Thursday, February 8, 2007

Qwest: Spirit of Service

My local phone company happens to be Qwest, who as the title of this piece mentions, believes the phrase "spirit of service" represents their customer friendly nature. While the following story does not portray me as the Jeff Daniels-esque duped man of my flat tire story, I feel that it will nonetheless be an entertaining tale.

About this time last year, Qwest decided to make "account review" phone calls to its clientel to maximize our savings (and their profits). I was fortunate enough to receive this call about once a month until I began keeping track in June, when I requested being left off of future account review recaps. From that point on, I received 6 more phone calls, all of which ended with my requesting to not be called again. I tracked the dates on my dry erase board, with the common theme of them coming every four weeks at about the 20th day of the month.

Last Fall, Qwest went so far as to mail (some? all?) customers a "how can we serve you better?" survey. After filling out the usual info, I used the fill-in-the-blank space to reiterate that I did not care for these account reviews. I listed the specific dates that I had been called and that every single one of them was an undesired solicitation. Furthermore, I was considering switching my phone services to another company because Qwest, despite the moniker "spirit of service," was not valuing me as a customer due to their inability to listen to my repeated requests. This was mostly a bluff as I'm generally to lazy to go through the effort to cancel one service and call to establish another one, but they didn't need to know that.

Two months after that, a gentleman called our house to express concern over my survey. I happened to be holding down the fort at Walgreens that night and missed his call. Honestly, I did not want to talk to him, all I wanted was to be left off the damn calling list. If they finally got that through their head by means of a written survey, then so be it.

For around three months now, I have been paying my phone bills and avoiding the dreaded account review. I think that even an amateur reader can tell what is about to happen next.

Thursday morning, the Maple Grove Walgreens had it's floor buffed and waxed, and I was the lucky soul who had to report to work at 5am so that the cleaning crew could get in. The 5am start to my work day meant a 3:30am alarm, leaving me rather tired when I eventually returned home at 3pm. A nap was high on the agenda and it was not long before I was dreaming of a world without the NBA.

Suddenly, the phone rings. Perhaps it was my lovely wife letting me know she was on her way home? Or maybe my mother needing IPod assistance? While both calls were to come later that afternoon, this one would be my favoriteist phone company in the whole wide world wanting to do an account review.

Partially asleep and partially irritated about who the call was from, I decided to take it the whole way through instead of stopping the individual and telling them (again) that I have repeatedly requested to not receive these annoying calls.

"Hi this is Jim (name made up because in my sleepy stupor I have no recollection of the chap's name)."


"I'm calling to do an account review with you today on behalf of Qwest."


"Can you verify (slew of personal information including telephone number which I found odd since he managed to call me)?

"Yep, that's correct."

"Do you have a computer?"


"How much a month do you pay for your service?"


"Well, for $49.99 we can offer you blah blah blah blah."

With absolutely no intention of ever going to DSL from cable speed connection, I politely declined paying more for less.

"Just to let you know (insert deal sweetner here) is yours if you do this today."


I'm very eloquent on the phone.

"Ok, I understand. Can I ask do you also receive cable television from your cable Internet provider?"


"Can I ask you how much you pay for your service?"


"Is that $45 total for both or $45 for each Internet and another $45 for cable."

"$45 for each."

"Ok, let me do some math."

Audible pounding on the calculator.

Me wondering if 45 + 45 warrants a calculator.

"Ok, sir my calculations show that you are paying $90 a month for both services."


"Ok, sir I'm going to do some more math."

"Go right ahead."

"Well sir, if you bundle your Internet plus your cable TV through Qwest it will cost you (insert number here). Just to let you know Qwest can off you X number of channels plus channels Y and Z free for 3 months for a reduced rate of (I drifted into unconsciousness and missed the new "special offer number)."

"No thanks."

"Ok, I understand, but I did want to let you know that if you act today I am authorized to give you a $100 credit to your account."

At this point, I thought I would be polite since this dear, math-challenged man was in a customer service field, and I have pity for one of my own.

"Sir, I appreciate you letting me know of all of your offers, but I am not inclined to make a spur of the moment decision. With the new knowledge of all of your services, I will consider them in future media packaging decisions."

I was trying to sound convincing, but I was really tired.

"Ok, I understand. But just to let you know, sir the $100 gift card offer is only available during this special account review. You are unlikely to receive another account review phone call, so this offer is will pass you by if you do not choose to take it at this time."

Now it was my turn.

"Acutally, sir, I have received 6 account review phone calls in the last 10 months and that's with me requesting to not receive them, so I'll take my chances."

"Oh, I'm sorry."

"No biggie, I just like my odds."

"Thank you for your time."

And with that, I slept.


JR said...

Obviously, the answer is to abandon your silly land line. Get in the now, grandpa.

Edwin said...

You should include a copy of Walgreens "Seven Service Basics" with your next payment.

dani said...

I've been getting a number of random calls lately, though not from Qwest. Apparently someone by the name of Christina is giving out my number to a few organizations, including the "Lux Erotic Hotel" which saw fit to call me at 3:30 am. More than once actually.

CHCgirl said...

I also sympathize. Apparently a somewhat deliquent man named Edgar Bibbs had my phone number last and at least 80% of all calls are for him... bill collectors, etc. They like to call between 6 and 8am. During a day period, the phone rang 5 times in that window. I've pretty much given up answering. When I do answer, they don't believe they have the wrong number. It's great.
The other 20% of calls on my landline are telemarketers for me.
All real calls for me use my cell... so JR is probably right, I should just can the landline. But there's sentimental attachment.