Posts Tagged ‘wireline’
This week, word came out that Verizon is pulling the plug on its Hub media phone and VoIP service — all the more ironic given a report out this week saying media phones will be big business in the future. In retrospect, Verizon’s Hub product was doomed from its launch for three reasons.
1) Hub was neither fish nor fowl — it was a broadband service being sold through Verizon Wireless stores/outlets because Verizon (wireline) had no consumer outlets. There was no real champion for the concept and you didn’t see it get the (advertising) airwaves that the stock Verizon Wireless service did week after week.
Sure, it had some whistles that allowed it to access Verizon Wireless services, but you could get those through any vanilla web browser.
2) Priced to fail – You needed a two year contract for the Verizon Hub AND pay for the hardware. Oh yes, let me run to the store, pay $35 per month for an (overpriced) VoIP service and then shell out another $200 bucks for the hardware.
It’s the same sort of “Let’s charge more” strategy that has kept femtocells on the backburner at wireless carriers. Which leads me to the final point..
3) It wasn’t anything Really Special. People will pay more for better service, but Hub was a glorified cheap tablet PC with a vanilla VoIP contract anchoring it. I could be catty and say it would have been better with HD voice, but that’s an apples and oranges comparison — HD would have been a superior service to vanilla VoIP.
Posted July 13, 2009on:
At 9:48 AM, I received a call from a Verizon call center in Virginia, telling me that my landline service was fixed and if I had any questions or other problems, please feel free to call. This message was read by a human being working through a script.
Meanwhile, there’s a Verizon truck parked outside, a backhoe across the street near the above ground distribution box, and a Verizon tech and two contractors plugging in wonderful boxes to locate where exactly the line break is (hopefully not under the asphalt, please). The tech has already worked up a heavy sweat and I don’t envy his labor today.
Note to Verizon: This is the second time where I’ve got a rote call center call TELLING ME THE CIRCUIT IS FIXED WHEN A TECH IS STANDING OUTSIDE TRYING TO REPAIR IT.
Honestly, once may be bad luck and/or human error, twice indicates that the processes and the procedures are broken and need to be fixed.
It would be to laugh, if it wasn’t costing you money and goodwill.
Now we await Miss Utility before the digging starts, I think…
Previous postings in this saga of repair, in chronological order–
Tuesday, July 8
Verizon wireline’s 7 day service window – I’m told that someone might not look at the dead phone line until Monday, July 7
Friday, July 10
Virginia PUC responds faster than Verizon landline repair - File a complaint only with the Virginia SCC (PUC)
Virginia PUC motivates Verizon repair for landline and other mysteries – Tech comes out, declares line dead, need new copper
Saturday, July 11
Verizon Repair fiasco continues… – Verizon call center droid says service is restored, unplug my phones, plug back in, should have dialtone
Straight talk from a Verizon supervisor… – Tech working on my line calls me back, tells me call center is wrong, didn’t read trouble ticket
More repair activity from Verizon this Saturday – Tech comes out, jury-rig a NID-to-NID connection for dial tone.
Sunday, July 12
Verizon repair Sunday phone call – Richmond supervisor calls to discuss activities
Verizon supervisors work on Sundays, it appears.
I spent 10 minutes on the phone going over the repair status of my Verizon landline with a Verizon supervisor. I currently have dial-tone through a temporary jury-rig (hmm, reminds me, must take pictures) between my NIC and my neighbor’s.
The sup was concerned that I didn’t get phone calls from either one of the techs who came out on Friday and Saturday. I told them I wasn’t as torked off about that so much as the call center person who told me that my line was fix on Saturday, go unplug-and-replug your phones in. The supervisor noted that, well, the quality of call center people in the technical industry these days…
ANYway, after telling him for my great-great love when I did talk to the techs and how I didn’t understand how Verizon could tell me it could be up to 7 days for someone to even look at the problem, he said I should see a dig crew out on Monday, presuming Miss Utility can get out here and mark the other lines (cable, electrical).
Pull into my driveway at approximately 2:30 PM today to see the s local Verizon guy in front of my access box (NIC), and there’s a piece of gray wire coming out of it, looped around/across my neighbor’s fence perimeter. The wire crosses the fence on the other side of my neighbor’s lawn and is plugged into my neighbor’s NIC.
I have Verizon dial tone. It’s an ugly lashup, but I’m not going to complain at the moment
Filing a complaint with the Virginia SCC (think PUC) is powerful s**t, my friends.
I also have a call from another person at Verizon who has sounded the alarm and says I should expect a Miss Utility truck today to mark the buried lines, with a contractor out either today or Monday to dig up and splice in new copper.
At 11:40 AM, a Verizon supervisor — the second tier guys who actually know what the f*** is going on — called me back and clarified the status of the phone repair–
1) The copper is dead between my house and the distribution point, there are no alternatives, Verizon is going to have to dig and put in new copper.
