Buyers Be Aware

You have to wonder now days what large corporations are thinking when it comes to customer service. Years ago companies seemed to care about their customers and what they thought. Keeping a customer was as important as getting a new one. Word of mouth was the best advertising for a company.

Now companies pay big bucks for commercials lined with small print on the bottom that no one can read on a television advert. They offer great deals and when the customer calls in they find out what the fine print said.. ‘Tough luck this is for new customers only’. Instead of customer loyalty for good service received they lock you into a high buy out contract for years.. So no matter how horrible the company treats you, in order to cancel your service, you pay dearly.

I work for a company that takes the word of all associates that work for commission over the word of the customer.. If the previous representative did not notate that they were making a mistake on the account than the customer pays the price.

If the greedy salesman decides to add a product to the account without telling the customer, to earn a few more pennies commission, it’s too bad for the customer. Of course notes on the account may say it was added but it is not going to say that it was done so fraudulently.

Our company says to take the word of every salesman over the word of the customer. And if it isn’t on the account notes we cannot take the customer’s word for it. Don’t they think that some sales people may be fleecing their own pockets at the customers expense? Or that they might have made a mistake? What happened to common sense?

I spend hours a day telling customers ‘Sorry Mr. Customer, What you were told was not true and so sorry but you were lied to. You will have to pay for it because the previous person you talked to, that hosed you, did not put a note on the account stating he was lieing to you. Nor did they note that you really did not ask for that service to be added to your bill. So this month you have to pay for their lie, but I can change it for the future so you are not made to pay for it again next month. (I am paraphrasing of course.. I have to be creative in letting the customer know they’ve just been ripped off.)

Or better yet… I am sorry Mr. Customer I see that you did call in last month, But since there is no note saying you added a product, even though you never used it until this month in excessive amounts, you are going to have to pay for the usage of that service at the higher casual rates.. But I can add that on there for you in the future.’

It doesn’t matter any more if the salesperson or customer service representative made a mistake. The customer pays for it either way. With no proof on their behalf.

How many times do we hear when we call customer support that the call may be recorded. It’s not being recorded for the purpose of keeping the customer safe. It is for grading the associate for following set rules for the call flow. Or for using the call for training purposes. Ninety-nine percent of the time it’s not being recorded.

So what can a customer do to protect himself when he is locked into a contract that he has to pay hundreds of dollars to get out of? How can he win? It is a really hard game to play. Buyer beware. Here are a few ideas to help safeguard yourself:

1. Read those contracts before you buy... So it takes you an hour to read the small print.. Take the time.. Ask questions till you fully understand.

2. Ask phone associates to make notes on your account and ask them to read the notes to you before you end the call. That way if something is missing you can ask them to notate it as well.

If you have a doubt they really wrote the notes they are reading, call back and ask the next representative to read the notes to you.. They may give you a hard time, but do it anyway.. It’s your name on that contract and your dollar in your pocket that will pay for their mistakes.

3. Read your bills every month. Not just once every 6 months. Most companies have a limit on how long you have to dispute a incorrect bill and a limit on how many bills they will go back to correct error.

4. Be polite to the person on the other end of the phone.. They don’t make the rules they just work there. Yelling and cussing is not going to get you what you want in the long run. Believe me you get much further being nice than yelling at a customer service representative. If someone is yelling at you tell me you wouldn’t, do as little as possible and hurry to get you off the phone. They are not going to take the time to look for errors on your account or go that extra mile to find a way you might save money on your service.

5. Don’t ever assume. If you don’t understand something ask questions until you understand.. People can’t read your minds.. The person on the other end of the phone doesn’t know you or how you use your service.. There are many uses for the same service and people use things differently.

6. Password protect your information and don’t share your password with other people.

It’s sad to say but it is a dog eat dog world out there and the corporations are the bigger and stronger dog.. .

1 Comment

  • By Meridian, January 30, 2007 @ 9:50 pm

    Yeah I used to work for a phone company regarding the exact same thing. When I was working on the floor, trying to sell products via telephone, there were certain procedures I had to go through in order to sell that product. But some of my co-workers used to say, “you don’t have to say all of that…” What? If I half-way tell a customer that they are getting an Unlimited Plan or an Essentials Plan for $29.99 a month and mention call-waiting, caller ID, but don’t mention three-way-calling (the feature they don’t want) and still add it up there anyway…. they are getting something they don’t need. In addition, if don’t walk them through all there is to know…like checking their account to see if they don’t have an outstanding bill before I offer and sell the product —- then they will have a major problem…. which also means, I could get fired for worrying about being the head leader of my team in sales, concerning competition rather than worrying about meeting the exact needs of my customer and letting her/him know all there is to know before they receive it in the mail.

    Another excellent blog Dreamer!

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