Did you know that Internet Service Providers (ISP) consistently have the LOWEST ratings for customer service? (cnet)
If you have ever called your Cable or DSL provider for a technical issue, upgrade, downgrade, or any other question, you probably know exactly what I'm talking about.
Here's my story explaining why Twitter is the best platform for customer service ever.
Two months ago, I opened an account with Centurylink, formerly Qwest. They do phone service and DSL Internet service. I signed up over the phone with a rep in Prescott, AZ who put me on a 6 month, no-contract plan to see if their 7mb/s DSL speed was fast enough for me.
A week ago, I moved out of the studio where I had that service. I figured since I wasn't on a contract, it was no big deal to cancel the service and move on with my life.
Two days on the phone with various representatives all over the country got me precisely nowhere! Despite the fact that I never signed or agreed to a 12 month contract, they put me on one and decided I couldn't close my account without paying the $200 early penalty fee.
Everyone I talked with said "I'm sorry sir, there is simply no way around it."
Well, that's bullshit.
These contracts exist for no other reason than the ISP wants to make more money. Not only that, but there was precisely no evidence that I ever signed a contract or agreed to one in any form.
The way around it would be to cancel the stupid "contract" and let me go my merry way with a positive experience.
Nobody I talked to on the phone seemed to be able to handle that idea and it really got me going. I understand that the people on the phones don't make the rules, but they do have to enforce them. I just couldn't help myself being short with them. It's a shame, because all they need is to be empowered.
If Centurylink wanted to provide ACTUAL customer service, they would take a note out of the Zappos book, where employees are empowered to fix any issue the customer has under a certain dollar price point.
When I got fed up being jockeyed around on the phone with idiots who couldn't help me, I turned to twitter.
1) Google the Twitter handle for the company you are having issues with.
2) Send semi-angry tweet explaining your issue and the result you want.
An hour later, the rep (Josh) got back to me and asked for my account information via a secure link on their customer service website. Excellent. They have a real person watching this account and he wants to know more.
I submitted my account number, the issue, and my desired end-result.
Minutes later, he emails me to inform me that he got me out of my contract, waived the termination fee, cancelled my service, and provided instructions on how to return the router.
Just over an hour with two exchanges via email and Twitter was all it took, when I originally spent probably 6 hours on the phone with these people.
Lesson learned: Start with Twitter next time. It almost always works better.