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Oct 13 2005

Customer Communication for Idiots

Four days later and there’s still no BBC Prime signal coming through our digital box … and the stand-off over who would call the cable company to inquire about it finally ended today.

My position was that Dr. Darling should do it because 1) it’s her name on the account and B) she speaks WAY better Swedish than I do. Her position was that I should make the call because I’m the American who has no qualms about asking customer service people TO DO THEIR JOBS. (Do you even need to guess who gave in first?)

initially there was no urgency because neither of us ever imagined that the outage would last more than 24 hours (and the next episode of French & Saunders won’t be broadcast until Friday night). I’d checked the cable company’s website a couple of times during the week and found no announcement about a channel outage or technical problems there, so now I was starting to wonder if maybe the issue is with our de-coder box.

When I called the customer service line, I asked the representative if I could speak English with him because A) I can complain much more charmingly in my native language and 2) I thought it might get me a little more sympathy for why this *particular* channel outage was so irritating.  (Turns out I was right on both counts, but sympathy does not necessarily translate into action in the Swedish customer service world.)

The representative told me that the problem was wide-spread and that they’ve been “trouble-shooting it” for several days.  At which point I asked him why there hadn’t been any kind of bulletin about it on their website, because surely I was not the ONLY customer in the region who called to complain about it.

Sympathetic but unhelpful service rep: Actually, we’ve had A LOT of calls about BBC Prime. The channel has been down all week.

Me: I KNOW. That’s why I’m calling. It seems to me you could do both your customers and yourselves a favor by just putting a short announcement about it on your website. It’s the first place I checked for information.

Sympathetic but unhelpful service rep: That’s a really good idea.

Me: Yes it is. Speaking of ideas, do you have idea when the problem with BBC Prime might be fixed?

Sympathetic but unhelpful service rep: No. I just know they are troubleshooting it and hope to have it back up soon.

Me: Well, perhaps you could talk to your webmaster about posting that information on your website?

Sympathetic but unhelpful service rep: That’s a very good suggestion.

Me: So glad to be of service.

Sympathetic but unhelpful service rep: Yes. Thank you for that idea.

HELLO?!?!?!  Last time I checked, cable TV was still a considered part of the communications industry. Yet this guy acted as though putting service outage information on their website was a revolutionary idea!

But at least he was very sympathetic.

Feed my ego!

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