Verizon Wireless Roadside Assistance Apologizes For Sucking

Earlier this month we shared Jason’s tale of incompetent Verizon Wireless Roadside Assistance—how the operator “helping” him acted like she’d been huffing paint on her break, and eventually just abandoned him with a “Sorry, I can’t help,” left on his voicemail. Verizon saw Jason’s story and contacted him about it. Below is the follow up he sent us yesterday.

You may remember a few weeks back you posted my blog about being stuck on I-25 in Wyoming and the dismal failure that was Verizon Roadside Assistance. I thought I’d drop you a line and give you an update.

I just got off the phone with a Latrina Jackson, she called to apologize for the troubles I had that day. Apparently someone high up at Verizon Wireless reads The Consumerist. Based on that blog, they have reviewed the call tapes and according to Ms. Jackson, “That call did not go the way it was supposed to.” She claims the operator I spoke to that day is no longer taking calls and is being put through their training program again.

In an attempt to make me feel better about the whole ordeal, they took my mailing address and are issuing a check to cover the cost of the fuel delivery. This was way more than I was expecting. I don’t know if you guys post updates on these stories, but perhaps your readers would like to know that while I still consider the words, “Can I connect you to Verizon Wireless Roadside Assistance?” a death threat, but at least they can admit when they made a mistake.

Congrats, Jason! We’re glad that Verizon Wireless stepped in to make things right, and that they’re retraining the CSR who failed to grasp the meaning of “roadside assistance.”

Comments

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  1. dlynch says:

    nice work, Verizon – a few weeks later than would be best, but nice work nonetheless!

    • Necoras says:

      @dlynch: Eh, takes time to move through the system. Verizon recognized that they had a moron working for them and did something about it. Better than most. One glowy fibery thumb up to them.

    • marsneedsrabbits says:

      @dlynch:

      Glad to hear you got such a great outcome.
      Another thumbs up for Verizon.

  2. AMetamorphosis says:

    Congratulations Jason !

    … and I’m glad that someone high up reads the Consumerist because hopefully things will get better from this awful company.

    • NefariousNewt says:

      @AMetamorphosis: Well, if you want an unvarnished look at how people perceive your company, reading this site is the way to go. Verizon puts a lot of effort into those commercials showing you they will back up their customers with excellent service — it does them no good to have any part of their customer service fall down on the job.

      • alexawesome says:

        @NefariousNewt: Agreed – we’ve had mixed issues with Verizon. We LOVE FiOS, but as this blog has discussed, Verizon has some issues with electronic billing if you don’t have a phone line through them. Sorry, not good enough. Our bills are consistent, so we aren’t as concerned about not being able to see our bill, but this is an ongoing issue that MUST be resolved if we’re going to stick with FiOS (which we would very much like to do). Hint hint, higher up!

        On the bright side, we have had nothing but exceptional service from our Verizon reps. Thanks to tips shared on this blog and others, we got above-and-beyond results from this company, so we’re inclined to stay loyal if at all possible. Again, the billing..? We kind of need to be able to SEE our bill each month, instead of just our credit card statement.

        • Nate128 says:

          @alexawesome: Verizon Wireless (cell phones) and Verizon Communications (the company that does FiOS, tv, landline phone) are two separate companies… so if you’re having trouble with one, it doesn’t have anything to do with the other. Verizon Communications does jointly own VZW with Vodafone, however.

  3. Bladefist says:

    With the current economy and the high unemployment rate, I would have preferred this CSR be fired and her job given to someone who would appreciate their job, and work hard to do a good job, as many unemployed people would probably love to do.

    • courtarro says:

      @Bladefist: That’s pretty harsh. You’ve never made a mistake at work or had a day when you really didn’t feel like doing anything?

      • dreamsneverend says:

        @courtarro: Those who don’t respect and take pride in their work should find another job.

      • LostAngeles says:

        @courtarro: I’m sure a lot of people have. But there are levels of error that just aren’t ok.

        The CSR left him stranded out there. That’s absolutely not ok. I’m not going to go through any what-ifs on this. Even though he ended up fine, it’s still, again, not ok.

