It’s infuriating to live in a culture that is so dependent on technologies that I cannot repair.
Computers, cars, and homes…staples of our society, and I can’t fix any of them.
Remember Middle-Aged Man from the SNL sketch? He’d be disgusted with me.
And my ignorance always leads to frustration when I need to consult repair people.
- Can this person really fix my problem?
- Is this person over-charging me?
- Could I do this myself with 10 minutes of web research?
I’ve written before about avoiding the “bad idea” that strikes us all from time to time- the idea that we can tackle a project that we really should leave to an expert…usually resulting in calamity (see here and here and here) and wasted resources.
So heeding my own advice, I called GeeksMobile to help me out with some home computer repairs.
As far as I can tell, GeeksMobile is a middle-man company that connects customers with local tech people across the country.
So it’s a pretty streamlined business model. I imagine that they have a centralized call center, and all of the actual repair work is contracted out through local providers.
They charge the customer more than they pay the tech, and voila- profit!
Anyway, I called on a Thursday and had a pleasant conversation where I scheduled a home visit for the upcoming Monday at 11am. I even talked to their onsite tech to explain my problem and get an estimate of 90 minutes for the job.
At 10:30 on Monday, someone called and said, “GeeksMobile, I’m looking for Rick,” or something like that.
I explained that I WAS a GeeksMobile customer, but that I was not Rick. The caller mumbled a quick apology and promptly hung up on me.
As I pieced together later, that was an agent desperately trying to track down a local tech for my 11am appointment.
At 11:25 (well past our appointment time), that same person called me back to cancel. He stated without much apology: “We just can’t find a tech who is available.” As if that explained anything.
I mean, the whole idea of scheduling an appointment in advance is to make sure that a tech is available. I had even stayed home from work for the day.
But alright. Things happen.
A bit later, they unexpectedly called me back to ask if a 1:30 appointment that day would work.
At 1:45, they called back and cancelled that appointment, too.
They rep offered me a 10% discount if I could re-schedule for the next day.
Finally, on Tuesday morning a tech arrived. Despite what GeeksMobile told me, he had never heard about the 10% discount I was supposed to receive.
But otherwise, the tech did a great job and was a pleasure to work with. (Thanks, Ron!).
Unfortunately, the 90-minute estimate that headquarters had provided was off by 3 hours. And what they charge for 90 minutes is far less than what they charge for 4.5 hours.
So the bill was far higher than I had expected, and I called HQ to voice my concern.
The GeeksMobile rep said he’d call me back within the hour.
He didn’t call.
The next morning, I called him at 11am, but hung up after being on hold for five minutes.
I left another message for him later that afternoon, finally speaking to him 24 hours after he was originally supposed to call me back.
* * * * * * *
All in all, dealing with the actual GeeksMobile team was extremely frustrating. Cancelled appointments, confusion, under-estimates, un-returned c alls, etc.
Comically, when they called me a week later with their follow-up survey, two of the three questions were about the tech, not their in-house team (which is where all the problems occurred).
- ”Was the tech on time?” (Just a bit late, but he did call ahead)
- ”Did the tech fix your issue?” (Yup; he was great)
- ”Would you recommend our services to others?” (Hmmmm…)
Would I recommend them?
My tech was terrific. But the GeeksMobile team was very difficult to deal with. I explained my ambivalence to the interviewer, and he brusquely said, “Alright, I’ll make a note of that, and thank you for your time today,” leaving me with no confidence that he had actually written down a word I had said.
(He also missed a key opportunity to apologize, offer to let me speak to a manager, proffer a coupon for future services, or do something to redeem my experience.)
So not only was their survey misguided in focusing on the tech and not their in-house team (and even worse, it confounded the two in the final question), but there was not a dedicated place for me to rate or comment on the in-house team.
Yes, I needed an expert, as I could not have made these repairs.
But wow, I wish their customer service was as competent as the tech they contracted.
This experience: 2 Magnets