What Happened To Verizon’s Customer Service?

by Michal on October 26, 2011

in Blog

This year Verizon Wireless won the J.D. Power Customer Card Award for their exceptional customer service. Verizon Wireless ranked highest in the company’s 2011 Wireless Customer Care Performance Study. Unfortunately, my recent experience with Verizon was anything but award winning.

About two weeks ago I helped a friend with an issue she was having with her Android Phone. By the time I became part of the scenario, she had gone through several replacement phones due to various issues and the current state of the phone was a battery that wasn’t holding a charge and the phone was not receiving any text messages. This phone was just over a year old and at this point she had been dealing with the battery issue for months and just made do by constantly having a charger on hand. Once the text messaging problem occurred and she was not receiving text messages she decided to seek help from the store.

Over the course of an hour, the first Verizon store we visited determined they could not fix the text messaging issue and since the phone was past the warranty time-frame they suggested she do an Early Upgrade to get a new phone. In case you don’t know, an Early Upgrade means Verizon will allow the primary line to upgrade early for 2 year pricing as long as you agree to renew your contract for another 2 years. An early upgrade costs the customer $25 plus the cost of the phone. The last thing my friend wanted was to buy a new phone, after all her phone was just a year old. Like most, she can’t be without a phone so she decided to bite the bullet and get a new phone.

To make a long story short, we asked the store to waive the $25 fee and in return my friend would be willing to renew her contract. We thought this was appropriate considering the numerous problems she had with her phone. Apparently, this type of exception must be approved by a manager. I was shocked when the manager quickly refused to waive the fee and was even more shocked he didn’t even know the scenario that prompted our request. He asked no questions and he was extremely rude on top of it. This can’t possibly be the award winning customer service Verizon boasts about!

Being a former Verizon Wireless employee and long time customer I decided to seek help from a different store. I know first hand what managers are capable of doing when it comes to customer service and this manager did nothing. Not only did he refuse to waive the $25, but he was not even nice about it which was more disappointing than anything.

We headed 20 miles to another store and from there it just got worse. I will say both Verizon employees we worked with were much friendlier. This store could not fix the text messaging issue either and they gave the option of an Early Upgrade also. This store was not willing to waive the $25 fee either. They did however, offer other options which I have outlined below:

  • The manager offered to replace the battery for the phone. He offered to do this because he said this is one step they should have previously taken when the phone was having battery issues. The standard battery was out of stock so they had to order an extended battery that costs $49.99. They offered to overnight the battery which was an additional $9.99. Verizon covered the cost of both.
  • Due to my dissatisfaction, the manager also credited back a portion of the text messaging package because the phone was not receiving messages. The total credit was $10.

In all, our visit to this store cost Verizon $69.98. This would have all been fine and we would have left somewhat happy Verizon customers except that my friends phone still wasn’t receiving text messages. The store took care of the battery issue, but what about the text messaging? The store could have just simply waived the $25 upgrade fee, my friend would have renewed her contract and two long time customers would have been happy. Not to mention Verizon would have saved $44.98 in the process (cost of battery and shipping minus $25 bucks). The only way to describe what I was thinking was complete shock! What’s the point of replacing the battery on a phone that doesn’t work?

At this point I was on a mission and I completely took this problem head on like it was my own. I was prepared for a fight and was determined to get my friend a new phone without her having to pay the $25 fee. I called up customer service, explained how we just wasted 3 hours in the store and guess what?? They waived the $25 early upgrade fee and shipped out a new iPhone overnight with NO shipping charge. They also offered to upgrade the other 2 lines on her account early with no additional charges!

In the end this issue cost Verizon $104.97 and that doesn’t even factor in the time it took 5 different employees to work on this. All this could have been resolved if either store would have been willing to waive the $25 fee. My friend and I would have left happy customers and the title of this post would be “Verizon’s Customer Service Is Awesome!”. I guess there is one upside to the story, my friend now has a brand new extended battery she can sell on Craigslist for $49.99.

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