Saturday, June 10, 2006

How Important is Customer Service?

Well, I learned a very important lesson these past two weeks. If you don't have Customer Service in your business than your business will be suffering. I learned this in a very difficult way.
2 weeks ago I learned that several friends had switched their phone carriers to Vonage and were proud of the savings they were going to have. Without checking into Vonage any further, I made the switch. SBC had been a nightmare to switch to 5 years earlier with them messing up my account multiple times and in multiple ways. Since they had so many hidden fees I felt I would like Vonage without the hidden fees. BIG mistake!!!
As soon as the boxes were added to my computer and phone lines I lost the internet. This took about 4 days to repair. It was a Norton issue who apparently went crazy with this new system attached to the computer. Worse than that, our phone lines did not work properly. One day no incoming calls, next day no dial tone. My only means of talking with customer service was to use my cell phone...which did not work well in my house.
And here is the topic at hand....Customer Service! Now the friends who liked Vonage never had to deal with their customer service department like I did for the next 2 weeks. It was common to dial the number and get the message that your call would be answered in 25-30 min. I waited....and waited....and waited.... Then the customer service rep would answer and it was very obvious that English was not their first language. Most were courteous but after waiting 30 min. I then had to give all my info, address, phone, etc. Then we discussed the problem where I was given a few options to try to fix the phone. It never worked and I was passed onto someone else. Then I began all over again.....wait 30 min....give detailed info on account...explain problem....passed onto someone else.
Days went by....weeks went by....NO phone service! I decided to go with another carrier to get my phone lines operational. I cancelled the Vonage service....and they took my phone numbers. So when the new company tried to set up my phones they could not use my original phone numbers. I had to re-join Vonage to get my numbers back. I spent many hours....actually most of the day for several days to find out how I could get my numbers back. I FINALLY found people on both carrier & at Vonage who understood what I was trying to do....and are currently working on getting my original numbers back in place
However, this will take several more weeks.
My plan to save more money undoubtly cost me hundreds of dollars and HUGE blocks of time.
I would never go back to Vonage no matter what special deals they offered me because I know when I have a problem I will have to deal with incompetent customer service.
Lesson learned....
Customer Service is the lifeline to a good business.

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