Tuesday, April 26, 2011

In praise of Verizon

I resisted getting our two teenagers cell phones for as long as possible, before finally relenting a few months back. I pretty quickly regretted my decision when I received a Verizon bill for several hundred dollars for going over the limit on texts. Yeah, call me Naive Dad, Poor Dad.

But there was a catch — in previous months, when they'd exceeded the allotted number, I'd received a warning from Verizon so I could tell the kids to cool it. This time, the bill came through without a peep.

I called customer service to plead my case. The first person I spoke to offered a 50% discount. Thanks, but no thanks. Moreover, she basically blamed me for not keeping track of the account usage, and said the warnings were at Verizon's option. I asked to speak to a supervisor, but she was at lunch, so she would call me back later. She didn't.

A few days later, I called and pleaded my case to a different rep. This guy repeated the same 50% offer, which I declined, but also took the extra step to inform me of a better plan for our usage pattern. I signed up immediately. Again, no supervisor was available, but someone would call me back.

And again, no callback came. So, this weekend I made one final call and finally hit paydirt:
  • The rep, Pam, heard me out without interruption or a guilt trip.
  • She agreed that the situation was not right.
  • She apologized that I had received poor customer service from previous reps.
  • She immediately put me on the line with a supervisor.
The conversation with Vonda the supervisor lasted about 2 minutes. I gave her the Reader's Digest version, she was profusely apologetic, and credited my account as I'd been requesting since Call #1. I thanked her and let her know that she had renewed my faith as a longtime and loyal Verizon customer.

Was I disappointed that it took so long to resolve my issue? Sure. But I'm a cheap SOB and nothing if not persistent when it comes to a couple hundred bucks! The customer service lesson in here is a familiar one: Ask the person what he or she wants, and solve the problem on the first call if you can.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Embrace your inner honey badger

The following video is 100% utterly not safe for work (NSFW), so don't say I didn't warn ya. But amongst the rough language and ewww-disgusting imagery...well, there are a few lessons for freelancers, just as there were in the analogy of "I am MacGyver." I say, embrace your inner honey badger!

Freelancing isn't risk free — it's some pretty rough terrain on which to stake your livelihood. So what's the takeaway from the wacky antics of this lovable little creature?
  • Sometimes, you've got to be a bad***, whether it's chasing away jackals or digging into a bee's nest.
  • Once in a while, you're going to do all the digging, and some other creature will benefit unfairly from the fruits of your labors. "Thanks for the web content, Stupid!"
  • You need to have broad shoulders, and thick skin helps, too.
  • Don't give a s*** about being bitten by the occasional cobra. Take a nap and get back to work.