Not just good, but great.
Most of you have not read my saga with Hewlett Packard. I wrote several posts about my struggle with their tech support, bad customer service and my desire to get my 4 month old computer repaired or replaced. It started here and ended here. There are 16 posts all together chronicling my struggle with Hewlett Packard but if you really want to get the feel for my frustration read this one. I’ve bitched about bad customer service a fair amount in these pages but by far the worst I have ever experienced was with Hewlett Packard.
I hate outsourced customer service. I cringe when I reach someone who has a thick accent that is not American. I get upset when they try to tell me their name is Joe or Bob or some other very American sounding name. I’m not buying it. When did ‘Bob’ become the nickname for Muhammad? It didn’t. I might be American but I’m not as stupid as they seem to think I am. Tell me your real name for crying out loud, I might just believe the rest of the stuff you tell me if we start out being honest with one another.
Don’t get me started.
Last week was a craptastically bad week for me financially, and it should have been a pretty good one. I was expecting my tax refund but hadn’t seen the direct deposit even though it was supposed to be processed by the 26th of March. It wasn’t a huge refund, only $600 but it was big to me and I had budgeted for it. I was counting on the refund. I needed the refund.
Imagine my surprise when I received a rather cryptic letter in the mail stating my refund had been “recaptured”. WTF? I called the number on the letter but the office was closed. I had to wait until the next morning to find out what was going on.
I had a hunch what was going on so I called one of my exes. He had been working with the IRS for some time to pay off back taxes, taxes he didn’t file or pay while we were married. Ten years ago. We never filed jointly but apparently the IRS doesn’t care about that.
The next morning I logged into my bank, probably hoping there had been some mistake, and noticed that my car payment had been taken twice. In 24 hours I was down $1000 and I was pissed off. More than that I was scared. I had bills that had to be paid, bills that were automatically drafted. The bills that were automatically paid would put me severely in the red because of the tax issue and the double car payment.
I called about the taxes first. I got some smug government worker. I asked why they took my money and he said it was for taxes from 2000. I had gone in prepared, I had a copy of my 2000 taxes, showing a refund back then. The government worker actually said to me “you have a copy of your 2000 taxes?” he couldn’t believe I actually had files from TEN YEARS AGO. Hell, I couldn’t either. He wouldn’t give me any specifics over the phone, said he would mail information to me. He had an old address which I corrected. I wasn’t sure he got the address right since I was crying, screaming, and using the word ‘fuck’ many times. I’m pretty sure I screwed myself there.
I will say this, the government worker or agent, as he called himself, was American. There was no sign of an accent. I don’t remember his name but I bet it was something like Larry or Walter. In my minds eye he was on the late side of middle aged, balding and fat. He wore a white, short sleeved button up shirt that you could see through because he wasn’t wearing an undershirt, it was a cotton poly blend and he wore ill fitting polyester navy blue slacks. I’m sure he was wearing black socks. Larry or Walter was no Muhammad. Muhammad would have dressed better.
After slamming down the phone and crying for a few minutes I gathered myself together and called the car payment people. I called too early but left a message. A short message but a nice one, at least I didn’t swear, saying my car payment had been processed twice. I left my name and number.
A few minutes later I get a call from my agent Nick. I have talked to Nick on many occasions. I like Nick. In my minds eye Nick is young, maybe mid 20s. He wears slightly faded, properly fitting jeans, a t-shirt or sweater depending on the temperature, he has light brown hair that has just a bit of a curl in it. He is clean shaven but on the weekends he sports a little bit of stubble. He likes to barbecue with his buddies on the weekend. I’m pretty sure Nick has green eyes. Nick is just a little taller than average, where Larry is short, and he works out so he has a nice physique. Larry spends his free time eating Cheetos and has a hard time keeping his forms from getting orangish yellow smudges on them. Nick’s paperwork is smudge free.
Nick asks me how I am doing, I start blathering on about Larry. Nick lets me vent for a few minutes, he even tells me how much it sucks that Larry is such an ass. Nick doesn’t use the word ‘ass’ but I know he is thinking it. Then we get down to business.
My car payment is made through Equity Driver. They split my payment up and take half every two weeks. This does a couple of things. First, it makes the payment easier to stomach, and by taking half the payment every other week, I pay my car off sooner.
Nick tells me that indeed they made a mistake and that they will replace the funds as soon as possible. He tells me that it will take 24 hours for the transaction to post. We both know that in 24 hours other checks are going to hit my bank and that there will be charges. Nick tells me that they will cover all charges.
I declare my love for Nick and Equity Driver, much like I did with my mechanic. Nick tells me to have a nice day and to call him as soon as the bank starts charging me overdraft fees. He apologizes, for the 7th or 8th time and hopes my day gets better.
Nick is great guy and he works for a great company.
The bank did charge me, several times. I sent a screen shot of the over drafts to Nick and he reduced the amount of my payment today to reflect the charges.
I can’t tell you what a difference it makes to have good customer service. I have only talked to Nick at Equity Driver so I don’t know what the other agents are like but I bet they joke around throughout the day, maybe all have lunch together on Fridays or go out after work for a drink now and then. I’m sure they are all young, healthy and happy people. I’m sure none of them are named Larry and that none of them wear polyester blends of any kind.