Doug on IP Comm – An independent voice on VoIP, telecom, and IP Communication

Five tips on how to get Verizon service moving

Posted on: August 11, 2009

Having recently gone through my own personal quest to get Verizon to repair my landline, I feel compelled to share five tips to get better information and results out of the phone company. Business owners may want to note 3-5 in case they run into problems since they apply equally well.

I know I’m not alone in being frustrated with Verizon and in all honestly I believe the company has either intentionally or unintentionally adapted an “abandon in place” strategy for its landline business, given the number of stories I’ve heard from other people when it comes to landlines.

Every quarter, Verizon announces that they’ve lost thousands upon thousands of landline customers. But why? The company says its because of a migration to wireless services, belt-tightening, and so forth.   They don’t talk about why many customers have, upon going through the rat race of trying to get dial tone fixed, gone to cable providers dial-tone alternatives.

There’s also the not-so-subtle push of FiOS when people call and complain about copper problems. “Well, you won’t have those problems if you get fiber,” says the first-line call center people.  They don’t mention the all-day install it takes to get FiOS turned up.

If you are bound and determined — or have no other alternative — here are the five points I offer if you have to deal with Verizon to get a landline fixed.

1)  “Attendant” is the magic word to get you through the voice recognition maze to a real human being.

After the second or third phone call, the auto-attendant robot just gets in the way.  Attendant cuts through all the crap and routes you to a real human being in a call center.  But don’t expect this to be an advancement.

2) If the first person to answer the phone doesn’t seem to know what’s going on, ask for a supervisor.

Call center people are, by and large, paid to get you off the phone as fast as possible. They’re reading from scripts and sometimes they don’t follow the full script and/or read through the full trouble report on the computer.   I’ve had multiple call center people tell me everything was fine with my line — with a truck outside and no dial-tone on the line — and all I had to do was to unplug everything on the line, wait 5 minutes, and then plug everything back in. By and large, there’s no love lost between the call center people and the line techs who actually fix things.

Supervisors are the people in your neighborhood, in your neighborhood, in your neigh-bor-hoood… the people who you might meet each day — not someone in a call center 500 to 2,000 miles away reading from a script.  You should get a straight and coherent answer from one.

If one isn’t available, ask for a supervisor to call you back.  Someone will.

3) Document

If you have to call more than once or twice, start writing down names, dates, times, and who said what.   Promises are sometimes made by call center people and supervisors that don’t happen — and that leaves you with nothing.   If that’s the case, then the next step is to….

4) File a complaint with the state regulatory commission

In the state of Virginia, you can file a complaint against Verizon online with the State Corporate Commission (SCC) Division of Communications.  Under state regs, Verizon has to resolve about 90 percent of phone problems within the first 48 hours of you filing a trouble ticket.  I filed online at around 10 AM, the SCC filed with Verizon by noon, and someone from Verizon was out looking at my line by 5:30 PM.   A SCC complaint sets the clock ticking and Verizon gets serious about clearing the up the problem ASAP.

5) Call the President of Verizon in your state

All Verizon employees know this one.  You won’t get the president, but leave a message that clearly details the problem. It automatically gets flagged as a priority and people start running around trying to fix the problem.   NO, I don’t have the number for Verizon VA, but I know where to get it if I need it.  You should be able to find the number you need to call on the internet.


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