A place to put random occurrences in my life...

Monday, January 28, 2008

A long customer service interaction, finally concluded...

For the past year or so, I've had an interesting problem.  Although I'm pretty good at remembering my online passwords, I had somehow managed to forget my password for My T-Mobile.  Naturally, I tried to reset my password with the forgot password functionality, and that's where the fun began. 

Instead of receiving my new password, via text to my RIM, I got a not so friendly, red, error message that said something to the effect of:

An error has occurred in resetting your password.  This is a temporary error.  Please try again later.

As may be expected, I decided to try again later, in a couple of hours.  I received the same message and thought that there may be something wrong with the website, so I decided to wait for a few days.  Unfortunately, after clicking 'Next' I was seeing the all to familiar red, once again. 

I decided that there couldn't possibly be something wrong with the site for such a long period of time - other customers must be complaining, right?  Maybe it was something with my browser?  I cleared my cookies (for TMobile.com) and my cache and I gave Firefox another shot - still no good.  Just to be sure, I launched IE - and was greeted with yet more red.

I finally had enough and placed a call to customer care.  After explaining the issue, I was told that there was in fact a problem with the site at that time.  I must have been especially fortunate.  That first call was made roughly 12-18 months ago.  Since then, I've probably called into customer care an average of two to three times a month, constantly re-telling my story and listening to excuses, waiting for escalations to different departments, and wondering if the promised call backs would ever come.

I generally consider myself to be a fairly busy chap, so spending all of this time on the phone with customer care didn't particularly appeal to me - but I needed access to my account.  Although I would have enjoyed having access to my billing information and all the other niceties that make My TMobile such a special place, I especially needed access to the Blackberry configuration screen.  This is the screen in which I had configured my email signature, with a tag line for my company.  As time went on, we had stopped using this particular tag line, but I had no way of removing it from my Blackberry signature, giving me constant consternation.

Last week I saw a blog post discussing a Verizon customer care horror story.  Although my particular issue didn't involve the sharing of personal information, I was definitely feeling like I was being given the run around, and that this was ultimately because the folks that I was speaking to just didn't care enough to solve my problem.  I thought that if I detailed the pain I was going through, I would at the very least show Andru that he's not the only one going through customer care hell.

So last Friday I picked up the phone and dialed customer care.  After all this time, I've become fairly acclimated to their phone system and I could reach an operator pretty quickly.  I began by saying "English" as soon as the IVR kicked in.  After entering my phone number (I was calling from a different phone as the TMobile folks have a habit of making me call back on another line for troubleshooting purposes, even though the issue had nothing to do with my actual phone), I immediately said "Agent". 

Judy answered the phone and very quickly realized that she was not going to solve my issue, which had been opened for an eternity.  She transferred my to Raquel, that promised to manage the case for me on an ongoing basis and escalated me to third level support.  She also gave me a trouble ticket number, which would finally allow me to get directly to the third tier without going through the same monotonous process.  I finally felt like I was getting somewhere.  And then I was finally transferred to Risa, who spent a few minutes with me, told me that my issue was "simple" and that it would be resolved shortly.  After having heard this multiple times, I expressed my doubts - and Risa followed up by telling me that she felt highly confident that the problem would be resolved by Monday.  I had never been given such a tight ETA, so I was feeling lucky.

Lo and behold, I got a text message sometime on Saturday with my new temporary password.  I logged in, changed my password and also changed my signature - hurrah!  Judy, Raquel & Risa - thank you so much for actually solving my problem.  Andru - thank you for blogging about your customer service challenge - it inspired me to make this last call that led to a resolution.

In the end, I can't imagine that I was the only one having this problem, but I think it probably was some kind of unexpected use case that got my account into a funk.  This issue should have been resolved within days, but there is a lack of accountability in a call center such as the one run by TMobile.  I would guess that agents aren't promoted for closing cases and aren't penalized for letting cases stay open for over a year.  Just a little bit more caring on the part of customer care would have likely gone a long way.  In any case, I'm thrilled that the Judy/Raquel/Risa trio managed to get this issue of my plate...  Thanks again to all three of you...

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