A tale of two customer service scenarios

Since Diann & I are moving soon, I needed to call up all our utility companies and get services transferred.  My phone at work can report on who I recently called and the time that I spent on each call (to answer your question: I don’t think big brother is watching).  I noticed what I thought was an interesting trend, and dug up the phone logs to prove it.

I had to call 5 companies in total: 3 of them local (Puget Sound Energy, City of Bellevue Utilities, and Allied Waste) and 2 national (Comcast and Verizon).  Since we’re moving within the same city and service areas of these companies, most of the calls would be to transfer service from our current residence to our new residence.  Some of the calls would be to disconnect service altogether (Verizon doesn’t offer FiOS at our new place), and some would be to transfer and modify service (had to move cable from Comcast and add internet to our service).

The local companies use local call centers, the national companies use national call centers.  Comcast’s national call center is local (up in Lynnwood, if I recall correctly), but it answers calls for their nationwide customer base.

Here are my results:

Local/National Company Notes Time
Local Puget Sound Energy Transfer service from old to new address 3m44s
Local Allied Waste Transfer service from old to new address
Inquire about new service (trash day, etc.)
6m27s
Local City of Bellevue Utilities Transfer service from old to new address 6m27s
National Comcast Transfer service from old to new address
Add new service
9m36s
National Verizon FiOS Disconnect existing service 11m15s

Verizon was the worst – as I expected – to do the least amount of work: just disconnecting service.  Didn’t have to schedule time for someone to come out and do work, didn’t have to ask about how the service would work at the new address.  Just disconnecting.  My Verizon timeline in detail?  3m03s to get an actual human, the human transferred me to another department at the 4m46s mark, whereupon I had hold music until 6m35s, and I was finally completed at 11m15s.

My sample size is small, but I’m theorizing that as your call center becomes more national, it takes longer to do stuff. 

4 thoughts on “A tale of two customer service scenarios”

  1. I most definitely agree. National call centres (and even international! as there are now) are a pain in the neck.
    I moved home a few months ago and used a move planner from moveme.com – it supplies all the telephone numbers you need, and some of them are for direct home-move departments which helped. But for most…. there was still a half hour or so hold time 🙁

  2. Lindsay –
    Thanks for the heads-up. That website looks great, but unfortunately (well, unfortunately for me) is UK-only it would seem.

  3. we sign verizon fios and i didn’t like at all, they put staff in my pc that makes it slow, and the worst was when we call to disconect, at least 1 hour on the phone going from one to another waiting on hold and no one could find my account eve when a have a bill with all the details about my account. That was the same s… thru couple more of calls trying. verizon really sucks.

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