Once upon a time, we used Cincinnati Bell as our cell phone carrier. Things weren’t perfect, but it was easy enough to call or walk in and have someone easily and immediately address the problem.
Then someone (not naming names, but You) went to college and moved to a part of the country where Cinci Bell was, um, unreliable. Reliably unreliable.
Since you wisely believed that you should have a working communication device with which to contact your mother every now and then, we moved your service to Verizon.
It wasn’t exactly easy, but we made it happen. And life went merrily on.
So we had a conversation with Verizon.
Me: I’d like to move our service over.
Verizon: We’d like that too!
Me: My phone needs to be the main number on the account.
Verizon: Yeah, no. The Kid was here first. He stays the main number.
Me: No, I’m the mom. I pay the bill. I need to be the main number on the account.
Verizon: Maybe we weren’t clear: No. Hand over your credit card.
Me: How is this Customer Service?
Verizon: We don’t really care about customer service. Just your credit card.
And so things bumped along. Service wasn’t perfect, but at least they were difficult to deal with.
Now it seems, Verizon has upped its game.
Kid: Mom, you have to call Verizon.
Me: What? Why?
Kid: The bill hasn’t been paid.
Me (in a show of insight and creativity): What? Why?
Kid: I don’t know. Call them.
Me: Will do.
Verizon: Please talk to the automated system.
Me: Why on earth would I want to talk to the automated system? Human please.
Verizon: The automated system requests that you enter your PIN.
Me: Don’t have a PIN. Apparently don’t have a human either. Operator please.
Verizon: It’s very easy to use the automated system. Please enter your PIN.
Me: Haven’t acquired a PIN in the last 1.3 seconds. Operator please.
Verizon: Hello, I am so sorry to hear that. Certainly we can help you. My name is Cheerful but Untrained. How may I be of assistance?
Me: I want to take care of my bill.
Verizon: Yes, I see you owe us money. We sent you a text.
Me: No, you sent the Kid a text. Which is why we have An Issue.
Verizon: How may I help you.
Me: I’d like to pay my bill.
Verizon: Yes, certainly ma’am. I understand. I can help you with that. Would you like to pay your balance on the automated system?
Me: No, I would like to talk to you and figure out why the autopay didn’t work.
Verizon: Yes, ma’am, I see. I’d be happy to help you with that. If you’ll just hold while I enroll in three weeks of training, we’ll have this figured out in no time.
Me: Perhaps we could skip right to the part where we solve the problem?
Verizon: Yes, ma’am. Certainly. But our scripts don’t allow for that. Would you like to speak to our automated system?
Me: I believe the problem is I have a new expiration date on my credit card.
Verizon: Certainly, ma’am. I’m sorry you encountered this problem and I’d be happy to help you with that. I can transfer you to the automated system so you can update your information before we cut off your service entirely.
Me: How about you just take a payment?
Verizon: I guess I could do that.
Me: Excellent. And while you’re at it, let’s get the autopay corrected.
Verizon: Yes, ma’am. I cannot do that. You need to do that through the automated system. And it will take two to three billing cycles for it to take effect.
Me: Huh? How can it take 60 to 90 days for an automated system to update an expiration date?
Verizon. Yes, ma’am. May I have your credit card number?
Me: You have the credit card number. You just need to fix the date.
Verizon: I can’t date customers.
Me: Perhaps a date with destiny.
Verizon: Is Destiny on the account, ma’am?
Me: Can I please pay this bill?
Verizon: Of course, ma’am. What is the new expiration date?….Thank you, and the security code? …. Thank you….Can you please give me the security code again? And the expiration date?
Me: Oh, goodness.
Verizon: Yes ma’am. And what is your credit card number?