April 29, 2008

Phone Line Personalities

My internet connection, cable TV, and phone were all behaving erratically, so I called Customer Service at Comcast - the provider of all three. I told the Customer Service Rep my theory is, that the high temperature outside is causing the fluctuation, because I only notice it during the afternoon, never the morning nor night. The Rep said, a Tech visit tomorrow.

The next day, two Techs show up at my doorstep and tell me, 5 of my neighbors also complained, so multiple Techs happened to run into each other and together figured out the problem. My theory was right... the box up on the neighborhood pole can't take the high temperature and needs to be replaced. I asked the Techs if they need to enter my home and take a look at anything and they said, "No, it is all outside up the pole."

A few days later, I get my monthly bill from Comcast and tagged onto it is an additional $49.95 for the Tech's visit. Surprised, I got on the phone with Customer Service and requested that they remove this charge. The Rep kept saying, that I had called for a Tech, so I will be charged for a Tech, but if I want to get the 99 cent a month protection plan, the $49.95 will be waived.

I argued, that if I messed with Comcast's equipment in my home, then I should be charged, but since the problem was outside on the neighborhood pole, I should not have to pay for it. The Rep repeated her chant a few times... "You called a Tech, you have to pay!" I asked for a Supervisor and was put on hold for about 10 minutes then suddenly disconnected.

Rather upset now, because I have to call back and present my case all over again, I hit the redial button. The new Rep listened to my story and before I could mention what the previous Rep said, he said, "Ma'am, did the Comcast Tech step in your home or did he work outside?"

I said, "Outside" and in a split second the Rep said, "Ma'am, I am going to credit you $49.95... sorry for the inconvenience... thank you for using Comcast... is there anything else?"

Huh, what? No debate? There I was with my battle armor all ready to argue my case and his answer threw me off track. After an awkward silence I said in my non-battle tone, "Appreciate the credit, thank you very much!"

One lesson learned... you don't have to take the 1st Rep's word for real, hit redial and you might get lucky. Company rules might be in place, but at the end of the day it sounds like it is all about personality. Whom you get on the other end of the phone line and how you interact with them seem equally important.