Tuesday, July 8, 2008

News Alert! "Tech Support" Faces Downward Spiral

When something doesn’t perform as expected, what should you do? Do you unceremoniously toss it away, all the while muttering about the demise of quality merchandise in today’s society…or do you take the time and the energy to research, investigate and ultimately try and solve the issue that’s causing said performance to break down in the first place?

I can almost hear your groans...your distracted, mumbled “Oh, God….what’s broken now?”…am I right?

Well. It turns out that my internet-connection-issue goes a tad deeper than I’d originally thought. You see, I’ve been having this problem with my phone. We’re a member of the “Optimum Family of Services”:

…meaning we have our telephone, internet and cable all coming in through one central line. (Oh, what I wouldn't give to be the marketing exec that created that witty, yet painfully simplistic tag line: “It’s Optimum, or it’s not.” How much do you think he got paid for that line anyway? And what does that mean, exactly??) This is a great deal for the first year, when Cablevision offers a multitude of discounts and teaser introductory rates…and it basically means next to nothing after that. Status quo…although they do offer a decent amount of customer service to try and keep you from jumping ship and heading over to Verizon:





…who’s presently offering their own myriad of incentives if you defect to their
“Family of Services”.

Potato, Po-tah-to...

Anyway, lately my phone’s begun a downward spiral where periodically, it’ll simply cut out.
It does this just often enough to be extremely annoying and unsettling to the owner of this stellar phone service (that would be ME), but not often enough where it could be tracked and subsequently fixed. Add to this the fact that it doesn’t cut out on both ends (I mean, Heaven-forbid…), but only on the other end…I can hear the person just fine.

So, I get differing reactions depending on who I’m on the phone with at the time:

Tonia: “Kathryn? Kathryn? Are you there? HEL-LO? Where did you GO? Helllll-ooooo????”
Dad: “Hello? Well. Fine….if you’re mad at me….no need to just stop talking to me. Da nerve!”

Meanwhile, I’m yelling into the phone: “I’M HERE! CAN’T YOU HEAR ME? HELLO?!?
ADRIENNNNNNNNNNEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”


(Okay, so maybe just a tad dramatic)

Then the party to whom I am speaking


promptly hangs up…so I hang up…and when I re-connect, I inevitably have no dial tone. I’ve got a big, fat…nothing…just dead air….zero…zip…nada.


If I wait five minutes and try to re-connect, I’ll hear a series of three tones: low, medium then higher…and you would expect to hear a recorded announcement “The number you are dialing…(it doesn’t matter what number it is)…is not going through and no amount of cursing, pleading or cajoling will change this. Please check the number, then re-check the number, then research the number. None of this will matter in the end, though…as it’s still not going through. Now, which would you prefer? Dead air….or this message?? It’s your choice…makes no difference to me….whatever.” Click.

Today, I finally put two and two together and realized that my losing the internet is DIRECTLY RELATED to my losing the phone service! (An “AHA!!!” moment, if ever I had one)

So, I called Cablevision and got tech support. A guy by the name of “Joe”.
I’m imagining he looks similar to this:

Conversation follows:

Joe: “How may I help you today?”
Kathryn: “My calls? They’re like….cutting out. But, only on THEIR end. I can hear them just fine. Now, I think my internet’s gotten mixed up with it. Can you help?”
J: “Uh. Well. Sorry to hear you’re having a problem. So…..what did you say the problem was?”
K: “Geez. Phone cuts out, internet follows. Don’t know about the teevee, ‘cause I’m not watching. It’s intermittent. Help.” (I’m not giving him my full attention, as I’m trying to write and not completely lose my train of thought.)
J: “Are you calling me from your cell?”
K: “Nope….land line’s working…for the moment, anyway.”
J: “Huh. Well, what’s your cell #? In case we get cut off…”
K: “You don’t have much faith in your service, now do you?” (I’ve obviously finished typing that thought.) (Gives cell #)
J: “Okey-dokey. You’ve offered me a virtual plethora of information, here…and this will benefit us in getting to the root of the problem.”
K: (Thinks) “Did I just hear him say ‘plethora’? Is this guy for real?”
J: “I could put through a work order requesting a technician to come out….”
K: “Great!”
J: “But—that would probably wind up costing you some bucks…..”
K: “Never mind, then.”
J: “Do you have a cordless phone?”
K: “Uh. Yeah. Does anyone NOT have a cordless phone?”
J: “Well, it might be operating on the same frequency as your modem or operating at the same flight capacity as your noodle-to-Disney-Pixar-ratio in your wireless router.”
K: “Uh.”
J: “Look on the box for the router. Read me the number in the corner that ends with ‘mhz’. Now find the ‘mhz’ number for your phone and compare them. Are they the same?”
K: “Um. What? Let’s go back to the part about the guy coming out?”
J: “No, now…we can do this. Read me the numbers….”
K: (Finds and somehow conveys the correct information…we may never know how….)
J: “Okay! Well, it’s not that.”
K: “What now?”
J: “Well, I think you need to swap out all your splitters for new ones. There’s no charge for this and they can be picked up at any one of our convenient locations. If it’s not that, you may need to re-route your phone line, or send the infusium module into the centrifuge for reconditioning.”
K: “Oh.”
J: “It shouldn’t be the modem just yet…as our pre-programmed itty-bitty time-bomb isn’t due to go off for another year or so…..”
K: “Uh. What?”
J: (Sighs) "Please hold...."
(God-awful Muzak comes on...Kathryn begins singing "Sweet love showing us a heavenly light...I've never seen such a beautiful sight"...unconciously tapping her foot to the beat)
(Click.) J: "How’s tomorrow? I can send someone out tomorrow. No charge…”
K: (Smiles) “Tomorrow’s good.”

Joyce said...

Right on, Kathryn. Sounds like every other tech support I've had to deal with. Some time ago I had shattered my knee and broken my dominant hand and was trying to get phone help for my Dell Computer for which I had paid mucho dollars for an "extended" warranty. They also didn't want to come out ... had me lying on the floor with all my injuries, totally not comprehending my physical and mental state - of course, none of this worked, and they had to come out but I couldn't answer the door because I couldn't get up off the floor!!!!

Kathryn said...

Wait. So you've shattered your knee and broken your hand whilst, what? Were you juggling the computer and the monitor? I can't believe you had major injuries and still had the presence of mind to phone Dell's tech support! I gotta say...that would NOT have been in my top 5 phone calls to make...did you want them to set you up with voice recognition, 'cause you couldn't type? Now THAT I can relate to!

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