It is strange that we somehow think it normal, in 2011, that spending over $800 a year for a very small selection of TV, sprinkled with cooking shows, bad news programs and commercials should somehow entitle us to good customer service. That was my mistake when I called Direct TV, yesterday, for advice on how to program my remote control.
An impatient voice seemed baffled that I would call and ask for technical help in programming my remote control. “Sir, you can go online and find the information,” Direct TV told me. But my computer is in my kitchen, and my TV is in my living room, so that wouldn’t work.
“Go to your menu, sir and then go to TV and then to remote,” she said with a tired and angry air in her voice. “Press the code and then press ENTER and MUTE,” she said.
It still was not working. So, unbeknownst to me, she decided to have some fun by deliberately misdirecting me.
“You should NOT point the remote at the TV. Turn it AWAY from the TV and then follow the directions on-screen,” she said. So I pointed the remote, that I was trying to program, at my fireplace, awkwardly positioned, with head turned right, arms stretched straight ahead towards chimney, eyes reading the directions on-screen. Nothing happened.
“Can I speak to your supervisor?” I asked.
“Supervisor? What are they going to tell you that I can’t?” she said.
I could hear her puffing, and breathing and typing and imagined her, somewhere, a young African-American woman working at a job she hated, where idiots phoned up all day and asked how to program their remotes.
Finally, I just hung up. I called back Direct TV and a polite woman answered. “I can’t understand why she would tell you to point it AWAY from the TV but I will do my best to help you,” she said.
Within minutes, the remote and the TV were synced. The device worked. Niceness and helpfulness won out.