Craziest thing. Shortly after being held up to ridicule, contempt, anger and a fair amount of loathing, Qualmcast was all over itself to finish my aborted install and attend to all of my service grievances large and small. Two extraordinarily pleasant and helpful supervisors were in my home for four solid hours. I got four calls from customer-service people following up on my "issues," and I'm told I have a phone message waiting for me at home from a Qualmcast VP. No doubt it is simply oozing with regret.
And that regret is sincere. Qualmcast seriously regrets that the customer they mistreated so brutally was me. Because I have an audience, and friends in the blogosphere, including Jeff Jarvis, who has helped me spread the infuriating story far and wide. Qualmcast senior director of corporate communications Jenni Moyer deemed the outbreak of hostility as something that must be contained, so she issued a press release:
"We are appalled by the experiences that some customers have recently shared on blogs and in other forums. Where we have been able to identify customers who have had unsatisfactory service interactions, we have taken action to fix their problems. We recognize that it should not take a public event to have good customer service, and we are working hard to ensure that all of our customers receive the best possible service."
Not too bad. She didn't actually lie till the last clause of the last sentence. As the comment traffic has made abundantly clear, Qualmcast is not working hard to ensure that its customers are receiving the best possible service. It is working hard to reduce costs to be competitive with the other telecoms, who also treat customers shabbily, in order to compete with Qualmcast.
But the other stuff was true. They have taken actions to correct my problems, which may be lucky for me, but in no way pacifying. On the contrary, as a jihadist bent on destroying their corrupt system, I am angrier and more zealous than ever. Customer service doesn't mean kissing the ass of VIPs and putting everybody else in the hold queue till Groundhog Day. It means treating all your customers with dignity and respect, and investing all necessary resources to see that problems get solved immediately -- for everyone. Which, if institutionalized in company culture, would eventually cease to be an expense and instead be a priceless differentiator in a commodity category.
Think about Nordstrom. It has higher costs than its competitors, but also commands a price premium, because, duh, customers attach value to being treated like human beings.
So thanks for all the followup, Qualmcast. However, I cannot be bribed with ex-post-facto attentiveness, and I am by no means finished with you.
Oh, and by the way, my fucking phones still don't work.