When a company gets too big, it’s the consumer that suffers. And oh, how I have suffered at the hands of a major telecom provider! I’m pretty sure I mentioned the installation circus we had with them and subsequent billing issues. Now let me move on to Technical Support, with which I had my first interaction yesterday.
I arrived at work just after 8am and as soon as I walked in, our admin said the internet was down. This can mean many things, so I went into my office to troubleshoot a bit. Internet and email, both down. I was about to place a call to our IT company when I discovered our phones were also down (they are on a separate circuit that doesn’t go through our firewall). This was clearly a service issue, so I pulled our most recent invoice from the file cabinet, grabbed my cell phone, and dialed the technical support number on the first page of the bill.
After navigating a phone tree designed by the devil himself, I got a real person.
CSA #1 spent ten minutes trying to find our account in her system. The account number on our bill has eight digits, but according to her all account numbers have nine digits. We didn’t come up under the office phone number, nor under our address, nor under our name, which I spelled out letter by letter. She transferred me to a different department.
CSA #2 also could not find us in the system. I assured him we are customers, I was looking right at our bill, and I read him the account number and the billing account number and the invoice number and everything else I could find on the first page. I re-verified our address, phone number, my name, our company name. He finally said that we must be in his secondary database (?) and proceeded to search there. A few minutes later he came back on the line to say our account was serviced by Qwest and he would have to transfer me to that department.
Never mind, I don’t care – I just need someone to place a trouble ticket with because our service is down.
CSA #3 (who was not with Qwest, by the way), could not find us in his database. I was getting pretty huffy at that point. I’d been on the phone over a half hour and still could not even get someone that could find our account. How many databases does this place have?? I had a couple dozen employees at a complete stand-still. He transferred me to another department.
CSA #4 was difficult to understand, and she didn’t believe me when I recited our account number (she said it was wrong). I assured her it was correct. She transferred me to another person.
CSA #5 Also could not find me in his system. I proceeded to read him our entire bill, page by page, line by line, including the dollar amounts. I could tell he was getting frustrated with me, but I just kept reading. Eventually, on page 8 of our 14-page bill, there was a number that he said was one he needed. He then transferred me to the proper department.
CSA #6 re-verified all my information, found me in the system (yay!), and then said a ticket had already been started for this address…….. When I asked by whom, he couldn’t tell me. When I asked how I would get updates on the repair, he said I’d have to ask the person who put in the ticket. When I told him nobody in my office had started the ticket, he just repeated that I’d have to ask whomever started the ticket. It’s a four-story building. I said fine, I would just wait, but in the mean time could he please forward our business lines to my cell phone, so at least our clients could get through. That’s another department, he said, and transferred me back to the department that CSA #3 was in.
CSA #7 was unable to find our account in his system (surprise!), and that’s when I lost it. This poor man was the unfortunate final straw. It had been 90 minutes that I had been on the phone at this point and I was done. So done. He heard just how I feel about the company he works for. I ranted about how many different departments I had spoken with, how the information on our bill was completely useless if it didn’t get me to the right people, how I regretted the day I’d met the salesman that said how great the service would be. He calmly explained that there was a big outage in the area, lots of people affected, but that he couldn’t do anything if he couldn’t find our account. He transferred me to another department that could set up an emergency forwarding for the phone lines.
CSA #8 was in the proper department for the voice lines, but he was in the middle of explaining to me why they couldn’t forward calls to my cell phone when the office phones rang right next to me. Yup, service had been restored. He paused and said, “What was that? Was that the phone?” When I replied in the affirmative, he said, “Well, sounds like they are working just fine. I see no trouble on the circuit, so I’ll go ahead and close this ticket. Is there anything else I can help you with today?”
He’s lucky I couldn’t reach through the phone to throttle him.