By Kriste Gaither
Okay, so I am going to start off by saying that me and cell phone companies do not get along. We rarely agree, and I always find myself in a heated debate with them trying to prove that the 1,000 minutes that were used in China at 4 a.m. last night were in fact, not mine. I have never had great customer service and I tend to believe they think they are such a commodity; that my business simply doesn’t matter. And if in fact they did lose my business (which almost every one of them has), they would move right along to the next customer who wasn’t such a pain in the you-know-what to deal with.
But all that changed for me recently. Now let’s keep in mind that I am not saying that this company is perfect, or that people before me have never encountered a problem with my company. I am, however, concluding that there is a company in existence that cares about the almighty customer.
To give you some background: I joined T-Mobile about five years ago. My family had one of those giant plans where we all shared 2,000 minutes per month, and got free phone-to-phone calling. We learned not long after, that the area we lived in happened to be covered by another company’s towers and we were not able to use our free phone-to-phone feature. Though we weren’t dissatisfied, we were forced to switch. And thus began the battle of dealing with unruly customer service reps and unnecessary “extra” charges. I spent the next few years switching through four different providers and never truly encountering cell phone service bliss. It wasn’t until recently that I decided I would give T-Mobile a second chance. I had since moved, and no longer needed a giant family plan–the choice was incontrovertible.
The switch was nearly effortless. I went online, chose my phone, put in the number I would like to keep, and pressed the “go” button. Things were running smoothly in a day. It wasn’t until a few weeks later that I was forced into calling the dreaded customer service line. My phone had taken a vacation on me and I was unable to make calls, check email, or even see anything beyond a blank screen. I put off the call as long as possible–I was never in the mood to listen to someone tell me they can’t help me or that it’s all my problem now. The next day I finally forced myself into believing that using the phone was inevitable and I need to make the call. I set aside a good 45 minutes to deal with the “all of the customer services representatives are busy helping others, please stay on the line to be serviced by the next available person” message.
I was shocked when I picked up the phone and didn’t hear this message. Instead the voice recording informed me that if I put in a call-back number, I would not lose my place in line, and a representative would call ME when they were done assisting others. As skeptical as I was, I reluctantly put my number in a hung up. Within 15 minutes, as promised, my phone rang and the voice told me that if I pressed “1" I would immediately be connected with a customer service representative. Wow, I thought, this really worked! The representative had all my information in front of him, and was ready to assist me.
He went on to inform me that he was indeed able to correct the problem, but that there was a possibility of this happening again. He was concerned that the next time I would not be able to recover any data lost, and that important work information may be sent into the great unknown. The protective measure he wanted to take included sending me a brand new phone at absolutely no cost to me, and then walking me through the steps to transfer all my data from my old phone to the new one. Well this sounds great I thought, but when I get my new phone and I going to have to explain this whole situation to another rep and wait for him to get caught up on the situation before helping me? Of course not, he reassured me. HE would set an appointment to call me back the day my phone arrived and at my convenience, walk me through the process. Needless to say, things went extremely smooth, he even followed up a few days later to be sure I didn’t have any questions or didn’t need any more assistance!
I seem to find it odd that these days, we set our standards quite low for customer service. We all recognize that someone going above and beyond just doesn’t happen all that often. We find ourselves surprised when at times, people just do what’s expected of them! I think that T-Mobile represents what we stand for at the DIFF, and is well on their way to becoming a company that goes beyond just doing what they have to in order to get by.