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To Rant to a Human, Press 1

4/09/2012 12:01 AM Eastern

Cable companies are working hard to make sure
customers aren’t waiting around for hours, hoping a
technician will show up.

They’re also making it easier for customers to get help
without having to pick up the phone: Read about Comcast’s
Customer Central portal.

Sometimes, though, you just have to call and rant.
How the company on the other end deals with you can
make all the difference in whether you continue being a
customer. Even if they don’t tell you what you most want
to hear.

People skills still matter in our online-chat world.

I had my say in two calls with our home wireless provider
last week and, more than once, threatened to cancel
my service after more than a decade with this unnamed carrier.
(Hint: It’s not one of the top two.)

I had what I thought was logic on my side, as well as common
sense, reason and an unbelievably long track record with the unnamed
company, given the numbers of customers it has
lost over the years.

I was sure some creative solution would come out of it if
I spoke firmly enough, to enough people.

Service rep No. 1 felt my pain but couldn’t authorize
the fix I wanted: to replace an oft-repaired phone with
some other, similar but different, phone. Rep No. 2,
same thing. The loyalty card wasn’t the trump I thought
it would be. Rep No. 2 pointed out that all carriers have
similar warranty agreements with equipment makers, so
if I switched I’d face the same dilemma. Logic was on rep
No. 2’s side.

Somewhere along the way, rep No. 1 had told me how
she dealt with the issue I faced — replacing a teenager’s
phone without spending a lot of money — by buying a preowned
phone online. No one had suggested that before.

Finally, I decided that was the best course, and felt better for having
ranted and threatening to leave.

It wouldn’t have been quite as satisfying in a chat.

 

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April