Damning Video: Verizon Reps Misquote Rates 93% of the Time

Fantastic work by on “Eyeless Writer” has produced this video, compiled from 56 separate calls made to Verizon Wireless, in which the same two pricing questions were asked of the customer service representatives—93% of the phone reps got one or both answers wrong. Amazing.

While I hope Verizon gets more than egg on their faces about this one, it’s surely not just they who have problems with underpaid, undertrained customer service staff. The entire phone industry has gutted the part of their companies which most directly affects their customers’ satisfaction.

There’s a maxim my old boss used to remind us of when I was a customer service rep for AT&T, back in the era when getting a phone support job meant going through several weeks* of training: Every mistake you make generates another call from an unhappy customer. Companies must start paying the higher costs to hire quality representatives and give them the training and infrastructure knowledge of the system they need. Having a good understanding of the way the phone and data networks work and keeping all the convoluted pricing schemes straight is very difficult work that takes months or years to really wrap one’s head around.

How Bad Can a Cell Phone Company Get?: Verizon Misquotes Rates 93% of the Time [EyelessWriter.com]

* Training which was being quickly scaled back; just a few years before my tour, phone reps were trained for something like six months before ever taking live calls.

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9 Responses to Damning Video: Verizon Reps Misquote Rates 93% of the Time

  1. Anonymous says:

    Not that this is defensible, but I think the problem here is a poorly written reference book for call-center reps (compounded with poor thinking about how decimal points work).

    The bulk of the representatives who answer the first question correctly use the phrase “point zero zero five dollars per kilobyte,” which is awkward, and the bulk of the reps who answer incorrectly seem to be trying to simplify the language and getting the math wrong (i.e. “five hundredths of a cent”).

    The manual (or computer) most likely lists “$0.005″ as the price. If instead it listed “1/2 cent” I bet the problem would completely disappear.

  2. Sarah Neptune says:

    my follow-up post responding to DCulberson and Astock27 is not here anymore… perhaps it was swept away when the comments weren’t working. The gist was that my original post failed to outline my true thoughts, which are: boingboing is awesome, verizon’s awful, and the one shouldn’t give the other advertising space. a search on bb for “verizon” yields loads of posts confirming how much it sucks.

  3. dculberson says:

    Sarah, I think a willingness to post a negative story about an advertiser shows a certain amount of integrity .. or whatever you’d like to call it. Would you prefer that they filter out bad PR about their sponsors?

    Way to promote unethical blogging, Sarah!

  4. liquis says:

    i saw a 2 and 1.5 quite frequently, which makes me think they often just had the wrong or outdated information in front of them, so probably not all of these calls were the fault of the phone support tech person.

  5. staticfive says:

    @Sarah, I’m always amused to hear that “Verizon Sucks” from hundreds of people who have never used it. I’ve been a Verizon user since 1998 when I switched from AT&T, and I wouldn’t EVER consider switching back. You pay about 10% more (actually debatable if you have an iPhone), but you actually GET the f#@!ing service that you pay for. I found this post while searching for “AT&T F***ING AWFUL” on Google because her iPhone dropped the third call in an hour from three very separate, populated, and flat areas in California.

    Fact is, if you call Verizon CS, you get a person *LITERALLY* within 3 seconds, they’re in the US or Canada, speak English, are reasonably intelligent, and can damn near always fix whatever you were calling about.

    This video’s bogus anyway, you can clearly tell that some of the voices are the same and provide (behold) the same answers when asked the same question. If you’re concerned about going over your data plan, pay $5 more and shut up about it.

  6. David Bruce Murray says:

    This has to be staged. All the reps could speak English too well.

    When I call Verizon, it’s like the Mad Gabs question on You Don’t Know Jack. “Tink ooo Foo-Kahl-een, etc.”

    The odds of getting that many customer service reps in a row to pronounce “kilobyte” correctly are astronomical…no way this is real.

  7. ploni says:

    Brilliant, exquisite, highly professional work.

    I am very, very impressed with this piece, EyelessWriter.com!

    More!

  8. Sarah Neptune says:

    “How bad can a cell phone company get?” Bad enough that whenever I open BB there’s a Verizon banner at the top of the page? Way to bite the hand that feeds you, BB, and poison us with ads for the “damned.”

  9. astock27 says:

    Dculberson….couldn’t agree with you more.

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