Customer Service, Yea Right

So I’ve had DSL for a while now and really have gotten so use to the speed of the Internet that I wouldn’t be able to deal with the 3-W’s without it! Well, I’ve been doing a lot of Web Development lately and wanted to start hosting my own web page and email server without having to use a Dynamic Domain Naming Service (DDNS).

So I started calling DSL providers; Earthlink provides a static IP for an additional $ 15.00 per month. What a rip off. My machine is always connected to the Internet anyway so I’m already always using an IP Address. The pain is that every now and then the IP address changes (DHCP blues).

Next on the list is Bellsouth, my current provider. The customer service person on the other end of the phone sounded like a recording. “I apologize, but we don’t provide that to residential customers.” I asked how much it cost to upgrade to a business account — “$ 79.95”. Damn! I thought Earthlink was crazy. Bellsouth makes other providers look like choir boys on a Sunday afternoon.
Finally, DirectDSL. This company provides a static IP address FREE OF CHARGE. However, their website line availability test showed that DSL was not available in my area. I went to Bellsouth’s site and did the same test and they also showed DSL service was not available in my area. Hmmm… could it be the data base that DirectDSL utilizes is wrong? So while explaining this mystery to the DirectDSL lady, she did some basic research and found out that they did provide service in my area, but couldn’t determine why service wasn’t available to my line. I suggested to her that she send a note to some corporate problem solver because if the CUSTOMER SERVICE tools she utilized had the wrong information they might not only be loosing out  on my business, but maybe other potential customers in that area.

So if you’ve made it this far in this boring BLOG rant of a dissatisfied DSL customer, here’s the PEARL of wisdom. Great customer service is an art. The customer service representative must want to solve the problem of the customer and the company MUST PROVIDE the customer service personnel the proper tools. Big companies get so fouled up by using POLICY that their people end up saying stupid things like “I apologize, we don’t provide that service” or in the case of Earthlink “We can’t reduce that charge for the static IP address.”  He didn’t even try to ask anyone up higher, because he didn’t care about getting a new customer.

Give the front line people power and training to actually serve the customer. Never send a customer away thinking they only heard the words NO to their request or worse that their request was never heard.

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