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React Or Respond: The Choice Is Yours BY DANICA TREBEL

By Chared Cincoflores

I’m not even going to lie about it: I have had the WORST customer service experiences EVER with a certain cell phone company… EVER! I wish I could say it was a one time deal, but I’ve been with that company for over five years, and it’s every single time!! The.Worst I tell you!! It’s been so bad that when one girl actually tried to help me, her manager threatened to fire her because she “had no authority to do that, and she has to be disciplined.” Again I say The.Worst!! Which might explain why I always shutter and tear up any time I need to contact said wireless company. And this month was no different. When $15 extra dollars were added to my phone bill, the dread of having to deal with their “customer service” ran through my body…again.

This time, however, instead of calling I figured I’d at least spare myself a little agony and online chat with a representative. Trying to use my positive affirmations and deep breathing techniques, and after the usual introductions and verifications, I finally got to ask what was up with the increase. Finally after a 30-minute chat and review session, the customer service rep says, “The taxes in your state have gone up which is the reason your wireless bill has increased by $15.” Oh my word, here we go again! Thanking said rep for her “service,” I logged off, called it a night and vowed to try again in the morning.

Once again psyching myself up to have yet another “opportunity” to chat with said company’s most helpful agents, the typing began. Still trying to stay positive but having years of bad experiences tainting my efforts, the representative reviewed my bill and 20 minutes later said that the $15 extra dollars were from an international call I had made. Indignant and confident the mistake was yet again on their end, I shot back the response of “I have NEVER made ANY international calls…EVER!” She looked up the area code and asked if I recognized it. Talk about a face palm to the forehead. My pride and my righteous attitude took a pretty hard hit as I was struck with the reality of the fact that I had indeed made a business call to that area code, dang it all!!

I was faced with a pretty tough decision at this point. I was already overpaying them for the service I was getting, and the thought of giving them an extra $15 was NOT in my plan or my bank account. I so desperately wanted to save face and try to lie my way out of paying for the charges, but my conscience gave me pause. As I wrestled with which road to take, the customer service rep typed to make sure we were still connected. “Yeah, yeah…I’m still here. Just trying to figure out how what to say to you next,” I mumbled to myself. Finally, I typed back and fessed up. I sucked it up and told her how embarrassed I was for being so indignant. I explained to her my previous interactions with their support – including the one from the night before. I told her that I in fact actually HAD made a call to that area code but hadn’t realized Canada is international, although when I thought about it had no reason to think that it wouldn’t be. I apologized and told her that again how embarrassed I was.

And what happened next was nothing short of a miracle. The customer service agent typed back and said, “No need to be embarrassed. It happens all the time. Most people don’t realize Canada is international, and what I’ll do for you is give you a one time credit and take those charges off of your bill for you. Would that be okay?” Seriously? Would that be okay? That would be like totally AMAZING!! I thanked her profusely, apologized one last time and let her know how much of a blessing she had been to me that day.

We disconnected and I sat in reflection of what would have happened had I taken the low road. I would have been ridden with guilt. I would have cheated a business out of money that is rightfully theirs – something I, as a business owner, would never want to have happen to me. And I would have been a big fat liar. None of those options really appealed to me, and I would have much rather been embarrassed for a few minutes than haunted for a lifetime. Was I uncomfortable and did I have any idea how things would turn out? Yes, I was and no I didn’t. But after further review of all the facts and knowing the outcome, I sure am glad I was able to prove yet again that honesty truly is the best policy…always.