Dealing With Customer Service


Whew!  I feel better now.   Sorry about that.  Sometimes I just have to let it out to prevent my head from exploding!  I just got off the phone with Time Magazine’s customer service!   🙄

The latest edition of Time Magazine came in the mail yesterday – four days late and in terrible condition.  Several pages had been torn off and the remainder was all wrinkled as if it had been violently wadded up.  What is left is barely held together by one tiny staple.

I’m certain that the magazine was not in that condition when it was turned over to the US Postal Service for delivery.  How it got into the condition at delivery I can only conjecture.  The remainder of my mail delivered yesterday, including another magazine was in pristine condition.

This issue of Time is their double issue commemorative election special edition with a photo of the President on the cover taken election night.  So, it is possible that someone sorting mail at the Post Office was a Romney supporter suffering from Post Election Stress Disorder – and – after having sorted several hundred copies -my copy became the one that sent him over the edge.  I don’t know – – heehee……. just sayin’.    😉

Anyway, I went online to Time’s website and logged on to customer service.  After providing all the required identification information I discovered that requesting replacement of damaged issues could not be done online – even though it was on a list of actions that could be requested.  Seems that option was in light gray ink, not black, and didn’t have a link.  Why it’s on the list is a good question.  It’s no big deal, I thought – Time has a toll-free customer service phone number.

So I dialed the number, which was answered by an  artificial intelligence (AI) with a very pleasant female voice  which, it turned out, was so adept at voice recognition that it had no problem with my Yankee accent.

She patiently explained, as if speaking to a mentally challenged child, that I could handle almost any customer service problem on their web site.  Then, after a short pause during which I assume she expected me, now much chagrined,  to hang up and go on line, she finally deigned to handle my call.

She asked me then to speak my last name and spell it out – and still assuming that I’m a moron, she explained what that meant:  “If your name is Jones then you should say ‘JONES’, followed by the letters  ‘J’ ‘O’ ‘N’ E’ ‘S'”

She thanked me for supplying my name, then asked me for my Postal ZIP code – which I provided.  After repeating the number to me to verify it was correct, she advised that she was going to attempt to locate my account.  After a bunch of beep-beep-beeps she announced that she had been successful in locating my account and was prepared to address my inquiry.

She began to give a list of options followed my numbers, instructing me to indicate the option related to my inquiry by saying the associated number.  Luckily, damaged deliveries was option number 2.

She told me that I had two choices.  I could have my subscription extended by one issue or I could have another copy sent to me.  AI: “Do you want your subscription extended by one issue?  Me: “NO”    AI: “Do you want a replacement copy mailed to you?”  Me: “YES”  She then told me that she would process the order for a replacement issue, and a series of beep-beep-beeps ensued.

At this point I’m rather pleased that my problem had been handled fairly easily.  I wasn’t happy about being spoken to in such a condescending manner by a machine, but as ‘they’ say – It’s better than a sharp stick in the eye!

Alas!  It was not to be! –  She comes back on to advise me that they were having a temporary system problem so she couldn’t process the replacement – BUT – she was forwarding my identifying information to customer service and transfer me to a customer service representative who would handle my problem –  * beep  beep beeps * phone ringing * sound of phone being picked up * recorded message advising that they were terribly sorry, there was a temporary system problem which they expected to be quickly corrected – would I please call back in a little while. *SIGH*   😥

I waited a little more than an hour, then called again – same rigamarole – verbatim – literatim – numeratim – beep-beep-beep – same result.

I tried again after dinner – same thing,  I decided to try again tomorrow (today).

This morning I called at ten o’clock.  Still system problems, but as I was preparing to hang up during what I expected to be another aborted attempt to connect to customer service, there was a different recorded message – the dreaded one that you usually get when being potentially connected to a human being – “We’re sorry, all of our customer service representatives are currently busy assisting other customers.  Please hold on and your call  will be connected to the next available representative.”

Surprisingly, it took only about a minute.  A lady answered – I told her that I had received a damaged issue and wanted a replacement sent, and told her the date of the issue.  She says: “Fine, may I have your name and ZIP code?”

“Wait a minute.”, says I.  “I’ve provided that information five times to customer service.  Once on line and four times on the telephone.  In each of the four telephone calls your AI told me that my identifying information was being forwarded to customer service when I was being transferred.”

All I got was silence.  Apparently she wasn’t going to lower herself to respond to another A-hole customer.  I blinked first.  I told her.  I could hear her typing the info on her keyboard.  “May I have your account number?”, she says.

I asked her to wait a moment until I got the damaged issue, then I would read the account number off the address label.  I read her the number and heard her enter it.  “May I have your E-mail address?”, she asks.  I give it.  More keyboard clicks.

A few moments later she says:  “I’m sorry, Mr. S…….., we are unable to process complaints of nondelivery  of that issue of the magazine until November 16th, so you will have to call back tomorrow.”  😯

Good thing I have implants, because if I had dentures I’m sure I’d have swallowed them at that point!

I counted to ten mentally, and as calmly as I could said:  “Ma’am, at the beginning of this call I told you I was calling because I had received a damaged issue of Time in the mail and wanted a replacement mailed to me.  A few moments ago, when you asked me for my account number, I asked you to wait while I got my damaged copy and I would read the number from the address label.  This is NOT an UNDELIVERED ISSUE ISSUE.  It is a DELIVERED DAMAGED ISSUE ISSUE!  I am holding the damaged issue in my hand at this very moment.”

Her response: “Oh.”  – more keyboard clicks – then: “Mr. S…….., you will receive your replacement issue in the mail within 7 to 10 business days.  If you have not received it after the tenth business day, please call us at this number.”



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