Customer callbacks

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I just called PG&E, my gas company, to get my billing address changed. For some reason the bills are still coming to an old post office box number that I used when I was moving from one home to another. Even though I changed my service address, my billing address wasn’t ever changed.

Much to my dismay, after wading through the voicemail options to get to the right department I was greeted with a message informing me that there was a one and a half hour wait to speak to someone in customer service. But the voicemail system provided another option. Instead of waiting on hold, I was able to enter a phone number and have a customer service person call me back in about two hours. Smart move on their part.

Update: It would have been a good idea if it had actually worked. They were supposed to call after two hours. It’s now been three and no call.

Scott Johnson
July 1, 2004 12:09 AM

I once worked for an ISP that did this with tech support calls. This was sometime around 1995. Verio snatched up the ISP along with many others. Callbacks were forgotten. Until now.

July 4, 2004 12:44 PM

Moen, the faucet company, does this too. They promised a call in 30 minutes, I got one in 40. Seemed to work okay.

David Locke
June 9, 2005 8:29 AM

I have a similar problem with my electric company. They let you decide to remain on hold or to recieve a callback. The next available rep calls you back. It is fairly quick. I never use email support. That has never worked for me. Sometimes the hold music drives me nuts. I wish there were different channels for the hold music, so you could pick something more to your taste. The messages that interrupt the hold music really make me want to scream. Yes, I know, I heard you the first time. Do they record what you say while on hold? I remember trying to buy data service. My cell vendor didn't carry it as far as the customer service people knew. It's a separate system from cell phone modem use, and bills at a rate well below the montly cell minutes that get consumed by the modem method. I ended up calling a competitor. The voice menu I finally arrived at asked me if I want to leave a message or speak to someone. I asked to speak to someone. I got voice mail, so I said "I really need to speak to a human." The human called back and told me who to call inside a competitor's business. I was utterly amazed. The person I called insisted that he did not have an office and that I had to deal with him via FAX. Well, FAX was an obsticle I would not overcome. So that pipedream was finished. Nuts. Why don't they just tell you, hey to get this done, you have to ... the first time you call.

David Locke
June 9, 2005 8:32 AM

I imagine having a voice menu system at home. "If you are calling about a yet to be paid bill, please press 1." "If you are calling to sell me something, please consider pressing 1, or continue on by pressing 2." "If you are calling this number, you obviously don't know me, so leave a message." "Replies are at the descression of the receipient. Wonder on." The real kick would be forwarding those calls to a 900 number and charging $100 a pop.

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