Lessons from Verizon

Today is the day!  Today is the day I again get high-speed internet access at home.  You would think this was a simple task, but not if Verizon is involved.

Their customer service structure is so segmented and dysfunctional that I’m surprised anyone can get home phone or high speed internet service from them.

I am convinced that Verizon’s customer service setup is intentionally designed to make their agents and customer helpless.  Follow me on a verbal reenacment:

First, the customer calls the Verizon customer service hotline and is greeted by an automated voice.  Automated machines are not bad IF THEY WORK! After ten or so minutes of going through every possible automated menu the customer is reduced to screaming at a non-sentient machine asking to speak to a human being!

Finally, a customer service agent answers (after another five minutes of ’90s elevator music).  The customer service representative is inevitably sweet, sensible, and harmless.  However, they have no actual power to do anything.  Customer service can merely transfer you to the appropriate department.  There is no one stop problem solver.  After talking to repair, billing, dispatch, dsl, phone… there is no end in sight.  A mile wide and an inch deep.

Are you feeling the beginnings of my frustration?

After experiencing this situation I couldn’t help but compare it to my role as a pastor/elder in the church.  I think there are a lot of lessons about communication and problem solving to be learned.  The most significant lesson I learned was about empowering people to fulfill their duties.  You have to trust the people in your company to use their wisdom, creativity, and skills to solve-problems and do their job.  You cannot always limit them to pre-programmed responses.

In the same way, as a pastor, my job is to “prepare God’s people for works of service” (Eph. 4:12).  I think that churches often try to function like businesses and corporations with a top-down hierarchy when the Bible speaks of unity and equality.  To be sure, there are leaders in the church, but they lead with a humble example and the result is that other Christians are equipped to do ministry.  Each Christian is a fully-called, fully-capable, fully-commissioned minister of the gospel

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3 thoughts on “Lessons from Verizon”

  1. Customer Service … oh yeah, we will also set up instilation or a service call two weeks from Tuesday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm! Is that the best arrival time window you can provide?

    Other than the apt. time slot, my experience was slightly more pleasant than yours. Although every company has its brain farts, some just more frequent than others.

  2. It takes a heart for the Lord to see a spiritual lesson in getting internet service set up. Your observations are wise and fundamental. You are now equipped to receive spam from every drug sales company in Canada!

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