Sometimes, they’re right to be upset

Years before I got my first actual job in tech support, I worked billing at an internet provider that shall remain nameless.

Anyway, some background:

We had residential and business customers. Residential customers didn’t have half the perks of business customers (of course), which business customers paid through the nose for. *However,* when you moved between the two, you couldn’t take your email address with you. Your residential email address would be put on a type of hold for six months (to keep people from receiving emails from the previous customer) and then be available to select again as a first come first served deal.

For reference, this happened a few years before Etsy was founded. There was no centralized place to sell crafted wares, which is what the customer was doing.

What happened:

Well, the customer in question was switching her residential account for a business account. But she *really needed* her old email. This poor woman had been sent from sales (who told her she that could and who had put through the changeover order), to business tech support (who said no), back to sales, to residential tech support, (repeat that sequence a few times), and now to billing because she was at the end of her rope and they were desperate to get off the phone with her.

She was *justifiably* upset, imo, as she had been lied to. Yes, I believe she was lied to, it wasn’t the first time sales had done so in order to meet their goals. It just wasn’t usually this blatant.

So, I listened to her story. I threw her a month free right off the bat to calm her down, and I started asking her a few questions.

Paraphrased, because it has been over – *wow* \- two decades:

“Help me better understand the problem, maybe we can find a workaround. Why do you need the same email?”

“My website has a link to click to send me an email and some of my customers have saved that address.”

“Okay, let me ask you this: Do you have a list of customers you regularly correspond with and are still you still on good professional terms with whoever designed your website?”

“Yes and yes.”

“Fantastic. Here’s how this get fixed: Call your website person. Depending on how they coded it, it can take anywhere from two minutes to an afternoon to change the email address on your web page. That’ll fix it for your new customers. For the existing customers, send a mass email updating them on the address change. Perhaps a ‘celebrate our success’ thing…. I mean, you’re upgrading your account, so you sound like you’re doing well.”

“I am. That’s all I have to do?”

“For your business? That’s it.”

I also reminded her to update any web sites that she’d used the email on for personal things, and to consider getting a free email address to keep the two separate. But, this poor woman was so relieved to no longer be getting the runaround that she offered me a discount, a reference, and a job in the remaining time before we got off the phone.

I have to say, *I* was furious by this point. It was somewhere around four in the afternoon and, going by the time stamps on the system, she had been on the phone since *eight in the morning* trying to get this resolved. I had her problem solved in three questions, because I actually knew how the system worked and bothered to listen and ask questions.

Edit: Thank you for the gold!

What do you think?

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