After failing to get a useful answer from Verizon about FiOS availability at a Manhattan address (via http://fios.verizon.com/fios-coverage.ht…), I engaged the site’s chat agent system, and had this dialog…
Jessica: Hi! I am a Verizon specialist, can I help you today?
You: I am trying to help a friend moving into ______ in New York City. The Web interface here gives a choice of three addresses, two of which are that address, but it doesn’t seem to work. She wants to know if the Gigabit deal — internet only (she doesn’t watch TV or want a phone) — is available there.
Jessica: By chatting with us, you grant us permission to review your services during the chat to offer the best value. Refusing to chat will not affect your current services. It is your right and our duty to protect your account information. For quality, we may monitor and/or review this chat.
Jessica: Hey there! My name is Jessica. Happy to help!
Jessica: Thank you for considering Verizon services. I would be glad to assist you with Verizon services.
You: Did you see my question?
Jessica: Thank you for sharing the address, please allow me a moment to check this for you.
Jessica: Yes, please allow me a moment to check this for you.
Jessica: I appreciate your patience.
Jessica: Do you live in the apartment?
You: No. I am looking for a friend who is moving into that building.
You: I had FiOS where I used to live near Boston and was pleased with it.
Jessica: Thank you for your consideration.
Jessica: The address where your friend will be moving require to enter the apartment number.
You: hang on
Jessica: Sure, take your time.
You: When we are done I
Jessica: Thank you, one more moment please.
You: would also like you to check my building as well.
Jessica: Sure, allow me a moment.
Jessica: I appreciate your patience.
Jessica: I’m extremely sorry to share this, currently at your friend’s location we don’t have Fios services.
You: Okay. How about _________ ?
You: Still there?
Jessica: Yes, I’m checking for this.
Jessica: Please stay connected.
Jessica has left the chat
You are being transferred, please hold…You are now chatting with LOUIS
LOUIS: Good morning. I’ll be happy to assist you today. May I start by asking for your name, the phone number we are going to be working with today, and your account pin please?
You: I want to know if FiOS is available at _________.
You: __________. It is not a landline and I do not have an account.
LOUIS: Hello. You’ve reached our Verizon Wireless chat services. I don’t have an option to check on our Fios services for your area. You are able to contact our Fios sister company at the number 1–800–483–3000
You: this makes no sense. I was transfered to you by Jessica in FiOS.
LOUIS: Looks like Jessica is one of our chat agents, but we are with Verizon Wireless. Fios is our sister company, which is a different entity than us
You: Well, send some feedback to whoever or whatever is in charge. Not sure what the problem is, but it’s a fail in this round. Best to you. I know your job isn’t easy.
LOUIS: I do apologize about this, I will certainly relay this feedback on this matter. Here is a link to Verizon Communications for your residential services: https://www.verizon.com/support/residential/contact-us/index.htm
LOUIS: I want to thank you for chatting with me today. Hope you have a great day! You can find answers to additional questions at vzw.com/support. Please click on the “X” or “End Chat” button to end this chat.
You: Thanks again.
Afterwards, I was queried by a Verizon robot about my experience with Jessica and Louis. This is typical of bad customer service. Evaluate and blame the agents trying to fix problems rather than the bad directions and tools they are given by Management. (Such as whatever it is that robotically greets visitors and makes the agent sound like Dory the short-attention-span fish.)
The only way to fix this is with customertech: powers that live on our side. (For example, we should have our own standard ways to engage all call centers.)
Originally published at blogs.harvard.edu/vrm on June 12, 2017.