Thursday, February 28, 2008

Punching holes in the corporate box

I really think Verizon customer support is truly incompetent. My DSL saga finally ended today when a repair tech actually came to fix our problem. I know it's not much of a saga compared to some of the horror stories I read about online. Some people wait months to get Verizon to repair their problem. That level of customer service is really unacceptable. Verizon really tries to make it as hard as possible to get in touch with a human, and then the human agents follow a pretty strict script to deal with your problem. It's so rare to find a support agent who will think and operate out of the [largely unhelpful] standard corporate procedure.

I can understand the need for scripting to a degree, but it is pretty insulting to my intelligence and probably multitudes of other customers. Considering that I managed to get a Ph.D. in engineering and make a living troubleshooting problems, it's particularly annoying having to deal with first tier tech support. You'd think I wouldn't have to constantly go through the same song and dance after having called 5 previous times. Eventually I got so fed up, I rattled off a little tirade the last time I called. It went something along these lines:

I've already called 5 times, and my problem has not been resolved. I have no dial tone and no DSL. I've power cycled my modem several times to no effect. I've plugged and unplugged the cables to check for loose connections. I've switched the ends of the cables plugged into the modem and wall jack. I've tried three different cables, two of which are Verizon provided. There are no other devices plugged into any of the other phone jacks. I've tried every other phone jack. The are no filters in use. I've tried plugging in an analog phone and got no dial tone and the keypad did not light up. I've unscrewed the wall plate and confirmed that there's no voltage on any of the wires. Are there any other tests that I've missed?
If they hadn't sent a repair tech (who thankfully was quite competent, unlike the phone support), I would have called again and added a few more choice lines about having a dry loop data only line (making the dial tone test completely irrelevant) and hooking up my phone lines to a neighbor's connection to confirm that there was nothing wrong with my apartment's wiring. Since my first attempt at pre-emptive question answering was so successful, I had a new answer script planned to stun the phone support into issuing me problem ticket. I didn't have to use it this time, but I'm keeping it around just in case.

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