Thursday, October 18, 2012

Customer Service People.......

One more blog post about blowing a tire on the RV on the interstate when I was all alone (there...does that invoke sympathy?), and then I'm done with that topic. I promise. And while some of this involves complaining (it IS me, after all), I am truly, truly grateful for the response and the assistance I received. Truly. But there were some iffy moments.

When I got the RV to the side of the interstate, the first person I called was Hubby. Oddly enough, I was NOT crying. I was actually pretty calm.

"I need some advice," I told him. I explained what had happened, then I provided my own advice. "I think our RV insurance policy includes roadside assistance. Shall I call them?"

Hubby's first question was whether or not the tire blowing caused me to lose control. I didn't point out that if that had been the case, I would have been telling him about an ACCIDENT rather than a flat tire. But that's neither here nor there.

Miraculously, I knew where the insurance card for the RV was because I had JUST PUT IT IN THERE THE DAY BEFORE I LEFT. I called the number on the card and proceeded to get A) the option to continue in Espanol; and B) a seemingly endless menu of choices of buttons to push. Keep in mind that my hands were shaking violently, and an iPhone doesn't respond well to sweaty fingers. It took several tries for each number.

When I finally got a real person on the phone, she said she would redirect me to roadside assistance. Then the line went dead.

I had to call back and repeat the entire process, but at least this time I knew to ask for roadside assistance. I got a very nice young woman on the phone and explained what had happened. I emphasized that I was alone, hoping that might create a sense of urgency for her that was at least a fraction of my own. (Here's a project for you: Next time you go on a trip of any length, note all the RVs out there. Count how many of them are driven by women.)

I still held my insurance card in my hand like it was a lifeline. So I knew the answers to most of her questions.

"Year?" 2003
"Make?" Four Winds
"Model?" 5000
"Color?" White

I realize she was just filling out information on a computer, but if she had my policy in front of her (shouldn't she have?), should she not also have that information readily available? And WHAT COLOR? Is that really pertinent to whether or not I get my tire changed?

"Length?" 30 feet (It's actually 29, but I rounded up just in case that was as important as the color white.)

I don't remember exactly when, but sometime in the middle of these questions, she asked, "Is this a motorcycle?"

Sure, it's a motorcycle 30 feet long. And that bad boy is a bitch when it comes to cornering.


Then she asked me, "How tall is it?"

I should have known that one, since I knew we couldn't drive it through a covered bridge at one of the state parks. But I couldn't pull the information off the hard drive that is my brain.

"I don't know, I'm sorry," I said.

"Can you just give me an estimate?" she persisted.

Again, I realize that asking those questions is part of her job. But if the answer is "I don't know," then asking the question another way isn't going to help.

"Is it taller than 20 feet?" she asked.

HELL NO it isn't taller than 20 feet. Does she realize that's roughly the equivalent of a two-story building?

It was getting hotter and hotter in the RV, and my hands were still shaking. Hell, the RV itself was shaking every time a tractor-trailer went by. And I was well off the road.

She knew I was getting frustrated, but she still asked, "How much does it weigh?"

"I don't know."

"Can you just give me an estimate? Is it 20,000 pounds?" (Personally I think she has a thing for the number 20.)

I can almost forgive her for the question, because at that point we thought I didn't have a spare (I crawled underneath the RV on the side of the interstate while we were conversing and discovered to my great relief that we DID have a spare), and she thought she was going to have to send a tow truck.

At that point, however, she had access to every single piece of information that I had. And she had the Internet at her fingertips. Why didn't she Google how much a 30-foot 2003 Four Winds 5000 RV weighs?

I was still patting myself vigorously on the back for knowing that I was three miles north of Exit 47, which I gleaned from the "Where Am I?" feature on my GPS. (Rozmo had asked me what was the last exit I passed, and I had no clue. Does anyone keep track of that?) But I failed the pop quiz because I didn't know the weight of my RV. That was the only time I cried, I swear. She also asked if I knew the rim size of the tires, at which point I almost burst into maniacal gales of laughter.

Okay, I'm finished complaining, and I really shouldn't be nitpicking at all. I got the help I needed, and life as we know it has not been compromised at all. I do, however, have a couple of suggestions. And I would offer them to the insurance company itself, if not for the fact that they called me WHILE THE MAN WAS STILL CHANGING MY TIRE and wanted my feedback on my service call. I didn't even blame them for the fact that I had to wait about an hour and a half, NOR for their mistake when they told the service guy that I was on I-85 NORTH.

If I DID have the chance to give them some feedback, though, I think I would make the following suggestions:

  • If someone is calling because of an accident or needs assistance, have a way for that person to go straight to a living, breathing human being. Choosing from one of the following six menu options is not how I handle a crisis.
  • In this computer age, have access to some of the generic information like how much a certain RV weighs. Or at least allow an "I don't know" answer and proceed to the next question. Whose answer I probably won't know either.
  • Give it a day or two before you ask for my feedback. If the crisis is STILL IN PROGRESS, it's likely you don't want to hear my comments.
There. I'm done. I'll shelve this one. Cheer up - it's only 78 days until the college gymnastics season begins.

1 comment:

The girl said...

I had the same problem when my car broke down on the bridge, and when I got hit. It's not fun trying to punch in numbers when you're shaking like a leaf.