Yesterday, we upgraded my technologically-in-denial husband to a “smart phone”.
My husband has been a staunch hold-out and despite my move to a smart phone, he held firmly to his simple flip phone with a call-only plan through a major provider – until now.
When we started our transition to Arkansas early last year, a friend GAVE me a Samsung Galaxy II … at the time I had NO IDEA what I’d been gifted. In fact, I was kind of scared of it!! Our friend added us to his phone plan … and over time, wow … I really got to liking – and depending on – that phone! Thanks to our kids, I got a little more educated about the wonders of these devices … and after taking over payment for my phone the end of last year, with our new carrier ting, I found we could actually AFFORD them – and suddenly, they became even more interesting!! Drew bought himself a (refurbished) phone and was added to our plan for under $20/month (usually under $15, depending on how much data he uses outside of a wireless network).
FINALLY, after realizing we were paying the SAME AMOUNT of money for my husband’s ancient flip phone and the most basic of calling-only plans with a major provider as we were paying with ting for 2 smart phones, we decided to eat the fees to break our contract with Verizon. Ting pays 25% of the early termination fee (with a credit to your account). In the long run, we still are saving money! We got Daniel a refurbished (fairly simple, older) smart phone this week.
ALL THAT to get to the crux of my story:
To “port” a phone number (to keep your phone number when you switch providers), one must have a PIN number or password from the provider you are leaving behind. WELL, I tried every password I knew to get our service switched – and nothing worked. I searched my paperwork and my lists of passwords and looked online at my account. Nothing. Well, I did see a section that said “billing password”, blanked out by **********. That didn’t help!
I called customer service and got hung up on, had to choose from 4,000 option (none of which really were what I wanted), and was put on hold FOR.EV.ER. … and then was asked to enter my BILLING PASSWORD, which was what I was calling to find out what it was!!! I finally talked to a guy who was pretty short with me – he told me I wouldn’t find my password written down anywhere, in my paperwork, or on-line. I needed to let him call the phone that was associated with the plan (which my husband had at work). Could I do that on Saturday? No, customer service shuts down then! *sigh*
I stopped by my husband’s work and got his old phone. Called his old provider, and as they say, I was “loaded for bear” – itching for a fight. I *was* going to get that password TODAY. NOW. And I was already forming the arguments in my head – all the things I was going to let that customer service person, who was unfortunate enough to talk to me, know what all I was NOT pleased about. Surprisingly, when the voice activated service heard my words in choosing my option to “cancel my service”, I had a customer service agent on the line within a minute. First, I was stunned into silence. I kind of let down one of my defenses a little.
The lady greeted me with a pleasant voice (I could “hear” the smile in her voice … that is something one is taught often when working in customer service – answer the phone with a smile even if the other party can’t see it). She asked how to help, bla bla bla … and I explained, cautiously, ready to DEFEND MY RIGHT to cancel my service and get my billing password at any cost!! To my surprise, she just said, “Sure, I’d be glad to help you with that…..”. Huh? No arguing with me about why I wanted to cancel, who I was switching to and why … and then would come a spiel about what they could do to make me stay. Just “Sure”. Wow, that was easy. So far. I was still on guard. The doozy was yet to come, perhaps?!!
While she was clicking on her keyboard, she asked, “How is your day going?” … I felt my brain shift – from defensive, loaded-for-bear mode to calmer thoughts.
“Pretty well,” I replied. “The sun is shining here in Arkansas. Thanks for asking.”
The customer rep laughed, “Yeh, the sun sure helps! I sit in my cubicle here and wonder if it is shining here, too.” Then I remembered she was human. Just doing her job – and making the best of it.
At the end of the conversation, I had my password and instructions on what to expect for my final bill. And that was it. Easy peasy!
I did tell the lady THANK YOU and shared that I had called prepared to fight … but she totally deflated my bad attitude and made my day. I hope I made hers. Customer service to a bunch of cranky, defensive people who call “loaded for bear” can’t be easy to deal with …
(DISCLOSURE: all links to ting are affiliate links.)