Wednesday, August 15, 2012

How to go INSANE Part II: French Customer Service Survival Tips

Here's the rest of the story, and some tips for you as promised!

Chapter 5: Apparently I'm a masochist. And a Giant Moron. (But we already knew the 2nd part) 

Yes, I did it. I called the insurance company back when the phone spontaneously stopped working, after I previously insulted the balls off them.

At least this time I wasn't dumb enough to expect them to help, almost. I can't help it, underneath all this cynicism is a raging optimist! I *want* to believe that people are not tiny, little, round pieces of shit.

Me: Uh, hi! Me again. Guess what? I FOUND IT! Hahha. Yay. Um. Ok. So, the only thing is, this time the phone just, spontaneously stopped allowing me to make phonecalls.

Insurance Anus: This is my problem, becaaauuusseeee?....

Me: Well, my policy also covers dysfunction. I read it. Because I can read. Reading is FUN! (I'm hopelessly trying to be upbeat because my negative nelly attitude was getting to me at this point.)

Insurance Anus: Can you tell me how it broke?

Me: Here we go. (Witness the death of Happy Me.) What do I need to tell you so that you'll cover this?

Insurance Anus: (finds this hilarious and laughs HARD) If I told you THAT, I wouldn't be doing my job.

Me: What is your job exactly?

Insurance Anus: Duh. Keep you from filing claims that we have to pay. Did you drop it?

I *literally* thought this:

Me: Fine. F#@% it. I have dropped it so many times it's not even worth counting. But I didn't yet drop it today.

Insurance Anus: Ok. So you didn't drop it, *TODAY*.

Me: No?

Insurance Anus: We only cover instances of malfunction when it's dropped and only if it doesn't concern the antenna, the inner-workings, the screen, the casing or the software.

Me: O Rly? Hmm. Isn't that, basically... the entire phone? Can you tell me under what circumstances the clause covers any kind of phone breakage or theft?

Insurance Agent: If someone beats you about the neck and head, stabs you in the heart, steals your phone, and tells you his name and where to find him... then maybe we can reimburse you. If you're still alive. Maybe, no promises there. Your next of kin could possibly make use of the phone. Unless you become a zombie. Then maybe you can use it to talk to victims instead of eating their faces like the bath salts guy.

Chapter 6: New Service Provider, Same Unelievable Retardation!

I change operators (hundreds of euros down the drain), but the Phone Deities still have diarrhea. I get the new phone immediately, but should've known better than to expect it would be alright.

Me: I just got an email saying that if I don't activate the line in two weeks, you're going to block my line? I expressly mentioned I was out of town and unable to activate it until my return in August.

(Here's the point where I save you four hours. Yes, I spent four hours on the phone, and had to call back over ten times because I kept on getting disconnected, because I was in effing ITALY. I got transferred from one service to the next, *NO ONE* knew what the hell was going on.)

Service Douche #783: Just do it online.

(I try to do it online, GUESS WHAT? Yeah. It doesn't work. At this point my rageometer is reaching murderous.)

Chapter 7: Go here. No go there. No go here again.

Me: I can't do it online, I can't select a date of activation. WTF.

Service Douche #784: Ok go into a boutique and request a SIM card.

(I go to the boutique)

Me: I was told to get a SIM card from you.

Service Douche #785: We have no record of your purchase, we can't do anything for you, we are, in fact, useless in every way possible. We should start over from scratch. Come back tomorrow with 19 pieces of paper, and we'll get it done.

Sidenote: I have a fork in my hand, Imma bout to stick it in my eye to distract myself from the pain of this process.

Chapter 8: Time to bleed again. 

(It's at this point in our story that I get an email stating that if I don't activate my line in 24 hours, they're going to charge me 629,90 euros for the cost of the phone.)

Me: I don't care *what* you have to do, but you NEED to activate this line, TODAY. 

Service Douche #786: I don't like your tone. I'm not doing *anything* to help you.

Me: Ok. I'm going to press charges against you, I'm taking my dossier, and I'm going to the police.

Service Douche #787: Laughs. (<-- I hate her)

Service Douche #786: I'll call customer service. 

Service Douche #788: I can't do anything unless your husband comes into the shop.

Me: OMFG!! FML. I can't believe this. Let *ME* talk to customer service.

Me again: Look. This is RETARDED. I am UNABLE to activate the line, so call the billing and activation services, make a little note in my dossier, and if you charge me so help me GOD I will sue you.

Service Douche #789: Ok.

Chapter 9: Is it over yet? 

(2hrs later, I realize I have no written confirmation of this.)

Me: I need written confirmation of my last conversation.

Service Douche #790: Of what? Did you know you need to activate your line or you'll be charged 630euros? We don't send emails to clients.

Me: (Sticks fork into eyeball.) (Relay entire story. AGAIN.)

Service Douche #791: OK, we're activating your line now, you'll get a confirmation email. This should prevent you getting charged in any case. Sim card should arrive in 5 or less days.

Me: I'm so demanding compensation for this BS.

Chapter 10: The great wait.

Chapter 9 was last Friday. It's Wednesday but it's also Aug 15th -- a holiday. So, one more day of suspense before I call them back AGAIN. That's right. I'm not even hoping anymore that this card will arrive.

I feel neither rage, nor frustration about this, oddly. I've gone into a catatonic state. I have reached the culmination of the rage-o-meter, and I'm really not sure what will happen next. Maybe I'll start all over again with a Lohan-Lethargicoma. I'll keep you posted.

So, what did I do wrong here boys & girls? Here's the top 10.

1) I expected support teams to be educated about the workings of their company
2) I ordered over the phone with no written confirmation
3) I went on vacation while expecting a delivery
4) I expected the boutique staff to have the same information as the phone staff
5) I thought insurance would cover *ANYTHING*
6) I didn't ask for management contacts sooner
7) I expected them to own up to their mistakes
8) I got angry at them (despite weeks of patience)
9) expected service to work at all
10) I had an entitled attitude because of all my expectations

As you can see, most of the big mistakes are to do with my own attitude.

So, how should I have dealt with this?

1) First, I should not have expected the competency of the employees. Sad but true! Set your expectations low, or you *WILL* be frustratingly disappointed. There's a very high employee turn over in these roles, and a lot of the time, these poor employees are just not educated enough in the company's workings to help you.

2) I didn't see someone in person, and MAKE them acknowledge that their job is to solve my problems. I should've literally said to them, "You're supposed to help people do X, right?" then they say "yes", then you say, "Ok I need you to help ME do X", and they say "OK." You've officially become their problem. They have to solve your issue.

3) The first tier person you talk with, they're useless. Know this and reread point #1 if you need to. You need to get to the next level, that is all this person is good for. You can ask to speak to someone who knows the process of what is supposed to happen, because asking for a manager or supervisor will undoubtedly get you the response of "Um, there isn't one" or "Yeah, it's me." -- which is utter BS.

4) Read the fine print on insurance coverage clauses. Mine was totally stupid-hard to read, but when I did I saw that it was essentially a giant waste of money.

5) Have a written dossier of the situation if possible to show them you mean business, and you're not going anywhere because they *will* try to pawn you off on someone else.

6) Check your attitude at the door. French customer service teams HATE entitled customers. They also DESPISE when you get angry with them, even if it's warranted. This 'tude will get you no where.

7) Be patient & persistent. It's a long, dark, horrible road to get to where you need to be, but if you hang in there and triple check everything, you will get there.



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