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A particularly irritating approach taken by some unscrupulous companies is simply to avoid unhappy customers in the hopes that they will "go away". Good companies provide toll-free numbers and a reasonable number of customer support representatives to assist customers who have already made a purchase. Poor companies don't. They try to wear you down, to waste your time and money until you get to the point where you'd rather just accept whatever they are doing than fight them.
Compare the ease of contacting the company before and after the sale. If it's easy to get through to the sales department and not to the support department, the company will usually apologize for this in a recorded message, acting as if the volume of support calls was unanticipated. In fact, many companies allow their support departments to be chronically overwhelmed for the simple reason that they don't make any money off support calls. Remember that the company is intentionally creating this situation with its budgeting and hiring decisions. You may at some point be faced with a corporation that expects you to sit on hold paying a long-distance charge for a long period of time waiting to resolve a situation that is of their making. In my book this is not acceptable.
If the firm has a toll-free sales number but not a toll-free support number, and you have been put on hold for an eternity on the support number, call the sales line and ask to speak to a manager. Explain that you are trying to resolve an issue and have had problems getting through to the support department, and you don't think it reasonable to sit on hold paying by the minute to do it. Often the supervisor in the sales area will be willing to assist.
Tip: Always ask to speak to a
supervisor immediately in such an instance; the sales people are usually told to tell
customers that they have "no way to connect them to support" from the toll-free
number. This is usually just a policy issue, not a technical matter, and their supervisor
will often magically find a way to do it.
Even if the support line is toll-free, you may not be willing to sit on hold for a long period of time at all. Unfortunately, a long wait is common with many larger companies. You may have better luck calling either early in the morning or late at night, or using a different way of contacting the support department.
You may also encounter avoidance when you do speak with a representative. Usually, if someone sounds like they are trying to cover something up, they probably are. Tell the person clearly that you want to know the truth about what is going on, and if you don't get satisfaction, ask to speak to a supervisor. Don't let yourself be put off.
Next: Making A Break