customer service · life

A journey around the world (otherwise known as a tale of two customer service experiences)

Unlike most people, I quite enjoy speaking with customer service people.  Add it to the long list of other strange things I enjoy: talking to telemarketers, writing reviews on everything, picking up every phone call I receive, etc. It rarely arouses any negative emotion from me with the exception of impatience, depending on the goal I’m trying to accomplish.

Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of calling both SiriusXM and Amazon back to back.  While very different experiences, they were both fairly pleasant.  SiriusXM (satellite radio) always renews at some astronomical rate that is always a surprise. The time interval it is on seems to be varied and the cost is never the same.  One of the things I do each morning is check each bank account or financial institution with whom I have an account to make sure that everything looks okay. On Tuesday, I saw a $230 charge on my account for Sirius.  I believe it’s the highest it’s ever been. I had thought J had paid some of this when he switched the service to the new car, so I was even more confused.

I called listener care and just continued saying representative until Mr. Bill picked up the phone and asked my purpose for calling.  Since it’s not my first rodeo, I know that I need to say that I’m considering cancelling my service. From there, he says he understands and transfers me to the “cancellation” department where Ms. Sally helps from there.  Most of their “listener care” department is in the Philippines and Sally was no exception. One thing that most people who are well-practiced in listening do is to repeat exactly what you say back to you. I really am not a fan of this practice in conversation, but I understand its importance in training phone calls.  So, Sally says, “Anne, I understand you’re upset and want to cancel the service. Instead of $230, I will give you the service for $120 for both cars for a year.”  Okay, so if you’re a rookie, you will feel two feelings here:

  1. What the fuck? With literally almost no effort, the price is now 52% of the original!
  2. I should accept this.

Rookies, listen here.  Sirius is the BIGGEST racket in the entire world and they aren’t forceful at all.  SPEND THE TIME (8 minutes total) to call.  I tell Sally that I don’t want to commit for a year and inquired about other terms.  Sally looked and found an extra special deal – $30 total for both cars for six months (what would be $60 per year).  That is 13% of the original price. I accept and they refund the difference to my card.  It’s one of the most infuriating organizations (in theory, not practice) that I’ve ever dealt with, but all I can do is share the knowledge that it takes 8 minutes to save 87% on your Sirius bill. If you enjoy it, it’s well worth your time.

Next, I had to call Amazon customer service. I’ve read many reviews on their customer service and it is a mixed bag.  Some people believe that it’s the measure of competency and others think they rest on their laurels. I couldn’t wait to find out for myself. I had ordered a new thermostat and it had a delivery delay notification.  Why, you might ask? Well, they couldn’t get through the code of my gated community to reach my door.  Hmm….  For those of you who don’t know me, I do not live in any sort of a gated community (unless you consider Zeppelin Wiggles to be a gate keeper, but he’s crated most of the time).  I was both concerned about the competency of the delivery driver and very much amused.

The call with Amazon was picked up after only one request to speak with a person. This gentleman hailed from the U.K. and was very cordial (like the cherries). He seemed apologetic when he stated that it looked like we were going to have to call the USPS (it was scheduled for Sunday delivery on Prime).  At first, I thought we were ending the call and he wanted me to call. Knowing full well I wouldn’t call, I was surprised and happy when he said he would need to place me on a brief hold to call them for me.

Three minutes later, he came back and explain that the delivery notification was mis-keyed and they simply had equipment troubles.  He assured me that the delivery would be made by Wednesday and for my trouble, he would give me $20.  I was flabbergasted.  It really wasn’t a big inconvenience; I just wanted to be sure that they knew where I lived. Anyway, I did not refuse it and promptly filled out a customer satisfaction survey.  The thermostat ended up arriving late in the evening on the day I called.

I suppose Amazon was the more successful call, but there was more money reaped from the Sirius call.  I look forward to my next experiences. I’m available for hire, as well.



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