Friday, August 20, 2021

bad service and good service

Today I experienced, simultaneously, the extremes in quality: really terrible customer service and exceedingly good customer service - from different vendors.

I was down in the Safeway parking lot to pick up my order which had been placed online. You park in a designated space, call up their number and tell them who you are, and they bring out the groceries in bags on a cart, and place them in your trunk. I do this regularly at this store every Friday morning.

But this time when I opened my phone and picked Safeway from my stored numbers, the phone rang once and then a recording said it was AT&T customer service. Which is also on my list, so I thought something went wrong. I hung up and tried again four times before letting it go far enough that it got around to saying that they were intercepting all calls placed from relevant phones until each customer had spoken to an agent about the impending 3G network shutdown - which isn't happening for another six months.

I'm used to having my calls interrupted by recorded announcements that my account balance is expiring in less than two weeks, but it then lets me proceed with my call. This was different.

When the live agent came on the line, I said that I knew all about the shutdown, that I'd already bought a compliant phone from Amazon, that I'd transfer my account over when it was closer to the date, and that it was absolutely outrageous that they should enforce a live intercept. What if my call had been an emergency?

Meanwhile the agent kept saying she was about to disable the intercept on my line, but it took her about five minutes to do it.

Now for the good news.

While I was still struggling on the phone with AT&T, one of the Safeway delivery guys knocked on my window. He'd been coming back from break, saw me in the parking space and recognized me as a regular customer, so he went in and came back with my groceries, which he was now ready to load in my trunk if I opened it.

Now that is truly great customer service. I must go back to the store and tell the manager about it.

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