Monday, March 31, 2014

Online Customer Service Chat a Success?

It has been for me, although I'm sure most of us long for the good old days when you could go down to the local office and speak to a customer service representative. Some of you oldies might remember Ma Bell had an office down on 6th or 7th street in Eureka decades ago.

Just got done with my second online customer service chat. The first one was a while back when I wanted to discuss some issues with Dish Network. That went well with one issue resolved and the other understood. This time it was with Tracfone, my cell phone provider.

My cellphone switched to Roam yesterday for some reason. Hey, I'm at home. Why Roam? I didn't want to call them on the phone if only because the last few times there was a bit of a language problem. Their lame online tech support forum just told me to follow a link to a page where I could chat with a representative. I figured it worked well enough with Dish Network so gave it a try.

Went pretty well, although if you can't type that could be a problem. I don't know that the problem was resolved, although she did tell me that my phone's contract charged the same amount of time whether a call was local, roaming or long distance so roaming didn't really matter. I guess that's good enough, although the constant Roam warning on my view screen is annoying.

I mentioned to her that now I have to dial the area code in for local phone calls. I suspect they did something with the relay towers again. She just wrote back that they might have done some upgrade but they encourage everyone to use the area code, even for local calls. That sucks, although I suppose it's not too big a deal since I rarely use my cell phone.

So, I guess these online customer chat systems work ok. I'd call them a success if only because you can get away from trying to understand the Indians or Chinese on the other end of the line. That, and both times I've tried it I didn't get put on hold or have to deal with those telephone menus.  As soon as I submitted the required info, a representative typed in, "Can I help you?". Nice!

I'd much prefer having the good old fashioned local office in town so I could speak to someone face to face, but those days will soon be a part of history.


At 1:51 PM, Anonymous Julie Timmons said...

The Indians I get on Tracfone speak better English than a lot of people in Eureka.

At 3:02 PM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

I'll give the phone folks credit for one thing: they've nearly always been very patient with me and the situation.

One issue I called Tracfone for a couple or more years ago was some upgrade they notified me about. They asked me to call their customer service to make my phone compatible with the new upgrade. I hesitated as it read like a scam, but finally called.

They were in the Phillipines. I spoke with one gal for an hour or so. She gave me some numbers to insert in my settings. It was for a cell tower upgrade to supposedly give me a better signal. I went ahead and entered the numbers but my phone wouldn't call out (as it was doing with this last problem).

We went back and forth and she finally told me to call back later for some reason. I call back couple hours later and the next girl was very patient, too. We go back and forth for some time trying to get my phone to work.

Finally, I asked her if maybe it would help to dial the area code as well as the other numbers. She said, yes, I should dial the area code. I tried that and the phone worked.

So I say, "So that was the problem. You mean to tell me all I get out of this upgrade is having to dial the area code with local calls when I didn't have to before?".

Then she lost her patience and hung up on me.


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