. It’s about a thousand dollar repair, typically, if you use factory parts. Geico tried to tell me they could take the dent out by restretching the plastic. I talked to my mechanic, he said no, you need to replace the shell, because that area is going to be weak and you can’t just fix a dent in plastic. Not one like that, anyway.

More go-arounds between Geico and Progressive, and Progressive didn’t do squat to help me. I was being about $480 to pay for the repair. In the mean time, I was having to drive this modern Chevy rental while my car was in the shop, waiting to be fixed.

The Chevy was a whole other issue. The modern love of side impact air bags meant it had high doors, the car had a high stance, and the side posts were so thick it affected visibility. It had a million distractions and creature comforts inside but it drove and felt like a bubble.

The fight with Geico continued.  They kept wanting to only cover substandard repairs.  Eventually the claims adjuster became such a problem that my mechanic had to throw him off his lot – and Geico magnanimously offered a whole $90 extra… so I decided to give up the effort, turn the renal back in, and get my car back. I wanted to drive a real car again.

Now, I returned my carefully watched, pristine Chevy back to Enterprise. They did an inspection and found an almost invisible bit of spidering in the paint. The said I was liable for it – even though I hadn’t run into anything and had parked in protected areas. The said “oh, for damage like that, you have to replace the whole bumper cover, it’s a $1200 repair!”

Luckily, my partner kept at them till they agreed to look back at the last three renters of that car to see if any of them had reported damage. Eventually I got a letter back saying I was cleared of all liability.

I don’t want to deal with Geico again, they acted like crooks. Enterprise didn’t make me happy either. And I never, ever want to drive a modern Chevy again!

Give me my high performance, road hugging, good visibility, standard transmission, low distraction, 2006 Hyundai Elantra any day, dents or no. She’s tried and tested.