I like to think of myself as a relatively intelligent person. So then tell me: When I need customer service or tech support, why oh why do I fall prey to the "Live Chat" option every single time?
I think I get lured in because "Live Chat" sounds like the best option, doesn't it? I have a question or an issue and there's a highly trained professional waiting there in the wings like my personal customer service / tech support butler just waiting for me to beckon. No searching for a viable email address to send my question or concern to where I wait with my fingers on the keyboard for 72 hours for an answer. (Where the only immediate answer I get is: "Assisting you is our #1 priority. A representative will get back to you within 3-5 business days.") Personally, I usually prefer a good old-fashioned phone conversation. But hey, "Live Chat"- no waiting on hold listening to the same music, sales pitches and messages-- "I know my call is important to you. You've told me that 40 times in the last 20 minutes." And when there's finally a break in the music, messages, and sales pitches, no getting my hopes up that the silence is an indication that someone's finally about to actually pick up my call. Plus, a lot of places I've dealt with lately don't even offer phone support anymore. Maybe word about me has gotten around. So "Live Chat" it is. Don't get me wrong. I've had excellent "Live Chats" a few times. 3 out of 72 isn't bad. Most of the others, no matter how seemingly simple or complicated the issue, this is pretty much how every one of the other 69 "Live Chats" has gone:
I start with the obligatory contact form. Name. Got it! Email: I'm on a roll. Subject: I can't type it. Oh no. It's got a little arrow. It's the dreaded drop-down menu... The first option: Definitely not. 2nd: Maybe but not really. 3rd: Don't know what that is. 4th: Definitely getting colder. 5th: Colder. 6th: Freezing! Freezing! 7th: Am I even on the right website? I just pick anything and head for the "Message" box. Finally. I can freely express myself. I can pour out all of my details: Everything this company's put me through since I first got involved with them in 1986 and ending with: "Quick question: The promotion that I had with your cable company is about to expire. I see that in the new packages, in order to get the football channels, I would have to sign up for the whole sports package which is mostly soccer channels. Can I just pay separately for only the football channels?" A few minutes later, after promising that a person will be right with me, they really are.
"Hi Lori! I'm Jamie! Hope you're doing great today!"
I always wonder if there really is a "Jamie" or it's just a generic unisex name they give anyone willing to be verbally abused for minimum wage so that when they leave, another batch of "Jamies" can seamlessly take over.
"How can I help you?"
"Didn't you read my 6 page message with footnotes and a bibliography?"
"Great question! (Yay for me.)... One moment please."
Then nothing. Finally it says: "Jamie is typing" and the little ellipses dots start floating.
"If I understand you correctly, you're looking to get The Soccer Channel, right?"
"No. I'm looking to not get The Soccer Channel. I want football only."
"I can help you with that! One moment please..."
(Jamie is typing.)
"I just checked with my supervisor. Yes! Football is part of the soccer package."
"I don't want the soccer package! What is so difficult?" I cut and pasted photos with arrows pointing to them. "I want this. Not this. Can I..."
(Jamie is typing.)
Oh great, now we're typing at the same time. Now I'm getting frustrated. I've gotten pretty good at typing frustration.
"Can... I... get... the FOOTBALL channels without buying the whole soccer package? N-F-L. A-La-Carte. Possible??? Yes or no?"
"This question will have to be escalated to Customer Service. They will be in touch with you in 2-3 business days. Nice chatting with you!"
"Customer service? Then who the..."
(Jamie has ended the chat.)
"Jamie?! Jamie?!" Where did he / she go?
The good news is: I've been escalated so many times, the next time I get suckered into a "Live Chat", I won't have far to go to jump off the roof.
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