Home » Customer Service Don’ts, Or Why We Dropped Our Home Security Provider

Customer Service Don’ts, Or Why We Dropped Our Home Security Provider

To start with, I goofed.

When we enrolled with our provider (not naming names so HSP)HSP, I set up auto pay using a debit card that expired a couple of months later. The card expired, the billing fell behind and HSP cut off/cancelled our service. I noticed the trouble light on the alarm pad and called in to find out the problem. HSP explained that the account was cancelled due to lack of payment. I asked to reset everything and they did. I had to pay the back charge for the contract, and since it was cancelled, they wrote a new contract for me to sign. I asked if the term would count what we’d already done, and they were happy to do so, shortening the new contract to 2 years instead of the original three.

Cool. Everything went right. I made a mistake, admitted it, fixed it, and we were good to go.

That was four days ago.

Today, I saw the system was down again. I called tech support at HSP and we went through about 30 minutes of troubleshooting. The tech I was working with said there was definitely a problem and put me on hold for a couple of minutes to investigate. She came back on the line, and asked me if I had signed the new contract and sent it in. I told that the contract hadn’t arrived yet. She said “Okay,” and put me back on hold.

Then a new person came on the line, greeted me and asked me what the problem was.

MISTAKE 1: Do not transfer a customer to a new department without telling the customer what you are doing.

MISTAKE 2: Do not transfer a customer to a new department without briefing the new department on the issues.

I spoke to the new person, who didn’t seem to know at all who I was or what the problem was. I gave her the Cliff Notes version of the preceding half hour, at which point she said she was in Activation and assumed that the transfer was so she could look up my account and see if the contract had been mailed out. She told me she could fix the issue, and then we were disconnected.

MISTAKE 3: You have caller ID. I know you do because you recognized my account and address based on the phone number. Give your reps the ability to call back on disconnects.

I called in again, talked to another customer service rep who said since my account was in activation and not under contract, she could not see anything about it. This after I had already spent 30 minutes troubleshooting with the previous rep. She said she would have to transfer me to Activation since they were the only ones who could see or work with my account. She took my number, and gave me a direct call number in case I got disconnected again.

KUDO 1: When a customer has reported a disconnection during a call, show your concern by promising a call back or give them a way to call back.

I was transferred to Activation, told my story again, and yet another service rep looked at my account. She put me on hold for a few moments, then came back on the line to tell me that my monitoring service may have been deactivated ‘somehow.’ She said she would call the tech department and transfer me when she got somebody on the line. I was on hold for a few minutes when she came back on. She hadn’t gotten hold of a technician on the phone but had texted my information to one who verified that my monitor had been deactivated and that she had restored it.

I asked the customer service rep how my monitor had been deactivated and she said she didn’t know; that it usually didn’t happen.

MISTAKE 4: The problem happened. Telling me it ‘usually’ doesn’t happen is irrelevant. It happened already. Further, telling me you have no way of determining how it happened means I must assume it will happen again. For something vital like home security, that’s unacceptable.

I told the service rep that I had doubts about the reliability of a service I rely on that can ‘deactivate’ for no particular reason, and there’s no way to find out why, and no notification. She said there was notification, but it wasn’t active on my account since it wasn’t yet under contract. I explained yet again my lack of confidence in a company that is supposed to monitor my security, but apparently has a system that randomly shuts itself off for no particular reason. She said that HSP had been in business for over 100 years and that this new technology was basically bulletproof.

MISTAKE 5: This problem never happens but we have an alert if it does but that alert isn’t active on your account, but that’s like, totally okay because this problem never happens.  Really?

At this point, I had had enough. My best guess is that the activation was temporary while HSP waited for me to get and return the contract. The activation expired after three days and should have been renewed, or I should have been contacted to check up on the contract, but that didn’t happen. When I placed my trouble call, the service reps either did not know about the expired activation, or were operating under instructions not to mention the auto expiration, leaving them with no option other than to say the deactivation was random.

I stressed repeatedly that the notion that my system could randomly be deactivated for no reason was a deal breaker for me. If I can’t rely on the security system to be online when I needed it, why should I pay for it? I was hoping to hear something like, “Mr. Hailey, we apologize for the error, your courtesy activation automatically expires after three days. We didn’t catch it, but we’ve reactivated your system and you should have the contract before it expires again.”

That tells me it wasn’t a random failure but one that can be accounted for and dealt with. That’s something I can work with.

But nope, all I got was vague promises that this never happens and that it wouldn’t happen again.

So I explained to the service rep exactly why I was declining the new contract, stressed to her that this was a systemic problem with HSP, a gap in their security that needed closing, and then hung up and promptly called one of their competitors.

Of course, the saga isn’t over. I may have to deal with their early cancellation policy on the original contract. I may have to suck it up with HSP for another year or so in order to avoid a hefty fee. On the other hand, they terminated the old contract in order to write the new one, so I don’t know.

Regardless, whether it’s today or a year from today, I’m done with HSP and all because they couldn’t answer one simple question. Why did my coverage get deactivated?

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