It is late August and as I do towards the end of each month, I check my cable bill. It was extra important to check it this month given the issues I had with TripleMania XXIII.
If you read that post, you probably won’t be surprised to learn that there were issues with my bill. If you read that post, you will also not be surprised to learn that Midcontinent Communications took care of the problem in a quick and very fair manner.
I opened my bill to see a balance due of $266.67. Right away I knew there was a problem since TripleMania 23 only cost $19.99 and I should have only been builled for that once. Factor in the $15 credit I was awarded because the show was in Spanish not English when we resumed watching it and really my bill should have only been a little higher than the $210.05 it usually is.
Glancing at the individual charges revealed the issue. According to my bill statement I never ordered TripleMania XXIII. I instead ordered UFC 190 (in Spanish) at a cost of $49.99 and a TNA One Night Only PPV (World Cup 2015) for $14.99. Of course I never ordered either of these shows, if I were going to order UFC 190 I most certainly would have ordered it in English. Had I known what a clusterbomb TripleMania was going to be I would have ordered UFC instead that’s for sure.
As for TNA One Night Only, there’s not enough alcohol on earth that I could consume that would impair my judgement enough to order one of those shows.
So, obviously wanting things to be resolved, I hopped on the phone to Midcontinent. One of my favorite things about calling their customer service department is that I never have to wait long to speak with a human being. I navigated through perhaps 2 automated menus and was connected to an actual person (who spoke perfect English by the way) immediately.
I explained the problem. Thankfully, they had access to the record of my customer service call on the 9th and even saw the $15 credit. I quickly explained why I had gotten that and if necessary I could have read the twitter DM I got but it wasn’t necessary. So she knew I wasn’t lying or misrepresenting my claim when I said I didn’t order UFC 190 in Spanish.
So this is what the end result is going to be. The $49.99 charge for UFC will be taken off my bill. I’m still being charged $14.99 for the TNA show I didn’t order but that is offset by the $15 credit for watching the rest of TripleMania in Spanish. Furthermore, since I wasn’t actually charged for TripleMania in the first place I’m not being charged for it now. In effect, I got the show for free. That’s fair, all things considered especially since a lot of the issues surrounding that show were out of the hands of my cable company and everyone else’s for that matter.
If all of this took 10 minutes it did not take a second more. The phone call was very pleasant and I walked away happy. I even explained to the woman how there were a lot of issues with that show that night and most of them were beyond the control of the cable systems that carried it. Although my being booted off isn’t something that can be blamed on AAA they had enough other issues that made it an unpleasant evening. She said that it did indeed appear to be a giant mess and that they don’t want their customers to suffer for that kind of thing.
So all in all my problems are solved. My bill should be pretty close to what it actually is every month and even if it is slightly higher I don’t mind since if all had gone according to plan I would have paid slightly more anyway.
I read online about people that have issues with a particular company’s customer service. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure that there are companies that just offer horrible customer service and that there is not much that can be done in those cases.
Still, I think there are a few things that people can do to improve their own odds of receiving good customer service. I generally get good service and it can’t simply be because I only deal with good companies. So here is how I tend to handle customer service.
First and foremost, whenever I email or call someone’s customer service department I am always polite. Even if I have a legitimate reason for being angry or upset with something, I always remember that whatever my problem is, chances are amazingly high that it is not the fault of the person I am about to speak with to register my complaint.
The incorrect charges on my bill weren’t the fault of the woman I spoke with tonight so I did not take it out on her. When I contact Audible about a glitch I found in one of their books, I know that the customer service person isn’t responsible for the presence of that glitch, so why yell at them? If you can start things off on a good footing when speaking to someone you will probably walk away with a better outcome.
As a side note, I also do this at restaurants. I could be having the worst day of my entire life but when I go to a restaurant and am greeted by a waiter/waitress, I am always polite. Again, they’re not the reason I’m having a bad day and there’s no reason for me to try and make their day any worse. It is such a small thing but I’m sure that they generally appreciate it when I say please and thank you as we interact.
The second thing is try to provide as much information as you can. Using the Audible glitch example above, when I report a glitch I give them at least this much information. I tell them the name of the book. I tell them the book chapter and the corrusponding audio chapter. I give them a specific timestamp on the track E.G. the glitch starts at the 9:43:00 mark and lasts until the 9:43:15 mark. I tell them how I detected the glitch, usually on my Audible iPad app and windows desktop and I describe the specific issuee. E.G. the book makes a sound like a skipping CD or it fades out unnaturally and fades back in again and the context is such that it is clearly an error.
Tonight, I was able to give the woman the date in question, the specific issue of the show and because they keep good records, she saw my previous service call. If sufficient information is clearly presented in an easy to understand manner, things will get done a lot faster and easier.
Finally, if you are able to negotiate, be willing to negotiate. I realize that not all customer service issues allow for negotiations. I didn’t order UFC 190 on PPV so why should I agree to pay for half of it? But there are sometimes instances where a little negotiation may be in order. If you work to find a fair solution and one presents itself don’t be afraid to take it.
I’ve sometimes walked away from a situation with better resolution than I could have expected to receive and I think it was because I followed these three points. I even sometimes get free audible credits just for pointing out glitches. I never ask for them but if they’re offered, who am I to say no?
So that was my evening. The saga of TripleMania XXIII is in the books. Now let us never speak of it again…ever.