First off let me start off by saying I should have known better. Having dealt with them before in trying to assist customer’s I should have known that it would be a colossal waste of time. Yet when you have no other choice what are you going to do? I was dogged by a problem for the last few weeks and after wasting endless upon endless hours trying to wade through the ridiculously useless customer service of T-Mobile, I was finally able to do some deep deep digging and solve it myself.
Let me tell you first off that I know T-Mobile’s service isn’t very good. I also know that their customer service is terrible. I know these things by the fact that I used to sell T-Mobile and have dealt with constant problems as the middle man between customer and network. There were always only 2 possible outcomes. Either I was able to solve the problem for the customer, or they would get angry and upset with T-Mobile directly and leave the store in a huff. In my 2 years working at Costco, I can not ever recall a point of time when T-Mobile customer service was actually able to solve a problem above and beyond maybe porting a number over or some simple task that I needed them for. Now we also sold Verizon and AT&T, and while not fantastic in that department either I do think I can recall occasional events where they were able to get something done. I do have some funny stories from T-Mobile customer interactions of course such as the time the older gentleman was standing at my counter yelling at “Jim” to “just tell me where you are!!!!”, Jim’s reply in his great Hindu accent….. “I’m sorry sir, we are not permitted to disclose that particular information.”
So you might be asking yourself, than what the hell are you doing on T-Mobile? Which is a perfectly valid question. The whole time I worked there I had a sweet ass Verizon concession’s account where I got everything including the not offered unlimited data AND unlimited hotspot for $45 a month. That alone was almost worth working there. I don’t care if you pay me, just let me have that concessions account, lol. Yet when I got fired for the infamous Twittergate incident. That beautiful perfect Verizon concessions account went up in smoke. Since I used a ton of data, my choices were basically T-Mobile or Sprint for having unlimited data. My Verizon account also included unlimited hotspot which was friggin amazing and there is no one on the world that would ever give that to me again. Since T-Mobile was much farther along in the LTE game at that point so I went w T-Mobile.
This all occurred this past April and let me tell you that up until about a month ago my experience with T-Mobile had been pretty damn good, much better than I even expected heading in that’s for sure. There are indeed some more rural areas where T-Mobile might not have coverage and their LTE certainly isn’t that far widespread at this point, but around here it’s fine. I was also on probation until a few weeks ago, so I wasn’t going anywhere. Even when I do travel, I pretty much stick to the well beaten path. I’m obviously not a camper. I think it’s ridiculous to go travel somewhere to pretend you’re homeless for a few days.
Yet a few weeks ago I ran into a little bit of a problem with my group texting. I’m in this group thread with a group of my best friends, and we send a lot of messages. It’s basically like a chat-room that we are all in throughout the day. There are some lulls of course as everyone except me has an actual job, but there are also periods of sustained intense activity. It had all worked fine until all of a sudden my phone starting randomly sending out blank texts. It all looked fine on my end, yet to all of them my text which had content in it would just come up as a blank box. There was no way of me knowing when this would happen except by them telling me, which tended to piss me off and drive me crazy. One of the reasons was because anybody who knows me knows that I am a huge Android proponent. 4 people in the thread have iPhones, and one lost soul has a Blackberry Torch (I pray for him nightly). So once this problem started happening it gave my Apple friends all the license to go on and on about how my HTC One is such a shitty phone that it can’t even perform the actions of a flip phone and so on. This made me even angrier. I also recognize that one of my character defects is that I tend to flip out a little bit. My friends knowing me well realize this and just try to egg it on. It eventually got to the point where they were claiming blank texts when they weren’t blank just to drive me crazy. It was working as I was on the verge of a complete psychological break.
Another one of my character defects is that I’m not one that asks for help easily. I will never ask where anything is at a store. I will wander around and around until I can find it. Even if someone comes up t me and asks if they can help me find something, I will tell them that I do not require any assistance. I just like to solve things myself. If I can’t find the item, I will assume they must not have it then and leave. So as a last resort, I decide to try to give the flunkies at T-Mobile customer service a try.
Now when I do something, I do it all out so I immediately started bombarding T-Mobile on all fronts. I tweeted their customer service, I posted a topic in the community support forum, I emailed the customer service department, I hit up the chat with the customer service representative and I called on the phone. All at basically the same time. Go hard or go home.
All of it was basically the same thing. They would start on their stupid written down list of things to do that were all these basic idiotic things like restart the phone, deleting the texting thread etc…. I would try to explain to them that I used to sell phones and troubleshoot all day for customers so I know all this stuff just skip ahead. They would explain that they had to try all these methods first. I can’t really blame these fools after all they were just reading off a script, but it was so frustrating and slow. It would take hours just to wade through all the bullshit that I of course had already done. The whole time I’m getting madder and madder. Then they eventually get to have you tried replacing the SIM card. Of course they always say this, here’s a hint it never does anything. I think it’s just something that they can say to get you off the phone since it requires you to go get a SIM card. Problem solved for right now right, let us know how that works out. So stupid. I think the hope is that people will either forget about it, get distracted by something else or have it be a network issue that will work itself off. Either way they’ve gotten you off the phone by basically giving you a solution that has zero chance of success, yet requires action on your part.
That’s the basic tenet I think of their customer service. Do whatever it takes to get you off the phone with something that needs to be done. Then of course they have the gall to send to send you a survey with questions about how great they were in solving your problem. You solved shit, you gave me a pain in the ass assignment that requires a bunch of my busy time.
Over and over this went, exhausting all channels of support with the same bullshit. They bumped me up to their expert technical support, T-Force they called it, yet then they wanted to start right back again from the basic beginning shit. It’s like I just got sent here from the bums with all this, why are we spending all this time again? Finally I figured that I had to do something to try to solve this problem myself. I got a vat of coffee and sat down at my laptop and started wading through the depths of cyberspace. I could not take my friends referring to me as the blank text guy. I could not stand just ignoring and dropping out of the thread because I could not stand up to the psychological warfare of my close friends. I would not let T-Mobile customer service leave me a battered soul mumbling to myself in the corner.
Guess what though folks…….. I solved the problem myself. I found a version of Google Hangouts with SMS and MMS integration, that is not available in the Play Store. It’s a feature that I believe they plan to debut with Android 4.4 Kit-Kat, yet I got it now. It magically solved my problem. Amazing. I really don’t know how it solved my problem, but all my hundreds of group texts are now going through flawlessly. I sent them a last e-mail telling them about how I solved it. They simply replied that it was odd that it was able to be fixed. They expressed mild sarcasm that I had found a “work around”, and said they would pass on the information to their engineering team. I can only figure it must have been a problem with the stock texting app, yet in my community support forum thread people using 3rd party apps were also having the problem. I don’t know what it was really, but I do know that I managed to solve it.
The point is that the internet is a wonderful resource that we have at our fingertips to solve problems. I like my chances at solving a problem by trying to find info myself over some person in Bangladesh calling themselves “Steve” and working for less than a McDonald’s worker here. When I think of all the time I wasted and aggravation dealing with people wanting me to try restarting the phone and then sending a test message, it almost makes me sick. So folks, if you’ve read this far, you are obviously fairly intelligent. Hell if you read my blog you’re obviously in the upper crust of society intellectually. I implore you that no matter how frustrated you get, don’t make the mistake I made. Never contact customer service, it’s just a waste of time. Get out there on the great vast world of cyberspace and try to solve the problem yourself. You’re going to be much happier with the results!!