For some reason, I’ve been inundated with customer service battles lately. Because of the ice storm, many of y’all have, too. It’s never fun. I’ve heard some pretty horrific stories about one of the big cable companies (starts with a C).
We’re battling with the U.S. Postal Service again. In the grand scheme of this life, it isn’t a big deal. My health doesn’t suffer because I didn’t get my March issue of Vogue in a timely manner. It is annoying to discover that we’ve missed a birthday party or wedding shower because we didn’t get the invite. Wait. Maybe this isn’t so bad.
The other day, our mailbox contained our neighbors’ checks, their bank statement and an envelope from The National. Based on a quick pat down, that envelope holds some pretty valuable badges. I’ve already walked them next door. I hope anyone who gets our mail is doing the same.
I’ve introduced myself to our various mail carriers. I’ve visited the post office. I’ve also called the customer service line. Nothing helps. I’ve done everything short of actually getting angry. Getting angry rarely produces any result other than, “Wow, that lady is crazy.” I’ll admit it, though: This is making me a little crazy.
I can usually negotiate with customer service reps and salespeople. I’ve had a call center job before. Their job isn’t easy, and most of the general public isn’t all that nice. While the younger me acted rather aggressively when trying to get my way, I’ve learned it doesn’t help. Sadly, many service-oriented people seem surprised by pleasant behavior. Try it. If you look them in the eyes and genuinely mean your “please” and “thank you,” you’ll get better service.
That being said, a certain firmness or gun sticking is required. Last week, a good friend was nearly duped. He was in an already vulnerable situation, dealing with a funeral home. It doesn’t matter which one. I think this was an isolated incident for this particular home, though I know things like this happen all the time. My friend, Timmy*, didn’t want to haggle with them, even though he had a prearranged contract with said funeral home. He threw up his hands and assumed they were correct.
One phone call and three or four questions later, and the funeral home realized their mistake, saving Timmy about a thousand dollars. I wasn’t mad at the salesperson — just asked them to clarify. It was worth the ask. A thousand dollars worth it. That may not be much to you, but I can think of about a thousand things I’d do with an extra thousand dollars.
I’m hoping to be as effective with the USPS. I’ve dealt with some very nice people, but they can’t seem to solve our issue. It’s been going on for two years now. I know, I know. I shouldn’t rely on the mail anyway, when I can get electronic versions. I doubt my wine of the month can be emailed. Whoever has my Publisher’s Clearinghouse prize had better fess up. There’s a small reward for any and all of my missing mail.
According to the USPS, sometimes people have days when they don’t get any mail. The last time they said that, a battered bundle of rubber-banded mail showed up 10 days later. They also told me I could mail my complaint via U.S. post, and they’d respond via U.S. post. The wonderful ladies at the Hill station tell me I need to find the zone supervisor for my route this time around. I’m optimistic. If anyone knows his/her drink of choice, let me know. I’ll come bearing a handle of tequila if it means we’ll get our mail.