Digital Disgust

These last few days have been frustrating. 

First...  I am now on day 3 of not having my internet connectivity with Cox.   This would not be so bad except:
  • trying to call and report it presents two frustrations.  First, finding a phone number to call.  Second, once calling having to call through a digital agent that requires you do "stuff" that you've already done prior to calling in the first placed.  
  • My my backup--connecting through my phone--was whacked out.  So connecting to the internet was liking surfing through molasses.  It was so slow it was almost worthless.
My phone connectivity has been nothing but crap since I bought a new phone.  The reason I bought a new phone in the first place was because my Blackberry modem tether was broken.  It would no longer connect to the tether socket.  The new phone presented new technology challenges on top of just not doing what you think it ought to do, and it says on the menu that it should do:  tether to your computer and access the internet.

I'll not drag you through all of that...but I will say that the technical support was beyond excellent.  When the technician called me back later that day, he stated that this was one of the most interesting work tickets that he has presented.  What that means for me is simply, there is some IP address conflict or the phone is faulty.  To give you an idea of the speeds in which I'm operating (who knows if this image will upload), take a look at this:

Yep, that is me the blue worm crawling across the lowest of the low performance, while the green line is what most enjoy.  Now you get a sense of my frustration.  This is not what I'm paying for.

On another digital front, I'm trying to close on a house that is wrapped in a process that is mostly digital, seems to involve primary processing in India (with difficult to understand English, and tersely written e-mails) but the US address is in Georgia. Trying to call and get a person gets you a voice mail that you are unable to understand because the English is spoken so poorly.  Please do not misunderstand me--I'm no nationalist!  I'm no bigot!  But I fully expect to do business with people who I can understand and who can understand me.  Nothing is more frustrating than trying to resolve an issue or complaint with there being such a large gap in communication/understanding. 

Solving customer issues is more than a nifty algorithm that requires sequential processing and multiple parroting back of what the customer is saying by someone whose cost per hour is significantly below that of a US person.  We sometimes forget that communication is as often a style/cultural expression as it is structural. I notice this being a Southerner and doing business in other parts of the country.  There's a huge difference in pace and style of communication--but there is a cultural underpinning that allows that to be bridged.  There is no cultural underpinning when one starts to jump oceans--and when you are a customer with an issue (product, service, technical), any of these differences start to inflate and exacerbate the problem.

Remember, I'm talking about the customer experience, not a corporate global integration and having to work with team members on a different continent.  These are two different things.  Corporate cultural integration is internal and there is lots more time/venues to develop understanding, shared objectives, etc.  The customer experience has none of those latitudes.

As I'm sitting with my notary, signing the papers, I note an error in the documents.  It is not a small error....rather they are requiring me affirm certain pieces of information about a property that I'm buying.  ONe of those affirmations is a statement that there is going to be a mortgage placed to  encumbering the property.  There is no mortgage; and I try to call and e-mail my "closer" to discuss how they want to handle as there can be no changes to the documents.

No luck getting any.  Dial 0 out of voice mail and you get nothing.  So, I line through the erroneous statement and initial like any normal person would.  Signed the documents, and inserted the legal description of the property where it was conspicuously absent, and then scanned the docs and sent them via e-mail in addition to Fedex. 

I still have not heard from my closer (who I know is in GA).  All of this supposedly from a six sigma organization.  Right.

What is the difference in these three digital dilemna's?  With Verizon, I easily got to a human being who was interested in resolving my problem: no hoops, no digital assistants to hold me at bay and drag me through steps already taken, no any digital walls (voice mail, e-mail) to ignore me and require me to fend for and make decisions for myself on a contract that should have been correct in the first place and no offshore customer service that presents a communication cultural divide that cannot be bridged.

There are some things that you can outsource (offshore or digitally backfill), and there are other things that you ought to ensure that you preserve---such as keeping customer service focused on both the customer and the service.


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