Monday, October 3, 2011

The Joys of Customer Service! Or How to Drive a Tumbleweed Insane

Without satellite radio this trucking thing would be a lot harder.  So it's probably not a good idea that I harass the people at SiriusXM Radio with annoying emails but I can't help it.  They won't bend to my will and admit that I'm right and I just won't let it go.  A gal's got to have principles.

Satellite radio is a real boon to those of us who crisscross the country on a daily basis.  There are a gazillion music channels, 3 (three!!) NPR channels, the BBC, talky and comedy channels and a trucking specific channel.  When we got into trucking 10 years ago, we started without it and that well and truly sucked.  Searching for a radio signal every fifteen minutes and losing the station just when you start getting into the song or show was supremely frustrating.

What I'm saying is that I like it and don't want it to go away, but at the same time I want them to admit that I am not crazy.


Here's the problem:

There is a show that comes on the weekend at a certain time on the trucking channel.  Sometimes we can hear it and sometimes we can't. When we can't, the channel plays a recording that says that channel is scheduled to be off the air at this time.

This is a pure lie.

The SiriusXM Radio website channel lists the show.  The shows website lists the show and I have called the show while it was on (when we can't hear it) and the producer said that the trucking channel gets preempted for football or whatever stupid sport is being played at any given moment.  The stupid sport stuff is sucking up bandwidth or some such.

So I write a harmless little email to lodge my complaint.

I once wrote a letter to a company demanding my money back because by my math they owed me some, but in reality they did not.  That little incident made me gun-shy about letter writing but this one has no math, so I feel pretty safe.

Anyway.  They responded to my complaint with a form letter telling me how much they appreciate my input! and that I should check their website for the latest information and program line-up.  Because I'm paranoid and think everything is my fault, I check online (again) to see if indeed all the information I could ever want is right there on the screen, if only I was smart enough to find it.  And again, I see that the program is listed at the time and on the channel that I think it is.

What really gets me though, even more than the fact that they do not address the problem, is that at the bottom of each of their responses is this:

Status: Resolved

It's like they're just trying to provoke me.

So I write back.  Each time.  After about the fifth time, I sent them the following.  (I'm sure they are going to give me a lifetime subscription now!) 

Dear Elma,  (there has also been a Pamelle and Americk. Note the obvious robot names)

Are you trying to drive me insane?

Is it SiriusXM Radio's policy to make a simple question seem the most difficult, rocket-surgery complex thing on the planet?

As of this moment, 6:13 pm eastern time your website says that ATBS Business and Beyond on channel 106 is on NOW.

Also at this very moment, some geek in a recording on channel 106 states that this channel is scheduled to be off the air.

How can both be true at the same time?

Is this like quantum physics or string theory, because I don't understand those things either.

You know what really gets me, Elma?? That every response from SiriusXM has a status as resolved and yet it is not.

Perhaps the company is being run by robots and not humans and that is why I keep getting responses that don't come close to answering my question. It is the only logical answer. But that doesn't mean I'm giving up!

A computer won on Jeopardy! and I feel certain you can do something as simple as answer my question.

Ever Hopeful,
Ms P.

A lone tumbleweed blows across the desert,
yearning for customer service support.


  1. ummmm...customer service??!! what's that?! i don't think they have that anymore...nowadays!
    frustration overload!

    when you try to CALL customer either can't get a LIVE person on the phone...or you get someone who doesn't understand what you're asking...OR someone who YOU can't understand!

    same with an email...chances are no one even reads just automatically get a standard reply.

    it sucks.

    (have you tried to call...and talk to a human?)

  2. Laura, I truly hate customer service, but I don't like calling people either, so I'll just stick with my silly email war.

    Plus, there's really nothing they can do but admit I'm RIGHT (yeah right!) and after that they'll probably ban me from XM radio access for life and I'll have to get a fake identity and move to Alaska. This could get very complicated.

  3. I think you are right in that they are being run by robots. I suggest your next letter be written with that in mind. Be sure to talk a lot about computing algorithms and compliment them on their bits. I think that will help you get better results.

    P.S. Don't understand String Theory!?!? But we totally spelled it out for you in our post from a couple of weeks ago. And I'm positive we were at least 55-70% accurate in our explanation.

  4. Christian, I might try that, although I don't know if it's politically correct to talk about their "bits", I don't want to get slapped with a sexual harassment lawsuit! Then there's the question of manly or womanly or robotly bits. It's all very confusing.

    Yes, your post did spell it all out and I'm sure one of my other selves understood it. Just not the one that writes emails!!

  5. Good Lord, they're so frustrating. By "they" I mean every company you want to get customer service from. Like when you call the bank and you get transferred 17 times then someone eventually answers and they have the IQ of a piece of plankton and then you get cut off before anyone tells you anything.

    But uh...good luck with that. :)

  6. If I remember correctly, you said it was stupid to pay for radio. Just say'n!

  7. Veg, I know, right? I recently spent 6 hours (6 HOURS) on the phone with AT&T and 17 of their dumbest representitives. By the time I got to someone who could solve my problem, I offered to have his baby. It's like Stolkholm Syndrome or something.

    Glen, Never use my words against me, that's just not fair, since I don't know what I'm talking about half the time. Plus, I think I was talking about television. Which I STILL believe.

  8. Customer service anymore is spelled FRUSTRATION. Don't they really get that we all DO "get it" and that their bottom line is $ & dodging our bullets? Who do they think butters their bread anyway? I recently sent an e-mail to Lipton Tea stating my disappointment with their Co. that, after many years of nice, biodegradable tea bags, they have now come up with a beautiful little "Pyramid" bag made out of plastic mesh. Did they respond? Oh yea, nice little form letter stating their concern for the environment, research & development, yada, yada, yada - AND they think these new bags are in the best interest of their customers. Guess I'M the one who's wrong here - GOOD LUCK!

  9. Ladybug, That is just insult to injury! A form letter is the lowest form of response and to top it all off by saying they are addressing the interest of their customers by not actually addressing the interest of their customers! Soooo frustrating!


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