Tuesday, March 06, 2007

How making me happy can save you money.

Dear readers... I have to make an admission. I used to work in Tech Support. You would not be reading my blog if it weren't for one of the companies I used to work for. But that was in the long, long ago times. Now I am just a frustrated consumer.

So you see.. I understand how hard customer support is. Which maybe is why I get so completely pissed by how inefficiently customer support lines are run. You see - in tech support - you can tell within seconds who the clueless bastards are who will do nothing but drain the life from you. I am not one of them. Usually. So why does it take me 5 interactions with customer support to get my problem resolved?

Little background:
Over the weekend my network connection to Comcast Cable kept dropping in and out. About the time I would become frustrated enough to call them, my connection would magically heal itself - until this morning.

Confident enough in the idea the 2 lights on my cable modem would not increase to 4, I felt maybe I could just have Comcast reboot my modem from their side, and we could all live happily ever after. After all - it was only an intermittent problem up until that point.

With call #1, after going through all the menu's - I was exiled into a phone state filled with static. I could neither tell if I was on hold or had been disconnected.

Call #2 brought me fear that I may never actually get connected. The Comcast automated system repeatedly kept informing me that it was "trying to connect my call". I eventually did reach a support rep, and it immediately started off badly. Despite clear enunciation - it took 5 tries for the rep to get my phone number down.

Once we get through that - I describe my problem, and she begins to ping my modem. Which by that time had regained its connection. Luckily within seconds it dropped back out. This obviously perplexed the support rep. Completely incapable of diagnosing an intermittent problem I could hear her start to stutter. In my head I am starting to scream profanities, and she informs me that she doesn't see any outages in my area. Well I ask " can you reboot my modem from your side"?

A moment of brilliance pops on in her head and she asks" Oh - you want me to reboot your modem"? In my head " No- I was just hoping to chat with you about your day, and maybe diagnose my own problem" - but I only muster a sarcastic "yes". This only results in my connection fluctuating in and out.

She asks "do you have a firewall'?

At this point I'm getting pissed but I know my chances are slim of getting anyone better. This is Comcast after all. I just hope I can get her to do what I want her to do. I reply " Yes I have a firewall, but that won't make the lights on my modem show I don't have a connection".

Then she tries to punt me hoping I would go away. She asks "Do you still have the install disk the modem came with"? You have got to be joking right? So "you don't see any problems on your side" I ask?

At this point she offers up sending out a support Rep. Which makes me freak out because this means I will be without service for several days. I tell her I will take the modem down myself and swap it.

So - a half an hour later I get home with my new modem - plug it in and still no connection. The lights on the modem are reporting a fantastic connection though. I start to think "maybe those f-ing cd's do have something on them the modem needs". I install the CD, and still no connection.

Call #3 to Comcast. The automated operator again informs me she is trying to connect my call - which by the way was the message I got each time I called. Eventually I wind up being dropped.

Call #4. I get a girl named Samantha. But by this time I'm sure my voice has a mixture of pleading, and irritation. I tell her that all I want is to get on the Internet, and that I just swapped out my modem. Then something magical happens. She starts talking to me like a peer. And she knows stuff! Within a few minutes after her sending resets to my modem.. I'm able to get to Google.

At this point I am just gushing about how much I appreciate her. I tell her I have a crush on her. Yeah.. thats right. I can have a non-sexual girl crush. Chicks who know technology rock.

At any rate.. I hope I don't have to call Comcast again - for at least 30 days. But I sincerely wish they would hire more Samantha's. It is just ridiculous for it to take that amount of customer service time for a someone who is reasonably technically literate.


  1. This so reminds me of an experience I had with my company's tech support. At the time I was telecommuting exclusively. One day I logged on and while I could access my e-mail, I couldn't access my network drives.

    I called tech support:

    EHL: I can't access my network drives.
    Tech support: Go to my computer, double click.
    EHL: Okay (and I double click)
    Tech support: There are your netword drives!
    EHL: No, They aren't there, that's the problem.
    Tech support: You're not clicking on my computer. Click on my computer and you'll see all your network drives.
    EHL: I know where to find them, they are just not available.
    Tech support: Try this, right click on start and choose explore.
    EHL: No. That is not the problem. I don't have access to the drives.
    This exchange continues for quite some time. Finally, exasperated, tech support girl says,
    tech support: Can I take control of your computer?
    EHL: Yes!
    So she takes remote access, I watch her go to my computer, open it up and then she says, "OH, you can't access your drives!"

    Ahhh, success!

  2. Comcast "support" always sucks yards of balls.

  3. Oops, I got all caught up in my Comcast-angst, I forgot to give you this link I saw today.


    For printable DIY lens-hoods.

  4. EHL - thank goodness for remote access. That would have made me crazy - especially if it was my own company. You'd think they would have gauged your ability when you weren't asking where the "my computer" menu was.

    MdG- Interesting visual! And thanks for the link. I wouldn't have thought of just making my own, and it is such a simple clever idea.