Here is a log of my dreadful experience today that should be great inspiration for change within Verizon if it still cares about its consumers amid further dwindling differentiators besides price.
On a rainy Sunday afternoon while doing other errands, I walk in to Verizon Wireless retail store here in the Boston area to buy a new Pixel 3 in order to replace my old Pixel phone given the battery gets me only to about midday. This is a Verizon owned store and not an authorized retailer, so I expect better service and deals there.
The store sales rep told me I could get a “special” $300 off by trading in my old Pixel phone that net out to $580 after handing in my old device. I proceeded to do that but he had to order it since they did not have the white phone in the store. I would have to come back into the store vs. the convenience of shipping to my house if I ordered in online. OK, I guess I could manage that.
Upon arriving home I noticed my order confirmation email and tried to click on the track order status link. That of course did not work, but I proceeded to check the offers on Vzw.com. To my surprise I noticed I could get $300 but that would net to $499 and I would not have to trade in my old phone. Not bad given I could sell my old phone for ~$100 and my net purchase would be $399. I would think retail stores and online reps would have some common alignment (maybe free home shipping as benefit with the later). They seemed to both be in the dark about other sales channels.
VzW.com chat agent said she can help me take a new order and cancel the store order. After about 7 min, she realizes she can’t seem to cancel it and I must do so myself. I have to ask her how to do that. She then directs me to call *611 on my phone. I go to do that, but my phone dies since an old battery is the reason for my new purchase. I have to restart and recharge.
*611 call to their IVR redirects to a digital assistant on my MyVerizon app on my phone asking for all sorts of info that is not useful.
*611 call continues to hold and then connects me with a live agent (it is a real person!)
I explain to the agent I want to cancel my order from the store and she proceeds to try to convince me not to since that order has a $300 discount, which she says is “great”. I had to explain to her that online offers are better and I can keep my old phone. She finally agreed to cancel my order.
Agent then puts me on hold after having difficulty canceling the store order and that call now is 14 min long.
Chatbot app assistant on my phone app keeps uttering non-sense
Live chat agent on VzW.com keeps asking me when I am ready and keeps checking to see if we can proceed (I must be killing her customer service metrics and hitting her incentives). She tries again to walk me through canceling the order online, but no option to do so when I walk through the website after logging in. I ask her to escalate and they send me a link to a different customer care department.
32 minutes into the call center call they say they need to put in a ticket and wait 5-7 business days for a resolution.
37 minutes into the call I get a manager on the phone. I repeat an explanation of the issue and she then tries to call the retail store. I go back on hold.
45 minutes later, the customer service manager asks for my PIN.
1 hr 2 min into my call the manager attempts to take a new order (will have store cancel their order upon arrival since they need the device ID), however her screen does not now allow her to take my order and then suggests transferring me to another rep (I plead not to do so since I fear the 1+ hour history/context of my issue will be lost). I also fear my battery plagued old Pixel is going to crash mid-call.
Vzw.com chat agent times out and then asks if her services to me was 10 out of 10.
1 h 26 minutes later a different customer service rep takes my order over the phone using an upgrade on a different phone to skirt the issue. I appeal to them to credit the $30 activation fee given I have more than earned it.
What a horrible experience and it felt like 4 black holes (call center, online assistant, chatbot on my phone, and Vzw.com self-service website). Thank God for a warm cup of coffee, browser multi-tasking to catch up on email, and no longer owning any Verizon stock.