Verizon FiOS has done an admirable job with their online chat-based customer service, making it seem incredibly real and human. You almost forget that you’re not talking to a person over the phone. One of the ways they make this simulacrum seem so life-like is that you can be transferred from one agent to another, and then there’s silence on the other end because there’s no one there — just like the real thing! Reader Michael shares a recent chat transcript to illustrate:
Is it a man or a robot? A robot impersonating a man? A man impersonating a robot? Such are the questions that flitted through bobbymac’s head as he engaged in text-based dialogue with a Comcast customer service rep.
Scammer Cracks Your Facebook Account, Live Chats With Your Friends That You're Mugged In London And Need Cash
Last week we told you about a guy who thought his friend was mugged in London and trapped without cash and was hitting him up for help via Facebook IM. Turns out his friend’s Facebook account was hacked and he was live-chatting with a scammer who had taken over the account. It’s not an isolated incident, other readers chimed in to say it had happened to them too. We’ve heard of this scam before, but the fact that they are live chatting on Facebook with the victim’s friends, pretending to be a friend who is in trouble, is a new twist. Here is another transcript of such an occurrence, courtesy of commenter MyopicRaiderfan. They have a little fun with the scammer by asking them why they slept with their stepfather in high school.
Kevin was worried. His friend Mike said over Facebook chat that he and his wife and kids were stranded in London after getting mugged. They needed money wired immediately to settle their hotel bill. This was especially worrisome because Mike was supposed to be recuperating in the hospital from head surgery… Then Kevin realized that someone had cracked his friend’s Facebook account and was impersonating him. Here is the transcript of their conversation:
Rachel shares an interesting transcript of a chat she had with Time Warner. She was complaining about how Time Warner automatically raises its rates every year, and, in the end, got the CSR to confirm that they felt their soul was “being sucked away” from having to explain this policy so many times.
Sprint has an interesting new strategy: after you do an online chat with one of their customer service reps, they provide you with a transcript of the chat, but it’s missing a few important things. Namely, any specific numeric details like dollar amounts, dates, minutes, or months cited by the rep have been replaced with asterisks. Here is one such transcript:
As this chat transcript shows, Comcast does not have the necessary bandwidth to detect sarcastic remarks.
Richard sent us this screen capture of a chat he says he recently had with a Roadrunner CSR. I can’t figure out why the CSR would withhold bandwidth stats from a customer, nor why she would capitulate so quickly when Richard asks for her supervisor. Maybe that’s one mean supervisor.
Stephanie just encountered a Chase CSR who I’m pretty sure will never fall victim to social engineering, and who would likely be unbreakable in a courtroom cross-examination, too. Of course, in Stephanie’s situation this just means that the CSR refuses to help her in any way at all, which isn’t the kind of thing you hope to find when you call customer service.
Courtney had some questions about an order she wanted to place with Jansen Medical Supply of Houston. Their website offers large discounts on medical equipment and chairs that automatically dump grandma on the floor when it’s time for her to leave. What they don’t offer, however, is answers. Courtney found out the hard way, and we’re not sure but we think she’s been banned from ordering from them. Well, unless she disguises her voice and calls back.
When some lowlife tried to scam Andy the other day through his friend’s hijacked Gmail account, Andy tried to get him to use PayPal, and he came up with a great reason why. “It’s the fastest way to send money,” Andy told the scammer. “Once I deposit the funds, you can print it out of any color printer and it’s real money!” Another reader was so amused by it that she decided to use it on her own Facebook scammer earlier today.
Hannah needs some more training, because her knowledge of Comcast’s bandwidth cap is less than Comcastic. We also think calling her an “analyst” is maybe stretching it a bit.
Randy tried to get new O and P keys for his HP laptop. The outsourced, English-is-not-his-first-language, customer service rep won’t sell or send him the keys and instead insists that Randy sit in for a $298 repair. Blithely indifferent to Randy’s increasing incredulity and rage, the customer service rep suggests that for that amount of money, Randy should just buy a new laptop for $400. That’s right, a new laptop because two of the keys are bad. The ridiculous chat transcript, inside…
Matt is having some trouble getting Dell to sort out its billing mistake with his new TV purchase. It’s an interesting story because for the most part, Dell employees or outsourced CSRs are trying to be helpful to Matt, but nothing has actually been accomplished yet over email, chat, or the telephone. Matt wants his $300 back, and Dell wants Matt to just return the TV set if he won’t pay the non-discounted price. We think he may have a case here for disputing the overcharged amount.
Something bad has happened to Symantec’s once-good chat service, notes Neil J. Rubenking at PC Mag. In the past, he says, they were helpful and knowledgable; now they pass freeware apps off as their own and attempt to get you to pay $100 fees for their “expert” service when you’re trying to troubleshoot a problem with them. He writes, “My new experiences while evaluating Norton 360 version 3.0 opened my eyes to the magnitude of the problem. Did Symantec switch outsourced support companies? Has the chat support team gone rogue?”
Reader Brad forwarded some links to chat transcripts in which he tries to tell Comcast that he can’t make local calls, during which he alternates from incredulity to despair then back to incredulity again. He even sings to the CSR.
This chat transcript from “Yet Another Girl”‘s blog is an example of how sometimes you can find exactly the answer you’re looking for on a customer service chat. Unfortunately, in this case, you’ll do all of the work yourself while the chat agent stares numbly at the screen, wondering how did I end up here? I don’t even know what this “apple” thing is!