      • kathyl says:

        @courtarro: She put his personal safety, which the service she is employed by is supposed to help protect, at risk because she apparently didn’t “feel like doing anything” at work that day.

        When you have a job, you are paid to feel like doing something. If you don’t, either be honest and take a vacation day until your attitude improves or suck it up, or your job should indeed go to someone who appreciates it more.

      • Bladefist says:

        @courtarro: The CSR didn’t make a mistake. A mistake isn’t on purpose. The CSR made a decision to not do his/her job.

      • socalrob of the 24 and a half century says:

        @courtarro:
        I’ve made mistakes in my job before but her job is something of importance, so she really doesn’t get a chance to not feel like doing anything. People can get hurt if she decides to not do anything that day.

        and @ bladefist: I totally agree. I don’t have a job right now, keep getting told im “over qualified” which is the stupidest thing ever, so I’d love to have that job. I know how to use the internet to look up a zip code and it doesn’t take me 15 minutes to do. Even if her internet was down she can still call 411 on her own and ask for the zipcode, it is an information service after all.

        How do idiots like this get jobs, when other people (including myself) are willing to work for the same amount of pay and do a 10x better job? If the person from verizon reads this contact me I need a job badly!

        • econobiker says:

          @socalrob:

          “Even if her internet was down she can still call 411 on her own and ask for the zipcode, it is an information service after all.”

          But that would have cost the csr $1 a call…

    • dequeued says:

      @Bladefist:
      Agreed.

      She clearly didn’t value her job or take her assigned task seriously.
      If I was in her place, and wasn’t sure what the procedure was, I would do my very best to help the customer.
      I would make a sincere effort to find out what I could do to rectify the situation.

      Instead, this CSR was clearly doing the absolute minimum required.

    • Crim Law Geek says:

      @Bladefist:
      Well, they didn’t say what training program they are putting the CSR through. It could be the patented Verizon Wireless Janitorial Arts Training Program®™

  4. startertan says:

    Nobody is perfect and companies mess up all the time but it’s the ones that are willing to admit fault and at least try to make amends for it that get my business.

  5. pandroid says:

    Thanks for the update. I have roadside assistance through my car insurance company, but if they ever fail me, at least I know I can give verizon a shot at trying to help.

  6. highmodulus says:

    Ah, the Show Us Your Verizon Face, Roadside Edition!

  7. Spencer says:

    “Latrina” is a hilarious name. Just saying.

  8. Canino says:

    I doubt if putting the CSR through training again will teach the CSR basic spelling and geography, which is probably what caused this failure in the first place. That’s what happens when you hire minimum wage quality workers to serve your customers.

    • DarkKnightShyamalan says:

      @Canino: Yeah, it raises the question of what exactly they “teach” in that training program.

    • LostAngeles says:

      @Canino: Hey now, you can get good workers at minimum wage.

      You just better damn well up their pay when they show how well they can do their job.

      • qcgallus says:

        @LostAngeles:
        I’m sire that would be directly violating the unwritten call center’s code of ethics.

        Working at a call center I realized that most promotions have nothing to do with merit. They would stack job after job on me, but when it came time for promotion they would go with someone “more qualified for the job,” but then when they needed training done it was me they turned to most times.

        I will say, though, that it takes a very aware executive to read The Consumerist, and shows that maybe someone high up gives a damn.

        • Pixelantes Anonymous says:

          @qcgallus: “I will say, though, that it takes a very aware executive to read The Consumerist, and shows that maybe someone high up gives a damn.”

          Gives a damn about the customers, or gives a damn about her company reputation?

          There is a difference.

        • Das Kommunist says:

          @qcgallus: I agree. When I was working at a call-center, I was basically running the day to day operations of the call center. When the actual position was open to be paid to do that job, I was looked over for “someone more qualified”. Although, in the end was basically promoting them for cost effectiveness.

          Like you, in the end, I still ended up actually doing their job because they wouldn’t/couldn’t do it. It doesn’t matter about how well you can do your job, it’s about how little they can pay someone else less qualified and get away with it. Then sticking the other guy with the work.

