Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Right hand, meet left hand

People often joke about big organizations having clueless departments which have no idea how to interoperate with each other. Anyone having to deal with a big institution has experienced this at some point. Even though I know to expect this, it's still frustrating every time.

So, what happened? Our Verizon DSL went out two days ago. It just went kaput and stopped working. That also means our phone stopped working since we have VoIP (Verizon Voicewing). After a full day of it not coming back on and doing the suggested modem power cycle several times, I figure it's not going to fix itself and contact Verizon. First, I try e-mail since I'm at work (remember no internet and phone at home). After much digging, I find an e-mail form. But lo and behold, there's a little message at the top of the form saying that I will only receive an automated response via e-mail and no actual human will ever read my message. What the hell is the point of e-mail support then? If I wanted canned responses and bad AI, I could either call their automated 800 number or wade through their maze-like website.

Next up, I try live agent chatting. That was incredibly slow. I get nothing useful from that and am told to call in my support request. I get home and use my cell phone to call tech support. This is where the true left hand and right hand corporate disconnect horror story begins. I call DSL tech support and give them all my info (name, phone number, address, what the problem is, callback number, the phase of the moon, and some information about Barney's evolutionary past). They tell me that my problem is my lack of a dial tone and that it's the local phone company's responsibility to take care of it. Bear in mind, that I have no voice service, just a data Verizon DSL line on top of which runs my Verizon Voicewing. But they would have none of those rational explanations and transferred my call to telephone voice services. I give my info again and re-explain my problem only to be told that I have a dry loop data only line, and it's not their issue to solve. So, I get transferred back to DSL support.

I bet you can see where this is going. I repeat the spiel with DSL support again, and get transferred back to the local telephone company support. Except this time I get an automated message (not even a real human being) saying that I only have DSL and need to call DSL support, after which they hang up on me. So, I call DSL support again, get the same story, and get transferred back to an automated telephone voice services system, and dropped yet again. At this point, it's been a little over an hour, and I'm pretty annoyed.

I call back the telephone support number and try cursing to bypass the automated system which just automatically drops me. I had heard that this little trick often works on automated phone systems when you can't figure out how to get to a live rep. FYI, cursing on the Verizon automated system doesn't seem to do much. But for future reference, just say "representative" to bypass all the nonsense in the Verizon automated support. I finally just flat out said that I'd been transferred 5 times already and just wanted my DSL service fixed. If I didn't do mindfulness training, I might have started swearing at that point and abusing the service rep. But I can't blame the service reps though. I doubt they're paid or trained well enough to be deal with anything beyond the basic "is everything plugged in?" and "did you power cycle the modem?" sort of issues. I do blame the Verizon corporate machine for creating an incompetent customer support system that insults my intelligence and wastes my time.

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