My Work

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Customer Service

For more than a year, we have been having problems with our telephones, televisions, and Internet service, and with more than one carrier.  For some time we were with Charter, and their customer service was probably among the ten worst in the world.  It is very frustrating when you never have the opportunity to speak to the same person more than once regarding problems.

First person is in Bangladesh, second person is in Toronto, third person is in Taipei, and with each call, you have to start from square one.  Within major corporations today, there is no communication.  That is a strange thing to say about communication companies.  Their only function is communication, and there is none within their corporate structure.

We dropped Charter for all services, and now have AT&T for telephone and fax, Dish for television, and Clear Wire for Internet.  And, you guessed it, the telephone customer service is actually on a par or slightly worse than Charter.  Amazing.  The various departments within American Telephone and Telegraph have no communication with each other.

Our phone and fax have been down for three days now, and we have been told, “a service technician will be at your home before 8:00 p.m. within the next three days.”  Modern technology at work for us.  My lovely bride Patty, convinced that everyone should have a cell phone, me convinced that I’ll never have one, bought one of those throw away things at Wall Mart two years ago, feeds minutes into its system regularly, and has never had a single problem.

Luckily, I’m supposed to be retired, don’t make my living with a telephone hanging off my right ear, as I did for decades as a reporter and editor, and don’t really give a damn if the phone rings.  Patty isn’t retired, depends on phone and fax, and I almost have pangs of support for some of the AT&T customer service people she has tangled with this week.  We’ve all heard the phrase, the left hand knows not what the right hand doeseth.  In modern corporations, particularly within their customer service bureaus, the phrase fits to a T.

The companies are so big, sprawled across continents, that even the concept of customer service must be considered impossible.  Coupled with no desire to be helpful, no communication between departments, and hiring from the bottom of the barrel in the least advanced countries, it’s amazing that the companies even exist.  Being the only game in town helps.

Maybe we will have to move to Fallon, which isn’t a bad idea anyway, where the telephone company is owned by Churchill County.  For many years, I lived in Virginia City, and that was during the time that the telephone system was the old crank instruments.  The operators always knew where you were.  I remember getting a call at one of the saloons one time, because the operator just happened to know where I was, and an incoming call was directed there. 

Now, that is customer service!  Have a great day, read good books, and stay regular.  Just don’t try to call for another couple of days.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Horn Blowing 101

Every once in a while I just have to blow my own horn, and this is one of those times.  The December issue of The Storyteller Magazine is out now, and my short story, “Good Times on Rios 2,” a fantasy that takes place way in the future is included.  And, editor Regina Williams just sent a note to let me know my short story, “Uncle T” is going to be included in the March issue.

My book length collection of short stories, Out of the West…Tales of the American Frontier is also on the market.  It can be ordered from Amazon, from Sundance Bookstore, or from my publisher, Bottom of the Hill Publishing.

The anthology, Trails West, Anthology of Western Lore is also available from Amazon and Bottom of the Hill Publishing, and has one of my western short stories included.

2011 was a good year for me and my work, and 2012 is starting out with a bang. 

OK, that’s the drum banging for now.  Let’s get rid of that ugly Patriot Act, let’s get a fiscal conservative in the White House, and let’s all read good books and stay regular.