2) This process may take up to 7 days (worst case), since it is now a weekend, Miss Utility has to be called to mark the lines and then Verizon’s contractor has to come out to dig-dig-dig… *sigh*
3) “Bob” the supervisor noted that if the first-line person who had taken the call had scrolled down the record a bit more, she should have seen that A) Phone line was dead, Jim and B) There was another work order generated for replacing the copper from this morning’s tech assessment. So, she should have not told me that I had service restored and go through the rote ritual of “unplug the phones, wait 5 minutes, try again, that doesn’t work, call back.”
The supervisor — who I bet installed his share of network when he was younger — did not think kindly of the first line response person. Ya gotta love a guy who doesn’t sugar coat things
The moral of this story should NOT be “I hate Verizon.” I love the line guys and techs who don’t try to B.S. me, they just tell me what’s going on, like the guy yesterday up from Richmond working through the backlog of repairs. These are people who care about the customer and have pride in their work and they know that they can make a person’s day because they’ve dealt with some of the back office crap and it doesn’t make them any happier.
I really wish Ivan and the rest of the Verizon senior leadership would stop and take a moment to reassess and repair Verizon’s customer service organization on the landline side.
P.S. Shoutout to Andy Abramson — happy to make you smile!
This morning, I called Verizon’s number to see what time a tech would be out to look at my dead landline
Much to my surprise, the auto-bot said the trouble ticket had been closed. Once again, using the magic word “Attendant” to cut through the voice recognition robot, I got a live human being who said that the line had been “fixed” at 9:30 AM.
I expressed my dismay, since 1) The tech hadn’t knocked on the door and 2) how was I supposed know that the line was fixed? Oh and 3) I still did not have dial tone.
So, we went into the rote script of “Unplug all of your phones for five to ten minutes, then plug back in a standard phone and see if you have dial tone” and if that doesn’t work — call back and ask a supervisor.
Did as instructed. No dial tone in the home. Call back. Ask to speak to a supervisor. All supervisors are busy.
“Can I have the name of a supervisor?” “They’re a pool”
“Can I have a direct number so I won’t have to deal with the auto-attendant?” “There’s no direct number.”
Call ends with me asking for a supervisor to call me back at my alternative phone number and being assured someone will call me back today.
The Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC)’s Division of Communications is my new BFF when it comes to dealing with Verizon.
Earlier today, I filed a complaint on the SCC’s website, asking why it would take Verizon up to seven (7) days to come out and restore my dial tone. I subsequently exchanged several emails with a SCC staff member and by 12:30 PM, I received this note…
“Thanks for your response. Our office has now filed a complaint on your behalf to (1) assist in getting your telephone service restored as soon as possible, and (2) to get any explanations as to why it quoted such an extended interval on a repair issue.”
As I opened up my garage at 5:45 PM, lo and behold, I see a Verizon van across the street. The tech wrapped up his phone call and walked over. He tells me that I have a pair of bad wires between my house and the distribution point around the corner and he has put a ticket in for someone to get out side. He also tells me that I got bumped to the front of the line for some reason; I tell him that when I called in I got the whole 7 days thing, so finally I got fed up and filed the SCC complaint, nothing personal. He agreed that having to wait up to 7 days for service wasn’t exactly good for the consumer.
Turns out he and a bunch of his coworkers are up from Richmond for the week helping Verizon Repair work through a backlog of trouble tickets.
Later this evening, at about 7 PM, I received a stock auto-bot message from Verizon saying it was sending out a technician tomorrow to our address, “Press 1 to confirm” and someone needs to be around to let the tech inside the house… OK, I’ll ignore the last part, but I want to be around to see if I get dial tone back.
The moral of this story: If you are in Virginia, the SCC is probably as good as calling up the president of Verizon Virginia to complain about poor service.
The deeper mysteries of this story:
1) Just what happened to result in a sudden spike/rash of trouble ticket calls for Verizon repair?
2) Does Verizon have adequate staffing on call to meet state regulatory requirements of resolving 95 percent of telephony problems in 48 hours? If the company has to ship techs up from Richmond, the answer might be “No.” See (2) in italics above.
This isn’t the first time I’ve run into headaches with Verizon landline repair. However, the SCC is purportedly getting complaints about longer service intervals statewide more recently.
Again, why? I’ll be making some more phone calls on Monday to dig a little deeper.
My Verizon landline went dead on Monday. I filed a trouble ticket on Monday evening. At that time I was told that “the latest someone would be out to look at my line would be Monday, July 13, but if there’s someone free earlier, we’ll call you…”
Seven days for a tech to come out seems excessive by any stretch of the imagination. I suppose I could call the President of Verizon Virginia to complain — that’s the secret ninja trick that all Verizon employees know — but I don’t have his number in my cards.
