Sunday, April 12, 2015

Customer Service??

I consider myself to be a semi-intelligent individual who can troubleshoot technology and follow simple instructions.  My father raised me to be one of those problem-solving individuals who gives it a shot, and, if all else fails, go back and read the directions.

Suffice it to say, I am a trial and error trouble-shooter.

I also worked as a Customer Service Representative, settling insurance claims for Reliance Insurance Company right out of college, so I feel for the poor suckers who are working on a beautiful spring afternoon for Comcast, and I mentally try to psych myself into believing that they are only capable of doing what their pre-scripted prompt sheets tell them to say.

I'm sure you see where this is going.

At approximately 2:30 today, my computer failed to connect to the internet.  Multiple attempts, followed by restarts and alternative devices confirmed that the issue was owned by Comcast.  I called, and had the system send a new signal to try to get things back online.  Did I mention that our phone is also Comcast?  So yes, the signal was sent, disconnecting the call.  With no resolution to the problem, I resorted to calling on my cellphone, each time refusing the electronic offer to "complete a short customer service survey" after the problem is resolved.

When satisfaction was not achieved, and I called for the FIFTH time, I agreed to have customer service call me, within 30 minutes, to give my customer service feedback.  (And knowing that such feedback would, at least, give me some sense of revenge on the system--even if it were just talking to their electronic voice.)

My computer is still not working, but my husband's is, hence this blog entry.  The wonderful advice from customer service, and I quote, "Next time you have trouble with your service, LOG ON TO THE INTERNET and we can talk you through the steps to resolve your issue."

Honestly, Bruce and I were laughing so hard at this advice that I failed to hang up with customer service, and he and I mocked the conversation for the better part of five minutes, before I heard the dude patiently asking if there was anything else he could do to assist me. 

Apparently customer service can't disconnect a call until the caller does.

So how does this relate to education?

An excellent question.  I am doing my best not to insult my friends, some of whom actually WORK at Comcast, and comment that I might use a lifetime career of script-reading as the result of not doing homework.  I totally get that the nice young man on the phone was doing everything within his power to assist me, according to the rules established by his employer.  Even he understood the absurdity of suggesting that the next time I had trouble with internet service, I should log on to the internet to solve my problem.

There are certainly times when teachers offer the same sort of double-speak.  We explain something or give an assignment which seems unclear or incomprehensible to students, who ask for clarification.  Our answers usually fall on deaf, or confused, ears.  We get to a point that we don't, or can't, find alternate words or paths to explain the situation or assignment in a way that is understandable, leaving kids as frustrated as I am right now trying to make my confused mind peaceful again.

Unlike the voice on the phone, kids looking for clarification are usually looking us straight in the eye.  And answering, honestly, that we just don't know, but will work to find answers that will work for everyone.

Fortunately, we live in an age where the answers are on the internet, with reliable sites like Kahn Academy and databases with trusted sources.

As long as we can find the connectivity key on the bottom of our routers, type them in accurately, and stay online long enough to find them.