There is one rule to follow when you are forced to phone into a call centre for technical assistance: You need to reconcile yourself to phoning back as many times as necessary until you eventually find someone with enough technical knowledge to solve your problem.
Unfortunately, this may take some time and an incredible amount of patience.
I have been around the track on a number of occasions with Shaw Cable and Telus to name a couple but I just had an experience trying to re-activate a tracfone, add time and change its area code that almost broke my spirit once and for all. I should have kept track of the actual time spent on the phone but overall it was a minimum of 5 hours and possibly as high as 8 hours.
I initially phoned in and talked to one of the representatives based in some far off country. I explain that I want to change the phone’s area code from 206 to 623. That apparently isn’t available, but they can use 602, which is satisfactory to me. I give the phone serial number as requested and she keeps going away for “2 minutes” and has me typing in codes and finally says that I should turn off the phone and turn it back on in one hour and my phone will be as requested. I am elated.
One hour later I turn my phone on and nothing has changed. So, being an eternal optimist, I leave it over night and turn it on again the next morning. No magic.
So I phone again, and get another person, probably at another call centre, in some other far corner of the world and we go through the same routine. Serial numbers and codes. We have some trouble with the code. She can’t seem to differentiate between 206 and 602. By this time the phone is actually activated and the time added. We are simply down to the area code change. She transfers me to another person/department to do the job. No information is passed on so I again go through the explanation and give the serial number and we type in codes. This time I am told to turn off the phone and turn it back on in 15 minutes. We have reduced the time frame!
But unfortunately, 15 minutes later we still have the 206 area code.
As my wife points out, at this point I could let it drop and live with the old area code. But they said they could change the code and I will persevere. So I call again and go through all of the same procedures – serial number, type in codes, turn phone off and on. No change. After well over an hour of this I get a busy signal and I am cut off from the call centre.
I phone back, but at this point I ask to talk to a supervisor. Of course I go back on hold until someone is available and am on hold long enough that I am beginning to suspect that they are hoping that I will give up and go away. Finally I get the supervisor, but there has been no information forwarded to him and of course we go through the same stuff all over again.
He works away on the problem and lo and behold the 602 area code shows up on my phone. I am ecstatic. I feel as though I have won the game. I thanks the guy for his hard work and for solving the problem. We hang up. I am pumped.
Then I try the phone. I can’t send or receive calls.
I phone back and again wait until someone becomes available in some far off country. And we do everything again but he can’t make the phone work. He transfers me to a supervisor and we do the dance again. After a while he says he has it fixed and that I should turn my phone off and wait a short time and all will be well. I tell him that my confidence level in their capabilities has been severely diminished and that I don’t think that I have ever worked with such an incompetent group in my life. He tells me that he is sorry that I feel that way, but I doubt his sincerity and suspect that he has heard this before.
But I did the man a disservice. When the phone gets turned back on its new area code is 480, which is also satisfactory – and the phone sends and receives. Problem solved. I’m exhausted. I feel as though I’ve gone 9 rounds and lost.
However, to add insult to injury, at one point while trying to change the area code, one of the people asked me for the area code where we were. Then he asked for my street address and my email address. I was trying to figure out what value this info was to him in solving the problem. When I was dealing with the final person, he also asked me for my email address. But by this time I am way bent out of shape and asked him why the hell he needed my email when he wasn’t sending me any messages anyway. Well, he said, ‘you don’t have to give it but we will send you out promotional material’. At which point I came unglued. I had been on the phone phone for so long with these yahoos that my ear was becoming deformed and he wanted to send me promotional material! And I was dumb enough to give them the mailing address as well.
I can only plead mental exhaustion.
Isn’t technology wonderful.