Customer service providers not always helpful

By Kevin Wilson: Freedom Newspapers

I could write a whole column on the times people have ended a conversation by telling me, “You’re mean.” But I will prove I’m too nice.

A few weeks ago, I got a call on my cell phone with the ID identified as “private.” I answered, asked who it was, and got hung up on. This happened four more times that day.

I decided I wanted to block these “private” numbers. I called my cellular provider’s customer service number. What follows is my call to the customer service rep, paraphrased with names changed.

Wendy: Thank you for calling customer service. This is Wendy.

Me: Hi, Wendy. I got some calls from a number with the caller ID blocked, and it was bothering me. I was wondering if I could block those types of calls.

Wendy: Actually, sir, we don’t do that. You could just not answer, and it won’t go against your plan minutes. Could I get your account number?

Me: 760-XXXX.

Wendy: OK, Mr. Wilson. And you just got a new phone?

Me: Yes.

Wendy: I noticed you didn’t get insurance. For $6 a month, if you lose or break your phone, you just pay $50 to get a new phone instead of full price.

Me: No, thank you.

Wendy: Are you sure?

Me: Yes. I’ll call back if I change my mind.

Wendy: OK, Mr. Wilson, is there anything else I can help you with?

Me: No, thank you.

I was way too nice, and it got me nowhere. Now, let’s imagine how the converstaion would have played out if Mean Kevin had made the call.
Wendy: We don’t do that currently, sir. You could just not answer, and it won’t go against your plan minutes.

Mean Kevin: Oh, that’s convenient. I don’t have to pick up my phone if I don’t want to? I could just hear it ring for 20 minutes instead? Wow, I’d never thought of that. Thank you so much.

Wendy: Could I get your account number?

MK: Well, if you’ll call me back with a better solution, it’s worth the intrusion. 760-XXXX.

Wendy: OK. Well, Mr. Wilson, you just got a new phone?

MK: Yes, and new accessories because none of my old ones are compatible.

Wendy: I noticed you didn’t get insurance. For $6 a month, if you lose or break your phone, you just pay $50 to get a new phone instead of full price.

MK: Hmmm … pay $144 over two years and receive no refund if I take care of my phone, or pay nothing and get the same result? I’ll stick with free.

Wendy: Is there anything else I can help you with?

MK: I can’t answer that question. You didn’t help me with anything. I had a problem, you couldn’t solve it, and then you tried to sell something. You can’t say “else” in this situation.

In this scenario, I have fun and customer service gets a few pieces of needed feedback. But instead, I used good phone manners.
In retrospect, that probably was the mean thing to do, wasn’t it?