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Author Topic: Centurylink is on CracK  (Read 6388 times)
Stoic Joker
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« on: August 28, 2011, 02:25:09 PM »

So Friday night I get home from work, with a fully loaded to-do list of client updates only to find out that my internet connection is down.

Why was it down? Well, because CenturyLink (my ISP's current name) is on CracK. They had an unrequested/announced/wanted/needed update to do, and they plowed through the list of folks using 3rd party contractors that obviously know less about telco that my friggin dog does.

When the neighbors saw the black SUV, with out-of-state plates, magnetic signs, and a scruffy ragamuffin with shabby, baggy clothes, and his hat on back-wards prowling about our house. They ended up having a lengthy debate about strolling over to shoot his silly ass. I like my neighbors...

CenturyLink's "Tech Support", is the most pathetic bunch of Flowchart Reading Morons I have ever had the misfortune to be stuck on the phone with.

They new nothing of the system-wide update that was going on.
They completely ignored the information I gave them about the "Service Vehicle" that was there.
They made no attempt to even check if the line was active.
They insisted on resetting my router, even though the issue had nothing to do with the part of the config that gets reset.
They were incapable of grasping the incredibly basic concept of I've already tried a different router (I keep several spares) which -duplicating the results (x3...)- crystal clearly proves that there is nothing wrong with the fucking router.

After pissing an entire hour down the drain, I finally get kicked up to an "engineer" who after keeping me on hold for yet another half an hour ... admitted that:

There was an existing work order for my line...
They couldn't "see" me either. Even with the low level protocol tests that are supposed to identify my NID.

Well...Welcome to the land of Duh!!!

They offered to get someone out there sometime between 8am and 5pm the next day (Saturday). Great... Way to narrow it down. Now I get to sit here with my thumb up my ass all freaking day waiting for who knows what.


Thankfully the guys that showed up (at damn near 5...) were actually good at what they did. They were also quite helpful. And fought tooth and nail with the idiots at the main office who wanted to put it off until Monday...Because some paperwork hadn't quite cleared yet. Paperwork?!? Oh hell no...

The pair I'm on was not connected to anything at the CO. Hm... and that didn't throw up a flag why??

They had to give me a new IP Address, because apparently they'd misplaced mine (And nobody there is apparently capable of understanding WTF STATIC Means...).

The first new IP Address they gave me wasn't even in the same range, as the hardware I was connected to... (e.g. it worked, not.)

An hour and a half later, the tech finally managed to wrangle an IP that would actually work out of someone at the main office. But this was only after he at one point, point blank told the brain dead drone on the other end of the line that he was in fear of his life if he tried to leave the location with the connection still down. Now mind you I'd made no threats of any kind. He was simply doing whatever he had to to get a proper reaction out of the dead space on the other end of the line. And is seems that it does indeed truly require a confirm-able life & death emergency to get one of these dip-shits up off there lazy retarded asses to go find a god damn supervisor.


So... If anyone is ever wondering why I have such a "harsh" attitude towards large corporations... (see above) cheesy


The two guys that came to the house Saturday, deserve a raise. The rest of the company should be immediately sterilized in defense of the gene pool.
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Ath
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« Reply #1 on: August 28, 2011, 02:39:17 PM »

You frightened me with this story, Stoic ohmy

Glad it got solved, but isn't this one of those reasons to switch to another ISP, with real technicians in the office, who actually know what they are doing? If even the field techs are acting like this to their 'colleagues', there's not much hope for the rest of that company Sad
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nudone
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« Reply #2 on: August 28, 2011, 02:44:04 PM »

What a nightmare. But an entertaining read.
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40hz
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« Reply #3 on: August 28, 2011, 03:17:56 PM »

Flowcharters!!!  Angry "Step one. Then step 2. Don't ever think - just do."

Last time I dealt with someone like that they brushed what I was telling them aside, netted in, and then proceeded to remotely "brick" my client's main data switch. ("Yes Rashmi - ALL the friggin' panel lights are simultaneously blinking on and off - and NO, holding in the reset button and cycling power isn't fixing it. C'mon! We've already done this five times in a row....What?... What's that?..."We" need to try doing it one more time just to be sure?  Ok...)

Good thing (for them) it happened after business hours on a Friday.