Instead, this morning I went to the Virgina PUC and emailed in a complaint this morning. By the time I returned from the gym today, I received a response which read in part…
“As to the current service quality regulations, 95% or more of all telephone company outages should be cleared within 48 hours. The quoted ‘seven days’ interval is not acceptable to the Commission’s standards and should not be a company policy within Verizon.”
If you want to know one of the supporting reasons why Verizon continues to lose landlines, it boils down to one word: service.
My Verizon landline died sometime yesterday. I placed a service call last night and was told the latest someone would show up would be July 13 – seven days from the time I placed the call.
A test from the CO indicated that yes, indeedie, there was a problem, so a truck roll was scheduled. Iif a dispatcher could get someone out there earlier, Verizon might be able to get someone out there; could I please provide two (2) other phone numbers to reach someone at the household. So they have a “work” number (which, BTW, is a Cox phone line working fine) and a mobile number.
Other highlights of my call: “Did I check the dial tone access on the box outside?” No. When did checking dial tone on the box outside become standard operating procedure? “Work on the inside of the house is covered, you pay for maintenance…” Yes, we do, but this apparently doesn’t get a truck roll out to me any sooner despite paying the extra $3 and change.
All this gives me flashbacks to when I moved about 3 years ago and tried to get service to my new house. It was almost literally a move across the street — no change in CO, no restart in billing, should have been a piece of cake.
Instead, it was a NIGHTMARE.
One phone number was supposed to be transferred over the weekend, but the house owners left their service on. I called service, took time out of my day on a Friday, and was PROMISED that would be out that day. 10 AM rolled into noon, and I called Verizon again. “Someone will be out by 3 PM”… 3 PM rolled into 4, called again … “Someone will be out by 6 PM”… 6 PM came and went. “We can’t send someone out today, we’ll send someone out tomorrow.”
Saturday came and went, nobody showed up.
Monday rolls around, the dial tone from the previous owners ends and STILL no truck roll. I call again, am told that because the previous owners didn’t have service turned off, they have rescheduled the truck roll — because they just CAN’T turn up service without a truck roll once the line is turned off — for two weeks later, thank you very much.
Since I live in a cell phone “dead zone” and have a small child, I am not f***ing pleased. I ask for a supervisor and tell her I had a live phone line in the house until yesterday, could she PLEASE try to do something in the switch?
And… 5 minutes later late on Monday I have one of two phone lines turned on. Lot of apologies about how Verizon was switching to a new dispatch/service system…. and that’s it. No service credit, no paper…
Line number two came up after a truck roll about two weeks later.
A month or two after that, I called up Cox and moved line number two off Verizon. The cable company gave me a TWO HOUR window when the tech would be out and it took them less than an hour to:
1) Find the right cable
2) Install the equipment on the side of the house
3) Switch the phone number out of Verizon’s CO over to their CO.
It would have been MUCH LESS than an hour, but the installer was training a new guy, so he was taking his time showing the rookie how to do things right, including nicely cutting the cable guys. In addition, there was about 5-10 minutes on hold with the service center because it was lunch time.
Now, which would you prefer, a two hour service window, or a seven day service window? Cable may have gotten a bad rap for customer service in the past, but they’re kicking Verizon’s rear in my neighborhood today.
After two weeks of hype and rumors, Google Voice is starting to hand out phone numbers to its waiting list. Although, after yesterday’s “Today” show segment, the company might not have had a choice.
I guess I am suffering from Google-burnout, between the hype for Google Voice, how Google is supposed to respond to Bing, Chrome, Android, Google’s troubles with China on censorship, Google Wave, and Google Book Search…
In the “Today Show” segment, there was happy gushing from NBC News user Janet Shamlian, how it made her life easier and for her family to get in touch with her yadda-yadda. Little downside was given in the piece other than potential privacy concerns since The Google gets access to your recorded voice conversations, voicemail (probably a more valid point if they start datamining the contents, even in a generic fashion) and everything else that flows through GV, like call data. Heaven forbid that The Goog use that data to target ads!
We’ll see how long it takes for me to get a Google Voice number. I’m not really convinced it is going to do anything greater for me than my current phone service(s) of Cox (landline) and Sprint (mobile). Cox has added online Phone Tools, so I’ll get the visual voice mail component and call forwarding set on line. I don’t have a gazillion phone numbers to manage, so being able to simultaneous ring a bunch of devices Does Not Make Sense for me.
Finally, there’s the whole “hand Google my primary phone number when they finally get around to supporting it.” So, I give Google my house number, and I need a new number (no doubt provided out of the million number stash Google has allegedly built) for my landline and this makes sense because…?
If Google Voice such a big-deal/game changing service, it won’t take too terribly long for everyone else (translation: Any voice service provider with a softswitch and purchasing a service pack upgrade) to do the same thing After all, GrandCentral/Google Voice has had about two years of “betas,” so it has given those mean old phone companies and the vendors who support them plenty of time to figure out how to replicate the services on their own networks.