punkwalrus (punkwalrus) wrote,

Best customer service call I ever had

... and it wasn't because it had good service, either. I was working for AOL Telecom as a programmer at the time. I worked with another skilled programmer named Ben. Ben had a Macbook of some kind, I think a Powerbook 540 with a "Mercury Modem." We couldn't get it to connected to AOL, it would always crap out around Step3 or 4, which we knew meant was some kind of negotiating issue. "I wonder if the modem is broken or just configured wrong?" we asked. "Hey," said Ben, "we work for AOL. We can call our tech support!"

So we did. We held for about 4 minutes before we got this annoying and arrogant twit. I forgot how he started out, but within a few minutes he was already treating us like dirt. We tried to tell him what we had done, but he was all, "tut tut tut... the master is speaking now. Children be quiet," on us. Finally, as a "penalty," he put us on hold for a few minutes until we decided to do it "his way."

"Oh no," said Ben, with a scowl. "This call will end differently!"

Ben and I had been working with the master call log database, trying to cull some real-time statistics. Using our outgoing phone number, we traced the call to Jacksonville. Looking on the trunk, we traced the call to a card, and used that ID to see the agents attached to it on the Mac tech queue. There was only one. We went to the AOL HR directory, and looked the agent up.

When the guy came back, he asked, "So now are we ready to listen?"

"Sorry, Fred Johnson, agent 52007 in Jacksonville. You have been so rude to us, we have traced this call, and your boss, Paul Smith, will be informed of your unacceptable behav--"


"He hung up on us!" screamed Ben in shocked amusement.

We called back, and got another agent who verified that yes, our modem was probably broken. I drafted a letter, and sent it to Fred and his boss, Paul [names made up, I forgot their real names], explaining who were were, who we worked for, and points of the call we found unacceptable.

We got a letter back from Paul, apologizing for Fred's behavior, and the next day, we got a three-page letter apology from Fred who explained what he did wrong, how he would fix it, and in a form that suggested his apology was done under duress. I don't know what happened to Fred, I am sure he didn't stay long.

But what power that is! Can you imagine if you could do that? Like you call 1-800-COMCAST and when they suck, you could say, "Listen, Ida. I don't know why your boss Melvin didn't train you properly, but I am going to call him and explain what a cud-chewing, corn-chip nail filing dumbass you are..." or "Listen, Sears said they'd send someone here, and since I can see they outsourced it to Cletus Johnson, who is sleeping in his truck at a Burger King 20 miles away from here, I am going to assume he won't be by within my lifetime. You get your boss Roy Ogden to call somebody, preferably Bill Manolo who is watching TV in his repair shop, to get their ass down to my house and fix the air conditioner!"

Now that I think of it, I have always wanted the power to magically appear behind the office chair of various COX Cable employees I had to deal with. I don't know where they were, I assumed by their accent Georgia, but even if it was Calcutta, I'd like to see the shock on their face as I spun their chair around and said, "Look. Hang up the damn phone and come with ME!"
Tags: aol, customer service, work
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