(When Seth Godin posted this today, I knew I needed to add my voice to the discussion).
This past Sunday was already a bad day.
My 4 year old son had decided this was the day he would be “age appropriate” and assert his independence. (I won’t capture the details here, lest some day he decide to run for President, only to have this post show up on CNN and derail his campaign). As a result, he was no longer going to Mathew’s party, and Joyce and I weren’t going to get that 2 hour break we needed.
Instead, while Nate pouted in the other room, I tried to catch up on writing my blog post for Monday. I was halfway done when the little green DSL light started to blink and the Internet light went dark. At first, no panic. I had become used to these intermittent outages, usually lasting 2-3 minutes. Time to grab a Cherry Coke Zero, check on Nate, and all would be well when I came back.
Not exactly. The lights were still out. After about an hour, I decided I needed to prepare myself for the ordeal that is “Verizon customer support”. I’d called Verizon about half a dozen times with similar issues and knew my day was not going to get any better.
1st: The dreaded Voice Response System. After 30 years of using a touch tone phone, I know where the keys are, and so do most people. But instead of getting my customer info from my CallerID and routing met to a real person, I had to speak my way through 7 levels of voice response.
“My phone number”
“Repair and Tech Support”
2nd: The dreaded wait on hold while listening to really bad music. The only break in the music was the voice interrupting every 20 seconds to tell me that my wait would be less than 10 minutes. Oh, and that I could get online support at the Verizon Web site. Duh!
3rd: 25 minutes later, a real person, who needs to once again verify my phone number and identity. After explaining the problem, he insists that I reboot my modem before he continue. Of course, having used Verizon before and being a hardware designer, that was the first thing I did. But he would not proceed unless I gave it one more try.
4th: “Do you have filters on the other lines?” “No, my filters somehow magically removed themselves from where they were a few hours ago”. I was getting annoyed now.
5th: “Maybe it’s your jack”. I knew it was not, but he was not going to help me until I went through the motions. So he had me crawl under the desk and disconnect the modem and reconnect in the living room to another jack. This took me 5 minutes…no difference. Then another 5 minutes to put the modem back where it was.
6th: “Could it be a problem on Verizon’s end?” I asked. “We’d know immediately if we had a problem in your area and there is no problem”.
7th: “We’ll send a technician out tomorrow. Please hold while I get dispatch on the line. It will be about 5 minutes”.
8th: 15 minutes later, “the dispatch computer system is down, so I can’t put you in touch with them. I’ll put this in as high priority and you’ll be called back within half an hour to schedule an appointment”
9th: 2 hours later, I get a call that someone will be out between 8am and 5pm. Yah, like we’ll sit home waiting all day. I ask them to call ahead and they say they’ll call half an hour before they come.
10th: 15 minutes later I get an automated call telling me that my issue was resolved. I look at the blinking DSL light and the black Internet light and say “NO”. OK, they’ll still come out.
11th: Late afternoon Monday, Joyce, who is trying to launch a new business (shameless plug), calls to see where they are. (See 1-3 above, except add in talking to someone in India who evidently had never heard numbers spoken out loud). “They came by at 12:10 and nobody was there”. Not true, she was there. In any case, they had determined that the problem was on Verizon’s end, despite their original assurance to the contrary (see #6), and it was fixed. Indeed, solid green lights.
12th: Since Monday, the outage seems to have been resolved, but it’s back to the 2-3 minute intermittent outages. So I call up again and this time speak to Derrick. He reads or recites from memory the standard excuses:
“It could be thunderstorms”.
“This is LA…we have 2 thunderstorms a year.”
“Could be that we were doing an upgrade”
“Several times a day”?
In any case, I insist that they open a ticket and someone tell me why my connection is so intermittent and fix it.
“You’ll be contacted within 48 hours.” Ticket # 197518950
harry the ASIC guy