    • nursetim says:

      @Canino:
      Clearly the CSR was one of the many US Americans who doesn’t have a map.

  9. ElizabethD says:

    I’m hoping more and more corporations will have someone monitoring posts on blogs like Consumerist with an eye to improving CS practices — and, of course, to mollifying PO’ed customers.

  10. IphtashuFitz says:

    Nice that Verizon is making amends, but it never should have gotten to that point in the first place…

  11. Ein2015 says:

    Hooray! Happy endings!

    So Consumerist is either gaining ground in the industry or Verizon is getting more intelligent. Or both. Win-win situation either way! :)

  12. Daniel Rutter says:

    I just got off the phone with a Latrina Jackson

    How are Keisha and Natella?

  13. intellivised says:

    If it would of been any month besides June/July/August getting stranded on I-25 or I-80 in post places without competent roadside assistance can be a pretty desperate situation.

  14. intellivised says:

    In most places in Wyoming. Need an edit button!

  15. frankadelic says:

    Maybe Jason will now call 411 and apologize for cursing out the innocent operator and send them something for the stress he caused them.

  16. devsgurf says:

    I’m also a little mystified this was treated as a training opportunity rather than a reason to terminate someone.

    • Das Kommunist says:

      @devsgurf: In a call-center environment it’s actually very embarassing and humiliating to be sent back to complete a training course you had to go through when you were first hired.

      Yes, I would have fired her in a heartbeat for doing that, but chances are her center has a very forgiving manager and thinks that a little humiliation will straighten them out or force them out.

      • devsgurf says:

        @Red_Dawn:

        I dunno. I’ve done my stint in a headset and if I was one of her co-workers who actually gave a sh*t about my job, I’d find it completely demoralizing. What does it say for the quality of people the company is hiring if someone can screw up that bad and basically just be publicly humiliated for it. I also wonder what kind of signal it sends to the rest of the call center…screw up…and we’ll take you off the phones for a week and give you a break from customers.

        I guess the real question is, had the OP perished, would Verizon have taken 4 days to help locate his body?

        • Das Kommunist says:

          @devsgurf: I’m not defending Verizon by any means, but would you rather take the embarrassment or spend your next couple of weeks hunting for a job?

          Yeah, it may be demoralzing, but if you are a good co-worker and cared about your job, you really wouldn’t have to worry about being sent back to training. As an employee who cared you’d automatically do your best to do your job.

          I’ve done QA and you can tell whether or not someone really gives a !@#$ about what they are doing just by their tone, and reactions.

          By what I could tell and agree with most of the people on here, she most likely didn’t care about the job at that point.

          Some people tend to forget that it is that very customer who is funding the company to allow them to sign her paycheck.

          • devsgurf says:

            @Red_Dawn:
            Yeah, it may be demoralzing, but if you are a good co-worker and cared about your job, you really wouldn’t have to worry about being sent back to training.

            No what I think is demoralizing would be working with a collosal screw up gets “training”. Maybe in your call center experience, training had a stigma to it, but I would guess most people would see it as free time off the phones.

            • Das Kommunist says:

              @devsgurf: Unfortunately, your thought about it as free time off the phones is correct.

              While I was a trainer for Sprint, uptraining was to most agents as a chance to screw off and get paid. In the end, the trainer makes or breaks how agents or new hires perceives the training and their time off the phones.

              It’s usually the kids fresh out of high school who decided that it was their free time. So I’m going to assume that this rep in the story was in her early to mid-twenties or their last stint of teens. And just so you know, I’m not one of those people that thing young people don’t understand. I’m 23 and I believe age can be an issue.

              I was passionate about my job and making sure people ‘got it’. I was known as the guy who was mellow and laid back until you had that ‘free time off the phones’ mindset. From that point forward, I made your day hell until you realized that you were in there for a reason.

  17. The_IT_Crone says:

    Wow. I’ve been fired for FAR less and when I always went above and beyond at my job. I know a lot of people are willing to think Verizon made this situation good, but I can’t think that keeping a person that puts people’s SAFETY at risk is a good idea.

