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Customer Service Approach Has Major Opportunities


I'm not sure where to begin, so let's start with the good.

My wife and I have been with Verizon for a number of years ... I suppose well over 10, but I don't keep track of such things.  Verizon has had the best coverage for me and my wife as we travel for work and for pleasure. Along the way, we've been lucky to have had only minor issues and a few painful ones that were typically resolved within a single customer service engagement.  Unfortunately throughout those issues and the one I'm about to document, the time either myself or my wife has had to spend dealing with customer service or the impact of the errors is simply lost with almost no accountability in return.

Here's the bad from this week's service circus.  My wife was out of state having issues with her older phone last weekend and returning Monday evening.  So I engage customer service to figure out my best course of action.  Unfortunately, there was no way for me to research, pay for the device, and have her show up at a Verizon store to pick it up.  It would seem that this process should be an option, but I'll get back to our tragic tale.  The recommendation was to have it shipped, but it was after 2pm on Saturday. So it could only arrive Monday (or so I was led to believe).  In the end, I ordered the phone to be delivered to our home.  I thought it was coming Monday PM, but it actually wasn't to arrive until Tuesday PM (next day shipment on a Saturday afternoon means Tuesday evening).  As it turns out, that was a minor frustration compared to the rest.  But my wife was simply left to suffer with her phone that she had to take apart to get it to stay charged and be of use while she traveled. Next stop ... the home shipment.

As my wife struggled through her work week (she's a contractor who works remote), the phone finally arrived Tuesday evening.  Since she works long days and needs her phone, she didn't feel comfortable starting the conversion process until Thursday evening.  After unpacking the phone and trying the conversion process, she realized she didn't have her latest phone content backed up.  The instructions assume that has occurred, and there wasn't anything to instruct how to do that without researching it online. Regardless, she started that process. While looking at her new phone in the light at a special angle, she could see there was a crack in the glass. This was of course a few hours after trying to get her content backed up and moved over to the new device (one of Verizon's "top of the line" Galaxy S6 Edge Plus 64 GB).  Since it was late, there was little that could be done. Nothing like going to bed frustrated.

The next day, a Friday, she called the corporate Verizon call center to ask whether she could go to a local store (Wadsworth, OH) and exchange it because she can't wait a week for it to be shipped and delivered.  Customer service tried to set up an appointment with the local store, but they weren't open yet.  Instead, she was told that our local store could simply swap it out once they were open. She proceeded to the local store and was told that they couldn't help because they weren't a corporate store.  Why the call center didn't know this is beyond me. The local store directed her to a corporate store in one of the nearby small cities (Fairlawn, OH).  There are several opportunities at this stage, but I'll drudge onward.

Rather than drive all the way there, my wife called the Fairlawn store to explain the whole story yet again and check to make sure they could do the swap.  They said they could not because it was a "special order" phone because they only carry the smaller 32 GB model.  Why a business would be in retail and not carry their top of the line model is beyond me, but that's probably a missed business opportunity on Verizon's part.  I'm not sure why the Wadsworth store could not have taken ownership of the problem and ensure my wife's next steps would be her last, but I suspect it's because Verizon's business model does not take into full account all avenues of customer service.  Next up … corporate call center.

My wife call's the corporate call center again, goes through all the prompts, and has to explain everything all over again … as if there is no record of anything that has happened to her service incident.  Coming from an ITIL service background, Verizon could really learn a thing or two from other businesses about the importance of resolving service issues as quickly as possible and with as little effort and aggravation to the customer as possible.  When you're upset, repeating yourself only serves to turn up the heat on the blood boil. Regardless, she asked what her next steps should be and was directed to a different corporate store the next city over (Medina, OH).  She was told they should have the latest model there to perform the swap.  TIP here for Verizon … how about calling to check? Once again, taking ownership of an incident means the customer has a single point of contact until their incident is resolved.  With Verizon, how about a dozen or so points of contact.  What could go wrong?

As you can probably guess, my wife goes over to the Medina store, recounts her problem with the store manager, and is told that they don't have that special model in store.  At this point, I have to commend my wife for not exploding on someone.  She exits the store and begins her journey home.  While driving home, she is back on the phone with yet another person at the corporate call center.  She proceeds to go through the entire story and is told that they will ship her a phone. But she must take it to a store to have that done in a timely fashion.  She turns around and goes back to the last store.  Why the Medina store didn't anticipate that next step and take care of things right there is beyond me.

So my wife returns to the Medina store and goes through the greeting and hand off process back to the store manager.  They kindly waive the restocking fee.  Although it is too late for standard next day / Saturday delivery, they also waive the extra charges to have it delivered Saturday.

We proceed to cancel our Saturday holiday plans out of state (it's mid-December by the way) so that we can be home for the delivery and get my wife situated for work the following week. As we wait and wait for the phone to arrive, we do some online checking.  The Verizon site makes it seem like it is close because it said it was "Arriving" and "Picked Up".  We checked FedEx, and it said it was scheduled for delivery Monday AM.

At this point, my wife got back on the phone with the corporate call center.  She relived her story one final time, and it was very apparent she was calmly upset and frustrated.  It was confirmed that Monday was in fact the date.  After asking if there was anything else they could do, they simply told her to have a nice day.  At this point, it really doesn't feel genuine.

I can hardly count the wasted hours and the amount of stress this whole ordeal has caused.  When one pays top dollar for the best service and devices, high level expectations are established.  We are profoundly disappointed in the sheer volume of issues with this process and how utterly devoid of accountability Verizon has been to let it get to this point.  This surely can't be our bad luck.  There are clearly systemic issues here that need to be evaluated and resolved, less Verizon gambles on losing customers to their competition.

There are so many opportunities here to list … every step of the way.  I won't bother to go through them as it would double the length of this letter.  There is no end-to-end process accountability with anything more than the most mundane issues, so the customer is left to simply struggle with the poor, disjointed service. Let me be clear.  Every person along the way was helpful and nice.  But no one took accountability for the next step or anything that led to final resolution.  Verizon truly needs to look at these services and ensure the customer has ONE PERSON serving as their point of contact after contact has been established and an incident has been raised.  That person should lead them through the incident process until resolution is achieved. This is how you achieve quality customer service.

For now, we have little choice but to stay with Verizon until we can determine the best set of next steps.  I can't afford to waste whole days and life experiences because Verizon doesn't know how to run the customer service portion of its business.  Our goal is to ensure our money is well placed and we are paired up with a service provider who actually performs quality end-to-end service across all services … especially those around dealing with incidents and problem resolution.



Business Process Architect

Fortune 500 Company

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Re: Customer Service Approach Has Major Opportunities



A man after my own heart!  I could also account for similar situations but the worst part of my situation right now is that on top of those similar frustrations, I have now found out that, although my contract was not due to renew for a year plus two months, my contract WAS renewed, without my knowledge because I made some small changes to my plan.  Verizon needs a consultation company to teach the values of good  customer service.  Anyone have that type of small business/