VoxPop: A Reader's Opinion
An Experience with WebTV Customer Service|
(May 23, 1999)
Steve Kass, aka TomCrown, is a customer service supervisor. In our last issue, he gave us his experienced view of how a Customer Service department should be run. In this issue, he gives us Part 2 of the story with a description and rating of an interaction with WebTV's Customer Service.
I would first like to start by stating three rules of proper customer
Rule #1 -- NEVER ever hang up on a customer, even if they are calling you
names. Should a customer prove too hard to handle, then that call should
be transferred to a Supervisor.
Rule#2 -- Treat each customer with respect. Do not lie to the customer, and
give that customer your complete attention.
Rule #3 -- Expect cusomers to be upset and cranky. If customers were
pleasant then there would be no need for Customer Service. It is
understandable that someone would be upset since their TV, Video, or WebTV
is not working properly and it is Customer Service's job to help that
customer get his equipment to operate properly.
Now I will go over a customer service problem I had and show how WeCare
handled that call.
I was calling WeCare becaue one of my dial-up phone number was a toll
charge in my area. The first rep I got told me I have to contact my
local ISP provider. When I told that rep that the statement was nonsense
since WebTV is my ISP provider the rep announced that the phone call
was being discounted since I was making no sense. At this point, I
demanded to speak to a Supervisor and got hung up on.
This rep broke several rules. #1 -- you never hang up on a customer; in
most CSR firms this will get you fired. #2 -- I was not treated with
respect and was lied to, also the rep never took the time to explore my
problem and instead hung up the phone.
After I got hung-up on, I called WeCare again and, when I got another rep,
demanded to speak to a Supervisor. This rep asked what my problem was,
and I told the CSR that I was hung-up on. The Customer Service rep
replied that it was wrong that I was hung-up on, that I probably had spoken
to the Collection Department, and said he was surprised that WebTV was not sued
because of the illegal tactics that Collection used. I then told the rep
that my secondary phone number was long distance; he told me that the
problem was the fault of the phone company since the phone company had told WebTV that this
was a local call. I told the rep since WebTV was in the Bay Area (Palo
Alto), that everyone knew 510 is a toll call since that prefix is across
the San Francisco Bay. The rep replied "here is your ticket number
and you shuld get a reply in one month," and hung up the phone.
There were several things wrong with this call. In the first place, I was
almost told to sue WebTV. A rep should never bring down a deptartment within the
company. The second thing is the rep was never truthful; he should have
told me that Customer Service is in Nevada and that they are not aware of
how the phone network is set up in San Francisco. Lastly, I got hung-up
After waiting one month, I received no response from WebTV so I called WeCare
again and asked to speak to a Supervisor. The rep asked me what my
problem was so that he could tell his Supervisor. I told him that my
second phone number was long distance; he agreed and said that he
could see that it was a Berkeley phone number. He then asked if I had any
toll charge because of this second number and that he would try to
reverse the charge. I told him I didn't since I would power off instead
of getting a long distance charge. He asked me what my primary phone number
was and said that he would report it to his Supervisor. He then gave me a
ticket number and his name, telling me to ask for him If I did not hear from
WebTV. He then asked if there was any other problem. I told him no
and hung up the phone.
This third rep handled the call correctly. He showed concern for my
problem, and then took responsibilty to make sure my problem would be
taken care of.
WebTV did respond in two weeks by dropping the long distance phone number and
leaving me with only one dial up phone number and a pop-up message that asks me to be
sure this is not a toll call. I also now no longer have the ability of ever getting a
WebTV video Spam.
This experience goes to prove that WebTV has some of the worst Customer Service and it is
the big reason WebTV is not growing very fast.
WebTV, just think. If you tried to service your customer, WebTV could very
easly have a customer base of two million people. It is up to WebTV to
make sure it provides better customer service, or it will be the next NetChannel.
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