Hey ya’all…great to see you again! Hope the summer is treating you right. We here in Phoenix have had a fairly mild one so far—and we are NOT complaining! I have no doubt it will catch up to us eventually, but for now the horribly extreme heat seems to be holding off. And with a chance of rain in the forecast, I’m almost giddy with anticipation--even at 109!
So, I wanted to get something off my chest today—and it aint’ my bra. (Although now that you mention it, that’s not a bad idea.) Anyway, what I want to talk about is why…in this age of high tech and online everything…can’t my internet provider manage to get true high-speed service to my home? And why, for the love of God, doesn’t the person on the phone know that they can’t do it? And while we are wondering all these whys, how freaking hard is it to maintain enough staff to answer the damn phone in less than 45 minutes?!
I literally spent 45 minutes on hold for my local provider (15 minutes less than the freaking IRS!) just to get information on whether or not they could upgrade me to the faster service I’ve seen advertised on TV. Because I have finally realized that I thought I was getting 12 Mbps, they thought I was getting 7Mbps, and I’m actually getting 1-3Mbps. Seriously? Where’s the breakdown? Because there most certainly is one! Anyway, I digress…
I hold for what seems like forever, and finally I get a nice young lady who tells me yes, 20Mbps is available in my area.
“Really? What would that cost me?”
“Oh, there’s no difference in what you are paying.”
Seriously? And why haven’t they just automatically upgraded me? Exactly? Are they afraid I’ll be pissed about getting extra speed? Yeah, I guess that makes sense now that I think about it. (NOT) WTF?
Oh…because they need to sell me a new router. I get it now. The limitation is in the last router they sold me. Got it. And for only $100, they will be happy to sell me a new one that will upgrade me to 20 Mbps. Hmmm… I gotta think about this a while. I hate it when I call the henhouse and have to talk to the fox. It’s such a difficult dilemma for me.
Okay, it grates on me like nobody’s business, but these guys are pretty much the only game in town—or at least in my rural area. So, I call back a week later, hold for 30 minutes more, and finally agree to pay the ransom…er…cost of a new router…oh, and the service call fee. Now we’re up to about $250 on next month’s bill. Sigh. And they didn’t even have to use a gun…I signed up reluctantly, but willingly. Why? Because internet service has now become a necessity. And because in my area, they have a monopoly—which I thought was illegal, but that apparently doesn’t apply to where I live.
Now…the day of installation comes and the technician knocks on my door. I open it to find a very stressed guy who has the look of bad news on his face. Sure enough, he opens his mouth and it’s not pretty. Bottom line is that I’m currently on a very old line that is one of the few in the area that actually works. Oh, he can do the work that’s been ordered, but the infrastructure in this area is so bad that moving me to the new sort of line will get me higher speeds for about 15 minutes at a time. Then it will drop me repeatedly throughout the day. But if I’m online early in the morning and late at night, it’ll probably be okay.
Let me see if I have this right…I’m going to pay an extra $150 on my next bill for increased speed and crappy uptime? How is that an improvement, exactly?
He shrugs. It isn’t.
I immediately like the guy…he’s one of those honest souls who actually believes in telling the customer the painful truth. Sort of like a unicorn…you hear stories about them, but have never seen one to the best of your recollection.
So longer story shorter, he can install the new router, move the service to the faster, less reliable line and I will be calling their office the next day threatening to throw tires through their windows.
I can stay with the service I have and tolerate the slower speeds, stay with the router I have which works fine on the current speeds, he cancels the order and I pay for nothing additional—and my service remains (at least) dependable.
Seems like a no-brainer to me. “Fast” ain’t worth “won’t work”.
Now, what blows my mind is that he says he runs into this all the time in my neighborhood because of the age of the lines. So why is it that this internet/phone provider can’t flag the accounts in this area and know ahead of time that upgrading is a bad idea?
Or can they?
The Doubting Thomas in me says if Google Maps can take you straight to my front door, why can’t these guys know what homes are in service-challenged areas? The answer—they can, they just choose not to. Because just maybe you’ll be stupid enough to buy their new router, pay for the upgraded service and then tolerate the crappy service that results. Maybe they need those old tires I would be throwing through their windows. Or perhaps they are counting on crappy service personnel who won’t bother to be honest with the consumer? For shame!
Well, I (for one) am thankful for the honest man who came to my door today. Kudos to you, sir, for exceptional and honest customer service. It’s a sad day when the guy in the field has to clean up after a company’s poor procedures, but THANK YOU for going the extra mile for me! If I had encountered the crappy service that may have resulted from this upgrade, it would have been the end of my relationship with your company because the only thing keeping me there has been the dependable uptime—it sure ain’t the speed of their internet service or the speedy and honest phone support. Mr. Good Serviceman, you deserve a raise for your customer retention program!
Got a good or bad customer service story? Share it in the comments. I'd love to hear it! You know you have one...we all do.
That’s my story, preposterous and peculiar, and I’m stickin’ to it. Hang on tight now, ‘cuz we’re gonna go real, real fast!