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February 28, 2005

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How Not To do e-Customer Service: "Call Us"

Our local telephone service provide, Qwest, has these smarmy tv commercials with customers gushing how great the Qwest "Spirit of Service" is.

I will not be starring in any of these soon.

Regular CDB readers will know we periodically bark and growl about bad online customer service, so here is chapter 22 in the novel.

Three times in a 30 day span our home telephone service wigged out and went dead. It is no longer a big deal since we average one cell phone per occupant. And Qwest was fairly good at dispatching a repair person in a timely manner.

The issue was that we are not home when the service person arrives, and although my adult step-son is very responsible at handling the service people, on the last two calls I made a simple request when I placed the order-- I wanted the repair person to call me on the phone to explain exactly what the problem was and how it was repaired. A "spirit of service" would be at a minimum to say just what the heck you did.

Despite making the request crystal clear on the last two calls, I never got a call back on the summary of the repair.

So I wandered off to the customer service area of the Qwest web site (5 clicks to get to an email form). I briefly and un-sarcastically explained what is written above, and asked why this simple request was not honored. Upon sending, the form's CGI script crashed my browser, so I suspected it had gone to the great missing sock bureau of the net, but actually I was surprised to get one of those automated bot replies, "We got your message and someone will get back to you in XX hours/days/years".

Yes, this is all trivial, but here was the clincher in the customer service response:

Dear Alan,

Thank you for notifying us about the unsatisfactory customer service experience that you recently encountered. Please accept our apologies for not meeting your expectations.

If you would like to talk to a manager please call 1-800-573-1311 for our repair department and ask for a manager. They will be able to process your complaint.

Thank you for choosing Qwest. Have a great day!


Qwest Customer Care
Consumer Markets

So if I get this correctly-- I sit down and fully explain my complaint. Two days later, their response is to take more time to call someone and say the exact thing again. This is just plain stupid, and is no service to this customer. Why am I filling out a web form with my complain if I have to call it in?

I replied and let them I had no intent of wasting more time to tell them what I already told them, along with a reminder that their competitor, the local cable company, offers home telephone service (okay, sarcasm creeps in). I gave them my phone number, and said I expect them to contact me.

The latest response:

Dear Alan,

Thank you for your recent e-mail to Qwest in regards to having a manager from our Repair department call you. I apologize for the delay in responding to your e-mail and for any inconvenience you have experienced.

I have referred your request directly to our Repair Call Handling Center. A manager from our Repair department should be in contact with you soon.

"Soon" is one of those fuzzy lengths of time which is now getting near 2 weeks.

Bottom line-- listen up business folks-- if you tout your eCustomer Service than you getter deliver on it.


blogged February 28, 2005 07:24 AM :: category [ web bad dog ]
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Like you, I have had problems with Qwest -- I actually was told by one manager after they had royally screwed up my phone service that "People depend too much on telephones these days." If there were an alternative in my area, you can bet that I'd switch. Immediately.

At least it's reassuring to know that I am not alone in my disgust and disdain for the company.

Commented by: Bud Hunt on February 28, 2005 06:03 PM

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