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In priase of customer service

Customer service is a fickle business. Calls about concerns, just minutes apart, can end up on opposite ends of the spectrum.

Customers can play nice and get nowhere, and they can get just as far with a raging temper. It all depends which customer service rep happens to answer the phone and whether or not someone tinkled in his cornflakes that morning.

But according to a recent MSN-Zogby poll, there are some companies that are just plain bad at customer service, a vast majority of the time. The poll rated the bottom three companies as follows: No. 3 - Comcast, No. 2 - Bank of America and No. 1 - Sprint.

I've never dealt with Sprint, thank goodness, I guess. My wife's family deals with Bank of America, but I haven't heard any outrageous experiences. That leaves Comcast, our local cable provider. Hmm. Where do we start?

First and foremost, I don't have cable. It's mostly because I don't have enough time to watch television, so I refuse to flush $60 a month down the toilet. That being said, everyone else I know subscribes to Comcast, and problems abound.

Take, for instance, the discovery a colleague of mine made while dealing with a billing issue. Ideally when there are problems you call and talk to someone, get it worked out and move on. That was far from the case this time.

After spending more than an hour and a half on hold, he hung up in total frustration. I don't blame him at all. I would have too. What he discovered, though, is that your reason for calling determines when they pick up.

Here's how it works. He called three times in a row and punched the correct numbers to let the company know he had a billing concern. This resulted in staying on hold no shorter than 30 minutes.

Next, he called back three times in a row, punching the numbers that indicated he would like to purchase a new service. On each of those calls, a representative answered within a minute.

Coincidence? It's possible. But probably not.

I'm not saying this is the case for sure, but it seems that taking more of the customer's money warrants immediate attention, while correcting their boo-boos doesn't even show up on the radar.

So now that I've given you the secret, McDuffie County, take advantage of it. If you have problems with one of those big, impersonal companies, call and punch the "new service" button no matter what your concern is.

Your time is every bit as valuable as theirs. If they can't deal with you quickly and respectfully, take your money elsewhere, and tell everyone else to do the same.



Web posted on Thursday, May 10, 2007













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