But the two places I have most engaged with customer service in recent months are Amazon (I do love the convenience of Amazon) and Sirius radio (I do love the no commercial, music-I-like aspects of Sirius).
But my issue with Amazon is the streaming music service you get along with your Prime membership. I listen to it every morning when I’m reading the papers (classical), during the day (folk, classic rock, Broadway) and at dinner (usually jazz or classic rock). So I use it quite a bit. I’ll try to make this as brief as possible even though over the past few months it’s taken up hours of my time:
I wasn’t paying the extra money to get “Unlimited” music because the range I already got with my Prime membership was more than sufficient. But I seem to recall it played for longer than an hour at a time without stopping. Then, it stopped doing that.
I began with the online chat version of customer service. I got various answers on different days from: “that’s odd” to “reboot your device, unplug it” to “the problem is on our end, we’re working on it.” A few days after I got that response, it actually started playing for more than an hour at a time! But then it stopped again.
Once, the online chat help person said he’d have to “bump you up” to a higher, more technical level of service. This happened several times. Each time they gave me something to do that I should try for a few days and they’d call me back to check out if it worked. It never worked. And they never called me back.
I told each one that another of their cohort told me the problem was on your end, not mine. But that didn’t seem to matter.
This issue was getting to me so much (let it be the worst problem I ever have) that my wife said I was obsessing about it. I told her “no, I’m not!” As in most things, though, she was right. It was an obsession not so much that I couldn’t listen for more than an hour without making another request of Alexa (not exactly a heavy lift), but because I couldn’t believe there was no answer to why this was happening.
I checked forums online to see if others had the same problem. Hundreds did. Hundreds also got the run around from Amazon. A few kept saying, “This is their marketing plan to get you to sign up for Unlimited.” I thought, Amazon has so much money – almost as much as their owner – that they wouldn’t stoop to that despicable tactic.
Finally, I got a nice young woman who seemed to honestly be trying to help. She gave me something to try for a few days. It didn’t work. And, she actually called me back!
She did not, though, bump me to that mysterious “higher level” of technical support. She said she’d track it down and call me back. And…she did! Finally, after months of time spent online and on the phone, I got the definitive answer: Alexa only plays music for more than an hour at a time if you pay for Unlimited.
I thanked her for telling me that and said I wished the others I’d spoken with were as honest as you. Disappointing but…mystery solved! Obsession ended!
I eventually did sign up for that “one device, $3.99 a month” deal, a deal I’d never heard about before. I really only use one device to play it that long anyway.
Still I’m guessing it took me 17 phone calls to get an honest, simple answer.
Now, Sirius. All of a sudden the radio in my car gets “no signal” or cuts out repeatedly on the same roads I’ve driven for four years without problem. This would be a small irritant but Sirius isn't cheap and I wanted it to play regularly. (Again let this be the worst problem I ever have. There is regular radio, after all.)
I started with the chat line. They’d tell me “refresh your radio” which I have done 18 times in the last few weeks. It never worked.
One fellow bumped me to the “higher level of technical support” who could help me. Once, I actually got through, explained my issue. that fellow put me on hold, came back and said, there that should fix it. I asked what did you do, but he was gone.
It didn’t fix it.
So, I’d wait a few days because some days were better reception than others. In fact, I’d go to the grocery store, about two miles away, and would get “no signal” the whole way there. But, on my return home, the radio worked flawlessly. On the same, local, two-lane road.
I drove to my car dealer which is about 16 miles away and it worked perfectly. On the way back too. And, the next day … it worked flawlessly again! I figured maybe the trip warmed it up and it was cured.
But nope. The next day, same problem. It would get no signal on my way out of my street (a dead end) but when I returned it would play fine on that same piece of road.
Then, the next day, no signal again on my road. And, I’d drive the two miles to the grocery store, all the way with it not working. But, on my return trip, over the same road, it worked perfectly.
Once again to the chat line. Again, they said refresh your radio. I said that doesn’t help. He bumped me to a higher level (one time I was texting with a friend and she was trying to get through to Delta customer service. Would wait literally hours on hold. Got a call back at 12:30 a.m. But after she got out the first two words, Delta’s system went down, ending the call. She also told me she was bumped to a “higher level” once and figured the businesses we were trying to reach used the same answering service. She also experienced, as did I, each place, while we were on hold, telling us we “are special to them….your business is important to us.” Um hmm.)
Then there’s that other thing. The horrible “music” you get on hold stops for a second and you think someone is coming on the line but nope. It just continues playing that godawful music. Or I figure my call has been dropped so I hang up and call again, only to be even further back in line.
Back to Sirius. I was bumped up to “the higher level.” The chat online person said he put a note in my file so I wouldn’t have to explain my issue for the 321st time.
I’ve now tried that “higher level of service” number 15 times and wait on hold for 45 minutes, listening to that godawful music, and hang up in frustration.
Meanwhile my radio does the same thing. In and out. I guess this is to be continued because my radio issue remains.
Have a nice day.
You’re very important to me.