Weekly Roundup No. 7

The holidays are here! And in true holiday spirit, this week has been full of pleasant surprises.

A Taste of Home, for the Holidays

Thank you “Mr. B” for the care package!! I can’t even tell you how happy this made me. It came just in time to keep me cozy over the holidays, and I’m pretty sure the chocolates will all be gone before 2012 arrives.

Also had a chance to catch up with P, who was passing through London over the holidays. We had brunch at Bill’s in Covent Garden, which I loved. I really love seeing familiar faces, like A last week, P this week and S next week–I’m so blessed! Especially since I won’t be going home this Christmas, I’m thankful for wonderful friends who bring a whiff of home to me.

Verizon Does It Again

One of the downsides of living in the UK is that customer service can be pretty horrendous. People have explained to me that companies don’t consider it an important aspect of business practice, especially because British people really do “keep calm and carry on” too much and too well. They just put up with bad customer service as a given, instead of hooting and hollering like we Americans would.

Back in September, I wrote about how amazed I was when I encountered helpful, personalized customer service from Verizon Wireless. I had wanted to cancel my contract but when I told the service rep, Jeffrey, that I would be abroad for a year, he told me that he could suspend my contract for a full year without incurring service charges–just a $15 fee for every three-month suspension period. That way, I could keep my contract, paying $60, instead of paying $175 to cancel.

It seemed too good to be true. So when I received an email invoice for $50.83 two days ago, I thought, I knew it! There’s always a glitch in the system, and then you have to get on the phone, wait on hold while listening to cheesy muzak for an hour, then argue yourself blue in the face to dispute the charge. I drew a deep breath and called the customer service line.

Samantha picked up my call. I explained the situation; she reviewed Jeffrey’s notes from three months ago. She arranged to credit the charges to my account and set up a reminder for herself to follow up in three months, so as to make sure the account gets resuspended without incurring charges next time.

It feels like I shouldn’t be so impressed, or I just completely drank the Kool-Aid. But it’s so rare, and therefore so refreshing, to encounter people who treat you like people, not just customer service reps who’ve memorized the rulebook and see you as an account number. Rave reviews–Verizon is doing something right with their customer service.

And of course, Merry Christmas!

Hope your holiday is filled with love and cheer.

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