A few weeks ago I related the tale of our abortive foray into changing wireless service providers from AT&T to Verizon, which provided rich material for reflections on client service.  If you missed it, the original story is here.

With dismay, I must report a coda..

Late last week we received a bill from Verizon (if you missed the first installment, all you need to know for present purposes is that we were “customers” of Verizon for about 24 hours before cancelling and returning to AT&T), which was for, you guessed, a month’s worth of service.   So I called the 800 number listed on the bill to get them straightened out for future reference and safeguard our good credit.

In order:

  • I had to guess my way through the phone tree to get past the very first prompt, “Please enter the 10-digit Verizon wireless number you’re calling about” (no such number, actually)
  • When I got to a (very sympathetic) human being, he said the 800 number pre-printed on my bill was for residential accounts and the account number I’d read off from the bill was for a business account, so he transferred me to a different number.  I didn’t ask why a business bill featured the residential-service 800 number.
  • The business account representative, also most sympathetic, said she could only deal with active, not closed, accounts, so she’d have to find out where to transfer me to next; “please hold.”
  • After about five minutes, the line went dead.
  • Accomplishment, nonexistent; time wasted, half an hour.

I plan to pursue passive resistance.

There’s an outside chance they’ll belatedly realize the bill was sent in error, but barring that at least if someone calls to torture me about it he/she will actually have some tangible connection to this mess in front of them that they can address on the spot.  I’m done trying to help them do what they can only do for themselves.

And did I mention in the original piece that if you fall short on client service—at any level of your law  firm from senior partner to billing clerk to receptionist—it’s not actually your client’s responsibility to spend an excessive amount of time explaining the problem to you and trying to help you fix it?


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