The Good Side of “This Call May Be Monitored…”

You know all those messages that say “This call may be monitored or recorded to ensure quality?” I always used to wonder what that actually meant. My best guess was that it was to make sure customer service reps (CSRs) toed the party line.

Yesterday, I found out.

I called my cell phone provider to complain about hundreds of dollars in international charges. Back in May, before my wife and I went traveling abroad, I’d called the company to ask about what is or isn’t chargeable when traveling out-of-country, before the first of several trips abroad.

At that time, the customer service person assured me that any call made TO a US number would be free. But our bills showed charges of 20 cents per minute, and my son was on a three-month European tour as a traveling musician this fall, and because we thought it was free, he used the phone. A lot!

The writer's son checking his phone (at the Women's March in Washington, January 21, 2017)

My son checking his phone (at the Women’s March in Washington, January 21, 2017). Photo by Shel Horowitz.

The first person I spoke with yesterday told me it was only free over wi-fi. This was very annoying, because I had switched to this company largely because of the promise of seamless international service. When I got put through to a supervisor, he told me he wanted to track down the original phone call and listen to it. He called me back about an hour later with the good news that he was crediting everything I asked for. Here’s a piece of his email confirmation.

Hi Shel,

It was good speaking with you earlier. I know these past few bills caught you by surprise, but I am so glad I could help you out with some of these charges. I have submitted two requests to cover these charges that came out to a total of $419.58. The first request will remove $229.28 from your latest November 14 Project Fi bill. I have also submitted a request to refund a total of $190.30 from your previous two Project Fi bills.
I did suggest that the company be considerably more forthright in its marketing, and the supervisor said he’d run across other similar situations and agreed. But I certainly can’t fault the customer service, and am very happy to learn that recording a customer service call actually can lead to happy outcomes.
Lesson for the future: any time I am in a customer service dispute involving an oral promise, I need to remember that *I* can ask them to go back and listen to the original call. The worst they can say is no.

Green/social change business profitability expert Shel Horowitz shows businesses how to turn poverty into sufficiency, war into peace, and catastrophic climate change into planetary balance--??while making a good profit. An international speaker and bestselling, award-winning author, his 10th book is Guerrilla Marketing to Heal the World.

Posted in Advertising, Business Ethics, Consumer Issues, Customer Service as Marketing, Shel's Personal Life, Transparency vs. Secrecy Tagged with: , , ,

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