My Letter To Verizon Customer Support - 10/8/07
-----Original Message-----
From: Paul [mailto:paul@paulspond.com]
Sent: Friday, September 19, 2007 10:13 AM
To: support@verizon.net
Subject: The Procedure

Dear Verizon Operations Staff,

We figured it would be easy. All we wanted to do was switch the name on our Verizon service from myself to my roommate Jason. I was moving out, and he was going to take over the bills. People move all the time, right?

Apparently, it was not so easy.

I have been a Loyal Verizon Customer for years. I tried Cingular and T-mobile, but switched back because Verizon had better reception. A few years ago I took a Roadtrip to all 48 contiguous United States and literally did a field test of every red area on your national coverage map. I was generally impressed: even some of the white areas in the middle of Montana got a bar or two. I did not call people and ask 'Can you hear me now?' because I didn't want to be a tool, but I will certainly attest to the quality of your coverage.

Your operations, however, could use some work.

What we wanted to do was not complicated. We didn't want to upgrade or downgrade the service. The service wasn't moving to a new house. We didn't even have a problem with our bill. All we wanted was to have a different person pay for it.

"OK," said the cheery voice on the other end of the phone. "We're going to have to switch off your service for a few days, come get your cable boxes"

"No no, we don't need to cancel our service," I said. "All my other roommates are staying here. We just want to have Jason pay the bill from now on."

"I know," said the voice. "Unfortunately that's The Procedure. We have to switch off your service, come get the cable boxes, then a couple days later we'll restart the service and bring you out new boxes."

I was perplexed. "Bring out the same boxes?"

"Well, probably not those exact same boxes, but the same kind. If you're not changing your service, that is."

"No, we don't want to change the service... look, you can't just leave it running and put a different name on the bill?"

"Sorry," said the voice. "That's The Procedure."

I paused. I didn't want to be rude: the voice had been so cheery so far. But...

"You do realize," I said finally, "How ridiculous this is."

"I know," said the voice sympathetically. "It's a strange Procedure."

So they switched off our internet, scheduled a technician to come take our boxes on Tuesday. the scheduled another technician to bring them back (or boxes just like them) on Thursday. However, as sometimes happens in the cable business, the Tuesday technician was a day late and the Thursday technician was a day early, and each brought a partner... so when I came home on Wednesday, I found four Verizon technicians in our garage and Jason in a lawn chair nearby watching them with a bemused look. The Thursday techs had brought along a cable hub, but they quickly realized we already had a working one exactly like it, already installed.

I thought the techs would be annoyed, what with four of them having been sent to the same location at the same time for the same job. But they didn't seem to mind. "This happens all the time," one of them told me. "Every time somebody moves." They all seemed pretty qualified, so mostly three of them just sat around chatting with Jason while the other one switched over the already-working hub and boxes. Still, something got messed up, and it took a three more hours to get things working again, during which time I joined the party in the garage and offered the techs PBRs. They respectfully declined.

--

I'm not writing this letter to complain. We weren't overbilled, and other than Jason's and my needing to be on the phone on hold with you guys for a couple of hours, we didn't really have to do much. Sure, we were without internet for a few days, but we're good at stealing wireless signals from our neighbors, and honestly it was worth the story. It just seems like, I dunno, maybe there's a better way for you to do this?

I'm fairly confident it can be done. When I called the gas company to have the gas at my new house switched from the previous owner's name to mine, the guy on the phone said "OK," clicked a couple things on his computer, and the next day a guy stopped by for five minutes to check the meter when I was asleep. It was was done. And I didn't even know the previous owner.

Your current Procedure, on the other hand, is kind of along the lines of having to bring in a book only to immediately check it out again, rather than simply renewing by phone. Libraries seem to have perfected this system years ago - perhaps it's something you could look into?

Is there, perhaps, a computer somewhere that could help you do this? I�m not a data systems analyst or anything, but even if it's an expensive program, it has to be cheaper then, let's see...

4 techs
x4 hours
x $25/hr
$400 every time this happens?

And that's not even counting all the extra cable boxes you have to keep swapping in and out.

I wouldn.t want any tech guys or phone voices to get laid off (they all seemed so cheery), but... you know. I.m just looking out. I really like Verizon, and hate to see you guys looking so ridiculous.

Maybe with the extra money you.d save you could build a couple more towers and redden in the rest of Montana?

Sincerely,

Paul
Loyal Verizon Customer For Years


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