Getting the United States Postal Service to Budge

Many years ago I proposed to the United States Postal Service special collection boxes to solve a few problems PO Box holders always have in stations: misdirected mail and mail for the previous box holder and what to do with this mail after the retail section closes.

It took seven-months to finally get someone to listen. That was in 1996. As I type today in 2014, these special collection boxes are still in use. It was a victory for the consumer, but not easily achieved. The full story is available in an e-article on Amazon here:

Retail Email

Illiterate Customer Service Reflects Badly on the Product

I recently received a promotional email from T-mobile telling me about the great deal was giving to T-Mobile customers: unlimited streaming through the T-mobile network for $4/month without affecting my monthly data allocation.

I decided to check it out on my T-mobile enabled tablet. The streaming was fine. Then I wanted to add my own URLs for private streams I already had off my own personal audio server.

I could not find a way to add a private stream.  So, in desperation, I wrote to Rhapsody customer service asking if there was a way to add my own URL streams. The response:

“Thank you for your feedback. I will pass it to our product teams. Our development team will work research on this and will do the needful available in future. ”

What’s the problem with this response?

1. It is illiterate — check out the third sentence.

2. The response does not directly answer my question.

This kind of communication tells me a lot about Rhapsody:

a. The corporation does not have much regard to potential paying customers

b. The corporation does not have much regard for its own product

Further, I am familiar with the Rhapsody headquarters in Seattle. HQ is located on floor 31 of the Columbia Center.  Rent at this location is not cheap. I can easily see that money for HQ is more important than money for the people who actually deal with customers. So, I add another item:

c. The corporation puts customer service  — and happy customers —  at a low, low priority.

I decided to pass on the offer.


American Express: Faulty Security

The night I called to activate my new American Express card I was asked this question to verify my identity: “Name a relative over the age of 18.” I provided my father’s name. “Sorry, that name is not on the list.” Huh?

So much for identify verification when they have incorrect information.

Another security breach in my mind is attaching a phone number to the account that I never provided. I got this message: “I see that the phone number you are calling from matches your account.” Wrong. Turns out that American Express will collect phone numbers on you without your knowledge and associate them with your account. This certainly is not secure because it is an action behind the customer’s back.

There can be no security without accuracy.