Don't cross & upsell me when I'm cranky

We’re here in DC for Call-On Congress. We have people flying in from all over the country. Perfect time for the airlines to have a meltdown, don’t you think?

Nearly every person who made it here from the west coast had a travel horror story to tell. We have two folks who are first arriving today, Monday, for an event that started Sunday afternoon. Another shared that she got as far as Detroit, Michigan from California and then rented a car to get to Washington, DC!

We have a big-deal-in-cancer doctor doing a presentation to our advocates this morning, flying in from Pittsburgh, PA. My cell phone rings at 3 am with an automated message that his 7 am flight was canceled. He used our travel agent, and must not have left a cell phone so they put mine on the confirmation. I wasn’t going to call this guy at 3 am, so I called US Air to see what I could do. After a recording tells me that I can expect to be on hold for at least 15 minutes, I am left to listen to an endless loop telling me to ask my agent about low fares to this or that island, or how about a getaway vacation to Europe or extra bonuses in the frequent flyer program. For 28 minutes, starting at 3:10 am, over and over and over.

Note to US Air: Look, the bad weather was on Friday. Your system is so screwed up that you’re still canceling flights and dealing with stranded passengers 3 days later. Give me some soothing classical music to listen to. Listening to a half hour of ads like I have absolutely nothing better to do at 3:15 am than plan my next vacation is not my idea of a good time. Put the cross & upselling on the lines where they have a chance of converting to sales and won’t make tired and incredibly annoyed customers more crank than they already are, okay?

Same goes with tech support and other phone lines that deal with people who are stressed. By the time we pick up the phone we’re ready to throw your product out a window. “Ask about our new super duper product that will make your life wonderful and will never get you a moment of grief” while you’re on hold for 45 minutes because you already have said super duper product and it’s crashing or otherwise not working is going to make that customer snarl at the poor CSR who gets the call.

Oh, and here’s another funny one…Comcast has been acting up a lot this week (Verizon FiOS just can’t get here soon enough) and I called a few days ago to report a complete outtage of service. No Internet, no television. I went through all the menus…press 1 for English, 2 to report trouble on the line, 1 for cable service, etc. until I get to this one…”Select which best describes the problem you’re having…press 1 if you have a snowy screen, press 2 if your screen is black…” Hmmm….with the DVR we turn it on and see the green band at the bottom but it’s a black screen besides that so I select “2.” Recording: “Please examine the back of your cable box and television and make sure that both are connected to a working power source. To return to the previous menu, press…”

Oh, and I did rebook the doc on a 8:10 am flight into Dulles that ::knock on wood:: is showing as “on time” at 6:29 am.

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