Category Archives: Customer Service

Net neutrality should be about user experience

stopI just read this article about how Cisco believes that net neutrality rules need to allow for bandwidth shaping.

I believe they’re missing the point entirely.

Right now the issue is that infrastructure owners are playing games with the prioritization of bits, in order to provide leverage for charging tolls to content providers (I’m coining the word “trollboothing“, if it doesn’t exist already, to describe this). The result is a loss for consumers of content, because their internet experience is degraded (sometimes severely). Continue reading

Why I don’t upgrade my cellphone

True story: a while back I walked into a cellphone store. The rep behind the counter was yapping with a couple of her friends. After fifteen minutes of patiently waiting, I asked her if I could ask a few questions about their phone line-up. She brusquely informed me that she was busy, and then went back to chatting with her friends about clothing. I walked out.

There are thirteen cellphone stores in the mall by my house. I counted. Each one uses slightly different combinations of primary colors in their logos. What I have to say here could apply to any of them, and I’m not going to name names. None of them are typically busy either, so I find this confounding. Continue reading

Business Internet

I think there’s a potential business plan in all this.

We moved a few days ago into our new offices, which we are sharing with CO4 Computing. Last week we had an (unnamed) internet DSL company put in a connection. We tested it on Sunday, and it was working perfectly.

By the time we actually moved in, it had stopped working. It turns out that the unnamed internet service provider above actually uses phone lines (in this case something called a dry loop, which is basically a phone line without a phone number attached to it) that they lease from [insert big phone company name here]. Some technician at the [big phone company] had decided that there was something wrong with the dry loop, and had randomly disconnected it (without – I might add – letting the DSL company know).

At the point in writing, we’ve been trying to get the DSL company to fix our internet connection for three days. The problem, of course, is that they are totally reliant on the phone company’s technicians in order to do this. The phone company won’t tell them what they are doing to resolve the problem, and furthermore won’t let them know a timeframe either.

In the meantime, I’m being stonewalled by the DSL company as well.

We also looked into going directly to the phone company (unfortunately they’re the only ones who have lines going into this building) in order to get internet service from them. Apparently there’s a two week delay before they can install it. That’s minimum two weeks, not an absolute timeline.

For home internet, I can get a technician at my door within two to three hours. For business though, getting a new internet connection takes two weeks, and fixing a broken connection can take days. I’m puzzled as to why anybody puts up with this.

Talk To Me – Sort Of!

I just created a “Cyber Twin”. Basically its a (slightly snarky) chat bot that is programmed to mildly ape my mannerisms.

You can talk to it here:

It isn’t well trained yet though, so don’t expect too much.

Their more sophisticed commercial level AIs are pretty good at holding down the fort while all of the sales people are busy. Its an interesting idea. Takes a lot of work to train them though.

How Not Do To Business

My wife’s laptop suddenly stopped working last night. The theory I’m operating on is that the AC adapter has burned out. I called the manufacturer this morning and they referred me to a local company that they use for servicing.

The following is an (unfortunately all too typical) example of lousy customer service. I’m not sure how this “service” company stays in business.

I tried calling them this morning. Got their voicemail. Wandered from box to box for 15 minutes before getting somebody who had no interest in talking to me. I had to ask him whether I should come by. They wouldn’t commit. I decided to try anyway.

I drive to their shop, and there is nobody at the counter. Some guy with long hair walks out of the washroom, looks at me like I’m a martian, and then walks away back into the warehouse without saying anything.

There’s a bell on the counter with a note that says “please ring for service”.

I bang on the bell a few times, and eventually a manager comes out of their office.

Me: I have a laptop that needs servicing. Toshiba told me to come here.

Manager: “Sorry the technician is out”.

Me: Well what am I supposed to do?

Manager: “I don’t know.”

Me: Should I come back later?

Manager: “I don’t know.”

Me: Well I’d like to get my laptop looked at…

Manager:  “I don’t know, why don’t you leave the laptop here?”.

Uh…so that you can lose it?

Me (stalling): “Well its probably the AC adapter”

Manager: “We would have to order that in, we don’t stock those”

Me: “Well somebody should probably look at it first, just in case it is something else”

Manager: “Well you could come by later and see if the technician is in”

Me: “You don’t know if they will be in?”

Manager: “No”

(Note: it is about two hours before they close, and I reside half an hour away from them)

I leave. Try calling again later. Finally get through the voicemail to the tech support extension. Nobody picks up, and the voicemail is full. I dial zero. Finally get somebody (they don’t identify themselves).

Me: “I’m trying to get through to the tech support people and nobody is picking up, and their voicemail is full…”

Somebody: “Oh. Well they’re there. I’ll go and make sure that they pick up. Hang on.”

On hold. Five minutes pass.

Somebody (I assume a technician) picks up. Their English is heavily accented. I don’t hold that against them. They don’t sound like they want to be talking to anyone. I do hold that against them.

Me: “I was here earlier today and the technician was out. I need to get a laptop looked at.”

Technician: “Oh.”

Me: “Well how should I go about this?”

Technician: “I don’t know”

Me: “Do I bring it in tomorrow?”

Technician: “I don’t know”

Me: “Well will somebody be in?”

Technician: “I don’t know”

Me: “So how do I get the laptop serviced?”

Technician: “I don’t know. Maybe bring it in?”

Me: “Is there a standard way that you work? How do I go about getting a laptop serviced?”

Technician: “I don’t know. Bye.”

They hang up.

I’m not sure whether these people actually want the business of servicing the laptop or not. I’m not sure whether they even service laptops. I don’t know how to go about getting their service or their attention. I don’t know how to get in touch with anyone there. I don’t know what their standard procedure is. I truly don’t know how they stay in business.