    You can NOT have quality service if you do not have quality employees. It’s not a matter of her not knowing how to do her job, she was UNWILLING. You can’t train someone to not be lazy.

    Or, as Ron White says, “You can’t fix stupid.”

  18. MartaMyrrha says:

    We can be quick to blame the CSR…however, bad training in the first place may be to blame.

    I see it all the time in my business. The reps really just have NO idea how to handle anything above simple matters – because they are not trained to. I’m willing to give the benefit of the doubt to this CSR.

    • mythago says:

      @MartaMyrrha: You don’t need good training to realize that leaving somebody stranded by the side of the road, after PROMISING HELP, is a lame maneuver.

      • econobiker says:

        @mythago: Many people don’t understand that Wyoming is very unpopulated and it takes time to drive from one place to another. It is not like hanging out at a 7-11 in suburban Maryland while waiting for your tow truck to arrive…

    • rushevents says:

      @MartaMyrrha: I DO blame the CSR! Just the fact of asking if he was home then following up with the could you meet someone at your house when he had already explained he was nowhere near any house anywhere show a lack of lateral thinking skill.

      In other words she is TOO F’ing dumb to be a customer service agent!

      (Something which should have been caught in the hiring process.)

  19. tspack says:

    Latrina? Seriously? The poor woman. Her parents were either cruel, abusive bastards or mind-bogglingly stupid. “Yay, a baby! Let’s name her after a toilet!”

    Anyway… I’m glad to see some positive resolution to the horrible customer service.

  20. LibertyReign says:

    I hav eto admit I’m impressed by Verizon’s response to this complaint. Did they not also tell the NSA to go screw when asked to violate customers’ 4th amendment rights?

  21. Roclawzi says:

    Let that be a lesson to all of us, when stranded on the side of the road, trying to get help from verizon roadside assistance, call once, and then post on consumerist.com so the publicity will shock them into action.

  22. MyTQuinn says:

    Congrats to Verizon for stepping up, but the CSR should be fired, along with whoever chose to go with retraining as an alternative. Anyone capable of being trained (or retrained) to handle something like this properly could not have handled it so poorly if they tried.

    If you start with inadequate raw materials, whatever you’re trying to build won’t work. Similarly, if you start out with a moron, no amount of training will result in a competent CSR.

  23. Nate128 says:

    Verizon Wireless spends a lot of time and money on each employee to go through the training process. The company likes to keep people employed and help them get better rather than term them. Contrary to what you may think it’s very hard to find people who want to do the call center. It’s a job that burns you out real fast. The rate for keeping people at the call centers is about 30% 6 months after hiring. So there’s a huge amount of turnover. Knowing this it makes a lot of sense for them to try to keep people hired rather than just terming them, even though this particular situation was unfortunate.

  24. rushevents says:

    As a former training manager I have to say loudly – “YOU CAN’T TRAIN STUPID!”

    The operator was a COMPLETE bonehead. My prediction – She will NEVER be any good at this job. One of the mantras in the training world is “What? Should I just train them LOUDER next time?”

    Can’t look up a zip code, can’t remember the nature of the call can’t answer automated system question on their own “Are you at home?”

    She is Hopeless! Note to Verizon FIRE HER NOW!!!!!!!!!!! She will only do this again!

    Send her Back to McDonald’s to be the cashier who swirls’s her finger over the register keyboard looking for the picture of the Big Mac.

    AAARRRRRGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I HATE STUPID CUSTOMER SERVICE PEOPLE!!

    There! I feel better now. :-)

  25. crystal4134 says:

    I have paid for roadside assistance on my cell phone bill for 2 years. The one time I used it, I was hung up on 3 times, the reps were very rude and 3 hours later I ended up calling a tow truck myself because nova 1 said there were none available in my area. If you pay for roadside assistance through nova 1 CANCEL it because it is a rip off!! I asked the name of the company and said nova 1 but they represent verizon wireless. I work fr verizon wireless and they are no part of the company, But you can believe any account that i see has this feature, that I will tell them to cancel this service because it is horrible!!!