I've had my share of bad customer support experiences, but this one is special. :)
A few months back I logged onto sprint.com to turn off receiving text messages on my phone. I was simply getting too many spam texts. Not being able to receive friendly texts however eventually turned into a problem. At times, friends would text me and rely on the fact that I received it. Sprint doesn't notify the sender the message isn't delivered. This caused a few annoying instances.
Anyway, I decided I needed to turn texting back on and simply accept the spam (seems like spam would be relatively easy to stop on an SMS network, but then again phone companies also make money on that spam, so maybe they're not all that motivated to do so. Who knows - regardless, I was getting a fair bit).
I went to the website again (now a few months later) and tried to login so I could turn texting back on. Well, as I'm wont to do with websites I dont login to for months at a time, I forgot my password. I cheerfully clicked the "forgot your password?" link which asked for my phone number.
Ok.. I entered my phone number which then gave me a message - "We have sent you your password via text message!".
Um. Hey smarty-head - your database has a bit that says my text messages are turned off. Maybe you could, ya know, CHECK THAT BIT before you go off and send me my password via text message so that I could login with the sole purpose of turning my text messaging back on. (Hey btw... I have a new advertising campaign for you: "Don't have any access to a phone whatsoever but want one? Call us!")
So.... off we goto customer support. I dial their customer support number and funny enough the first thing the automated system does is to ask me is to enter my phone number.
Um. Dear Sprint - this is YOUR phone service. Maybe you should spring for caller ID for yourself and then check the incoming number against your database (you have this database thingie turned on right? Its the big pretty box that says "Oracle" on it) and then ask that given I'm on a Sprint number, maybe thats the number I'm calling about. You never know - it just might work.
From here I deftly navigate their convoluted automated phone tree (which consisted of just pressing 0 a LOT) and sat on hold for about 20 minutes.
Finally, I get a customer support person. She greets me... and then.. with what I perceived as a tint of "this is gonna be good" in her voice, she asks:
"What's your phone number?"
WTF. So.. you're Sprint. Its your line. You'd think you'd have caller ID. If not, You just made me enter my phone number 20 minutes ago (prior to hold) and the first thing the real live person does is ask me again?
If this system was designed to frustrate customers away from using it, its pure user interface art.