How not to do customer service
Small business owners sink or swim on customer service. For larger businesses, their relationship to government entities is often more important.
As someone who has worked in computer security, there is a long standing rule that you should never click on emails with suspicious attachements. Viruses and malware can be placed in ZIP, EXE, DOC and XLS files that will permanently harm your computer or compromise your private information or your very identity.
Yesterday I happened to be in a Verizon store getting very poor customer service. Today I received the following email:
The email came with an attachment, CPNI.xls
Never, click on an unsolicited attachment in an email like this. This communication has all the red flags you should be looking for. Even on Verizon’s website they warn how to recognize fraudulent emails., including generic greetings and a false sense of urgency. Normally I would have simply deleted this email, but I was afraid that the sales person had, indeed, changed something on my account which I was going to be billed for, so I called Verizon (not the number in the potentially fraudulent email, but the number I had on record for the company).
I was shocked to learn that it was a legitimate email!
Why would a company like Verizon break all the rules for non-fraudulent emails? Why send such a generic easily copyable letter? When stuff the important data I am supposed to look at in an Excel XLS file? What are customers supposed to do that don’t have spreadsheet software? After verifying that the email was genuine I tried to open it and found that it was a malformed XLS file that they had attached:
No company should have such poor customer service. When legitimate emails look like malicious viruses which aren’t even trying to conceal themselves it makes it much more difficult to know what is legitimate and what is not.
My Verizon customer service representative said that he had never had any complaints about this practice and did not expect anything to change.
If you have received a similar email, take the time to contact Verizon and let them know this is a terrible practice.