It's happened several times over the last year. AT&T, BPOS/Microsoft Online/Office 365. When I've had problems with things I go through the normal channels at first. I call or e-mail customer service. They tell me to turn it off and turn it back on. I call back when that doesn't work, wash/rinse/repeat. Then I post on Twitter or Facebook trying to get some answers and some help.
You know what works? That works. Because for some reason customer service isn't customer service anymore. You get form letters, escalation points don't work, managers aren't available. For some inexplicable reason companies don't seem to be interested in resolving things in a way that's in between the customer and the customer service rep. They seem to want the bad publicity of an angry post on the Internet.
It's frustrating. I don't like whining about things on my blog. I don't like having to post ridiculously long explanations of the problems I have. I want to call, get help and then forget about it. And yet that seems so hard.
What's prompted the most recent post? NewEgg. In late April I bought a refurbished laptop from them. I've always had relatively good experiences with refurb or open box equipment, so it seemed like a good buy. But something about this laptop spooked me. Asus did a half-assed job of putting it together for a start. They didn't stop the Asus backup utility from autostarting and didn't image it with a recovery partition. When I pulled it out of the box, it wouldn't start with the battery in. I had to boot it up with the power adapter in first and add the battery.
After a couple weeks of thinking on it, I purchased an extended replacement warranty on NewEgg's site. Sure enough, I'm now having some bizarre problems with the display. Darker solid colors appear to glitter, be staticy or speckle. So after fiddling with it a little bit and reading my warranty terms, I tried to do an RMA with NewEgg. It said it wasn't eligible on the site. So I went through the logical path of e-mailing customer service with invoice numbers for the laptop and warranty. I described the problem and asked about why my RMA didn't work.
I received a form letter from their customer service department today telling me my 30 day swap with NewEgg was out of date and please call Asus, no mention of the extended warranty. Not a response to the question. Thankfully they have one of those ridiculous "how did I do?" links so I was honest. Yet again the initial rep just refused to actually read or listen to a problem and respond with the correct solution. And because it seems to be the only effective way of getting a response, I posted on Twitter and Facebook.
Either the low rating, Twitter or Facebook worked because I received an e-mail from another rep explaining the warranty doesn't kick in until after the manufacturer's 3 month expires (fair enough) and they need to release my contact details to Asus (also fair enough.) But this could have been avoided if the original rep had just read my fucking e-mail and answered the question.
I guess these days you just have to rely on being as hostile and aggressive as possible to get anything done. And that sucks.