January 31, 2007
MarkBernstein.org
 
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Verizon At Last

Yesterday, they called to warn us that they were going to repair our Verizon DSL line. That was considerate. The line went down: good, now they’d fix the intermittent problems.

An hour later, still down. OK.

Another hour. Still down. Our escalation supervisor has left for the day. I walk the tree again, to get another supervisor. She explains, in the end, that it might take 48 hours for Verizon to complete all the paperwork necessary to reconnect our service.

What are we expected to do in the meantime? She suggests we open a dial-up account.

Hilarity ensues, with wailing and gnashing of teeth. Up this morning. Third service tech arrives — and the first one who did not try to pretend that the problem must lie in our local network. New copper for us.

Memo to Verizon: you've really got a lot of work to do, but underneath all the customer service blunders and ignorance and finger-pointing, you've clearly got a support organization that wants to believe that all problems can be traced to bad connections or corroded wires. This isn’t a telegraph; other things sometimes go wrong in computer networks. But it’s all knowable: you can check the IP addresses, you can check the packets. Lots of people I spoke to in this sorry episode went straight from continuity testing to voodoo.

One more thing: if you've got an angry business customer on the line, it’s probably a bad idea to address them by their first name. We’re not pals.

So far, so good. We’ll see if it lasts.