About a year ago, Verizon bought out Alltel in my market area. I was very excited about the change because Verizon offered a Smartphone I had wanted that was not available from Alltel. Shortly after the cell provider switch, everyone in the family had to get a new cell phone. A year later I am still thrilled with my new phone, and except for some weak coverage areas on campus where the kids go to school, everyone is pleased with their new phones. Although my wife may need a new battery, as her talk-time never seems to be very good.
Exactly one month ago, I received a text message from Verizon telling me that, on September 25, my voice mail would change over from Alltel to Verizon and I’d need to activate my new voice mail at that time. I did not even realize my voice mail was still on Alltel, but I made a mental note of it.
A few weeks ago, I received an urgent letter from Verizon that read, “Please Read – Action Required – All Voice Mail Users On Your Account.” The letter explained, “Please set up your new voice mail boxes on September 25th. Until your voice mail boxes are set up, your callers will hear a standard greeting.” I sat the letter aside for future reference.
Today, the big voice mail change over day had finally arrived, so I got out my letter and carefully read the set up instructions. I believe it is always beneficial when a company communicates changes, so there are no surprises. Good communication helps manage customer expectations, and Verizon communicated these changes exceedingly well, so I should have known what to expect. Not.
When I called in, as I expected, I heard some automated set up prompts as described in all the mass communications I had received over the last month. What I did not expect, was to hear those set up prompts in Spanish. I had received a text message a month ago in English, then a letter a few weeks ago in English. Moreover, my old Alltel mailbox was in English, and I had read the new mailbox instructions online at Verizon Wireless, in English. So, the Spanish prompts did catch me a little off guard. After regaining my composure and repeating the only Spanish that I know, “no hablo español,” finally an English-speaking computer voice came on and said those four little words we all love to hear, “press 1 for English.”
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