OK quick – would you rather call Comcast (U.S. cable/internet company) or Social Security (U.S. government pensions). [I’m translating U.S terms for my many (two) foreign readers.] Full disclaimer: I will not hear a word of criticism against my beloved Social Security (MBSS). Retirement is not for wimps and goodness knows, definitely not for the elderly. It’s exhausting. The amount of paperwork alone is monumental. But every step of the way, we’ve had nothing but amazing customer service from MBSS. I’ve heard a few anecdotal stories and I’m not so naive as to think that things never go wrong. But for us, the Social Security angels were hovering above.
I made several exploratory calls over the last year to get details. As immigrants, the process is different. Even with auto prompts, I was lucky every time. Typically, my accent doesn’t fare well with the auto-prompt menu. I go round and round and inevitably end up back at the beginning. And when I say, “Oh for heaven’s sake, I said YES,” I definitely go right back to “Go.” They have a frustration algorithm that rates your tone and sends you back as far as possible the angrier you get.
But not with MBSS. And their call-back system really works. If the wait is going to be long, they tell you exactly how many minutes and offer to call you back. And when the call back comes, you get the option to take the call immediately or delay 10 minutes to gather your paperwork. That’s so cool. OK, maybe other places do that, too, but MBSS has it down pat. Every employee I spoke to knew the answers – and understood my accent. Cool again. And they are so polite and patient and never condescending. As for Comcast – more on that in a moment.
You know how you can learn anything on YouTube – well, you can get advice on anything on the internet so I looked up, “How to prep for your meeting with Social Security.” The advice was good. 1. Make an appointment. Check. 2. Get all your paperwork ready. Check. 3. Don’t wear torn, dirty jeans and a back-to-front baseball hat and chew gum. Check. 4. Respect them and they will respect you. Check.
We did our homework, even driving to the office to make sure we knew exactly where it was and what parking was like so we wouldn’t be late for our appointment. This makes more sense to Atlanta residents. Again, the MBSS angels were hovering and we got a parking space right outside the main door. Inside, it’s not bad – plenty of seats in the waiting area. If you have an appointment, your officer’s counter is much more private. And so we met Jonathan – after introducing himself as Mister, he asked us to call him by his first name. He liked us and we liked him. And so began the next phase of my love affair with MBSS. Wow, he knew his stuff. But be warned – every time they ask you a question, don’t be tempted to tell a fib. They know absolutely everything about you from the year dot. If you have ever filled in a form anywhere with the color of your mother’s eyes, they have that noted. Any time they ask you a question, they already know the answer and are just checking to make sure you are being honest. But he was kind. The night before, I prayed for someone kind to be assigned to us – and that prayer was answered. Wow, we were lucky. We had every piece of paper he needed; Cedric knew every date even back to the 1940s; we didn’t have to go back a second time nor send in more paperwork. Jonathan got us approval right there. What a great system – gotta love this country!
So, back to the question – Comcast or Social Security. You know my answer. And if you’re interested in our specific Comcast horror story (and we all have them) here’s why. The Mighty Comcast Saga