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Is it me? Or, is it bad service at Verizon?

Almost a year ago, I reported a problem I had with a Verizon Wireless store.

(Interestingly, a PR person later called my office…and asked someone on our team to “apologize for Verizon to me.” Which, of course, struck me a little strange — asking my colleagues to do their work for them…)

Two weeks ago, I went to another store in the area — in part, because the manager at the store I cited earlier gave me the “stink eye” when I returned to his store to purchase a charger — and, I had a great experience purchasing a phone and tablet at the Castleton location.

(In the interest of full disclosure, I am a mobile phone NUT. Crazy about them. Want them all. My buddy since our teens, speaker and author Mark Mayfield, owns every golf club ever made. That’s my goal with smart phones. Stupid, I know…but, it’s my thing.)

AND…I’m keynoting a majorly important sales conference for HTC this week. I LOVE HTC phones! If they would give me lots of samples, I would give them speeches for FREE. (Thankfully, they’ve already signed the contract for other compensation.) HTC Sense enables them to deliver the absolute best Android experience going. And, I wrote that before they ever selected me to speak to them…)

So…I needed to understand the competition. It’s my job…research. I purchased the Motorola Razr from the Verizon store in Indy — and, while not my favorite, it’s a good product. Except for the battery life.

As the kind sales professional at Verizon told me, I could trade it in for a Razr Maxx if I found the battery life unacceptable. (The Razr Maxx addresses the battery life issues of the original.) I called Verizon, and the helpful person in customer service told me he would make it so I could go to the store, and set it up so they would ship me a Razr Maxx on the road, put my Razr in a box, ship it back to Verizon, and have a pleasant return transaction.

I believed them.

Then, I went to the store. Both the manager and his associate argued with me that I even BOUGHT the phone at that store!

(NOTE: When is it EVER productive to tell a customer they don’t know where the hell they even spent their hard-earned dollars to purchase something from you? Here’s a clue…never.)

Later, as they reviewed their data, they found that, yes, I was right…and they were incorrect in telling me I didn’t know what I was talking about. We were not off to a great start.

Then, they blamed the nice guy at Verizon customer service. Telling me he “could not make the offer to me” he did; I would have to give them my phone — preferably after I drove all the way back home and returned it in the box in which it was purchased — and do without a device until they shipped one to me on the road. And…since Saturday was my last day to possibly do this because of their return policy…would I give them the phone then, or would I “live with my situation?”


Here’s what bothered me most: The sales employee was sincerely making an attempt to be helpful. Her “manager” was doing everything he could to be “right.” (Conversely, it seemed he wanted to prove me being “wrong,” rather than cooperate to solve a customer’s problem.)

His focus was never on my experience as a customer — but, instead, ensuring that every box was checked properly on the forms he evidently was required to complete.

When you choose procedure over customer experience, you create customers who are dissatisfied and want to tell others. Just like I’m telling you now…

Verizon has a fabulous network. And, HTC and others ensure they have great devices. So, Verizon Wireless…PLEASE get your act together when it comes to how you relate to customers. Why was it so important for the manager to be right — as opposed to the customer to be thrilled?

Why would Verizon Wireless — or any business — that has invested so much in everything else then provide us a compelling reason to walk away?

(By the way…I just gave up and bought an extra charger and left, disgusted. I am dissatisfied customer. And, while I will tell everyone how much I love HTC, how — at this point — can I be a fan of Verizon?)

Is YOUR business more conceded about policies and procedures than customers?

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More Stories By Scott McKain

Scott McKain is a business leader, bestselling author, and Hall of Fame professional speaker.
Scott's latest book, "The Collapse of Distinction: Stand Out and Move Up While Your Competition Fails" reached the #1 spot on Amazon.com list of Customer Service Bestsellers! He is the author of two #1 additional business bestsellers (Amazon.com & 800-CEO-READ): "What Customers REALLY Want" (currently available in trade paperback) and "ALL Business is Show Business."
He is the Co-founder and Principal of The Value Added Institute, a think-tank that examines the role of the customer experience in creating significant advances in the level of client loyalty, and has appeared on multiple occasions as a commentator and analyst on FOX News Channel. His platform presentations have run the gamut from the White House lawn with the President in the audience carried live on CNN and NBC's "Today" show...to a remote outpost near the Amazon...all 50 states, seven Canadian provinces...and from Singapore to Sweden...Mexico to Morocco.
An inductee into the Professional Speakers Hall of Fame, he is also a member of "Speakers Roundtable" -- an elite, invitation-only group of twenty of the world's top business speakers.

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