Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Lying Is Just Good Salesmanship

As everyone today knows, the era of the cell phone has changed the way our society and culture operate as well as how individuals function on a daily basis. Without our trusty cell phone, we all would feel like we had lost connection with the world. That truth was realized in a very personal way today. My phone (actually a PDA with all my contacts, calendar, and email) died, while I was on a trip to the other end of the state from my home.

I was clearly lost. I couldn't function as efficiently or contact people back who continued to email me and/or call me. Clearly, they were sailing ahead in the Internet Sea and I had been set adrift, thereby spending most of the day trying to stay connected via laptop and desperately trying to find a way to get a new PDA shipped to me overnight. Tonight after only 12 hours of no PDA, I feel vulnerable and have wasted most of the day trying to contact someone from my cell phone provider in my home area that can help me. Unfortunately, the area I am visiting has no cell phone dealer from the company I contract with. So, that exponentially complicated my life and ability to get this issue resolved.

Because I am struggling with this situation today, the experience drudged up loads of memories on other issues that I have had with this same cell phone provider. Topping that list of issues was a conversation I had with a regional vice-president in which I asked him a very simple question, "can I get a new phone under my old contract without renewing my current contract?" The answer was a simple and quick resounding, "yes."

"Well then, why did my cell phone salesperson tell me that I had to sign another two year contract when I moved my cell phone from a Blackberry to a Treo PDA?", I asked him. He said he didn't know why the salesperson would tell me that when clearly the television ads and radio ads were advertising that you could get a new phone anytime without incurring a new contract. I asked him then if this salesperson was lying. His response was, "not lying, just being a good salesperson."

I wonder....was it just good salesmanship? The truth will always come out later. In this case, the fact that this sales person had lied to me does not give me a sense of trust that they can solve my current situation. Indeed, in trying to call the cell phone company this salesperson has not only changed their phone number again, but also changed their email address. I also wonder if this salesperson has to do this time and time again because they can't keep up with all the lies they may have told other customers. It certainly might be good salesmanship according to this vice president, but I believe it to be the worst form of customer service. Again, character needs to reign supreme in each of our lives, even when it doesn't benefit us most. I believe that lies, no matter how white or small, will always catch up with a person.

I hope I get my PDA replaced shortly, but fortunately I can still "blog away" and get most things done on my trusty laptop. I guess cell phone customer service still just isn't what it's cracked up to be. I was reminded by a friend today that "character is demonstrated by what you do when noone is looking." -Heidi Ho-

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