Today I went to our local mall with my mom and my son. Mom had a Verizon phone that wasn’t getting a good signal where she lived. This was phone number four or five in an attempt to find one that actually worked indoor her building. My son Jonathan had a phone with service through T-Mobile that he wanted to downgrade because he wouldn’t be using it much anymore. The mall had a kiosk for Verizon as well as one for T-Mobile, so we figured we could stop at each one and get the issues resolved.
First stop, the Verizon kiosk. There was one lone employee leaning against the counter with her back to us, totally oblivious to our presence. She appeared to be typing a long text on her cell phone. After about 30 seconds she noticed us. We explained Mom’s situation, and asked for a recommendation on a phone that would work in her situation. To our amazement, she said, “Gee, I don’t know much about these phones. I just started working here.” She suggested we go to the nearest Verizon store.
Our next stop was to the T-Mobile kiosk. There were three employees behind the counter. One of them started helping Jonathan, but couldn’t seem to get anything to work. They couldn’t find his account, this wasn’t right, that wasn’t right, they tried to talk him into more service than he wanted. Mom’s legs grew tired, so we sat down at a table at a nearby coffee shop. For the next 40 minutes we watched as each of the three employees talked, stared at their screens, and generally seemed to be accomplishing nothing. Several other T-Mobile employees meandered over at one point and started chatting with their co-workers. Mom and I could see Jonathan bending and stretching his legs in discomfort. At last he finished, and the three of us rushed out of the mall. Jonathan said things still weren’t really resolved.
On to the Verizon corporate store. We walked in the front door and were greeted by a pleasant employee. We described the situation with Mom’s phone reception, and she seemed sympathetic. She typed Mom’s name onto her iPad, asked us to take a seat, and said it would be about a 30-45 minute wait to be helped! By this time my poor mother was beginning to worry about getting home before dark, and we decided to wait till another day to tackle the phone situation.
My conclusion: Cell phone companies are basically an expensive racket, and good customer service with them is rare. They promise so much, and often do not deliver. People have the illusion that they will have the security of being able to make and receive calls whenever and wherever they want. They’ll be able to surf the web, take great snapshots, send out pictures, listen to music, download e-books onto their phone, and so much more. With expectations that high, people are almost guaranteed to be disappointed. That’s why I’ll just stick with my lowly tracfone. It takes care of my basic calls, and I don’t have to hassle with poor customer service.