« Last Edit: August 28, 2011, 03:34:10 PM by 40hz » Logged

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steeladept
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« Reply #4 on: August 28, 2011, 03:31:10 PM »

I, unfortunately, have been on all sides of that situation from my employer alone.  The "flowcharters" often get fired if they don't prove they went through everything regardless of how idiotic it is - which is rediculous, but true.  The smartest of them tell you that even though even that *can* get them fired and go through it anyway (often, these same guys and girls will skip a few steps ahead to at least save some of the time in the known futile effort).  From the tech support side - well - lets just say it really helps to have friends in the right places to bypass the crap.  And in the customer's seat - complain like a CEO over the littlest things about the entire experience.  Explain it in long winded detail to a manager who is REQUIRED to listen to your complaint.  The longer the better.  As they get bored with the explaination, don't let up...Remember, they HAVE TO listen to the full complaint - it is their job.  It doesn't fix the situation, but it does get you tagged for special consideration so they don't have to listen to it ever again.  Remember, the squeeky wheel gets the grease, and in large enterprises, like everything else this is in triplicate.  Sqeek louder, longer, and no one will want to deal with you.  If they don't want to deal with you, they take special care to make sure they don't have to.  Otherwise they don't care.  Me, I prefer to just switch to smaller companies that actually care when I have the choice.

In general, I have found Telecommunications Companies to be right behind the Entertainment industry when it comes to poor customer service.  That said, there are some good ones and they are almost exclusively regional or smaller that actually have to compete for business.
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Renegade
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« Reply #5 on: August 28, 2011, 08:18:11 PM »

The two guys that came to the house Saturday, deserve a raise. The rest of the company should be immediately sterilized in defense of the gene pool.

Hahahaa~! smiley

Sorry to hear about your nightmare, but you have a great way of ranting that is very entertaining~! Grin

(I love the sterilization bit!)
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« Reply #6 on: August 29, 2011, 02:17:36 AM »

Something seems to go wrong once a company goes above a certain size. The system takes over. The system likes process, reports, predictable repeatable jobs, interchangeable people, monocultures, single task silos, metrics and, most of all, control, control, control. None of this is necessarily bad, we need some (except for silos and monoculture), but somehow once the system takes over it gets in the way of getting things done, or enjoying doing them.

The tech support is a case in point: not enough engineers so companies put people in front to protect their time, so they don't become a bottleneck. Except the people in front often become more of a bottleneck and create more work for the engineers, if they are not trained and empowered and if the engineers are prevented from dealing directly with customers...

Hope you told these two techs how much you appreciated what they'd done - and if you can put your politically correct hat on for a bit you might want to send the company a short letter of commendation for them sorting out what seems to have been a "complex layered situation of multiple failures and defects" which they had to work through  Wink
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Ath
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« Reply #7 on: August 29, 2011, 05:28:07 AM »

It's called 'un-skilled servicedesk' for a reason Wink
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Stoic Joker
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« Reply #8 on: August 29, 2011, 06:38:02 AM »

Hope you told these two techs how much you appreciated what they'd done - and if you can put your politically correct hat on for a bit you might want to send the company a short letter of commendation for them sorting out what seems to have been a "complex layered situation of multiple failures and defects" which they had to work through

Yes, and actually they were also kind enough to give me the number for a supervisor that I'll be contacting later today. Apparently they're rather tired of cleaning up this clowns messes and want rid of him too.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

For the rest, glad you found it entertaining. smiley
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Stephen66515
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« Reply #9 on: August 29, 2011, 12:23:45 PM »

Quote
point blank told the brain dead drone on the other end of the line that he was in fear of his life if he tried to leave the location with the connection still down.

 Grin Grin
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« Reply #10 on: August 29, 2011, 01:04:38 PM »

I have faced tech-support hell with pretty much every large company I've dealt with. My mobile operator (Vodafone) makes it almost impossible to speak to a person. And they even have the ability to shitlist your number so the system just hangs up on you, regardless of how unsuccessful they have been at solving the issue.

There's something inherently f***ed up about the modern tech support system and I usually end up dealing with a series of retards, each of whom needs to be told about my woes from scratch, with a chapter added everytime about my dealings with (current_retard - 1). I eventually end up getting a split personality, one part fantasizes about beating people to a pulp with a blunt instrument and the other tries to invoke some sanity and rationalizes that it's just low paid mouth-breathers trying to make a living and whatever the issue, it's not worth getting a stroke over.
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steeladept
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« Reply #11 on: August 29, 2011, 04:26:14 PM »

I eventually end up getting a split personality, one part fantasizes about beating people to a pulp with a blunt instrument and the other tries to invoke some sanity and rationalizes that it's just low paid mouth-breathers trying to make a living and whatever the issue, it's not worth getting a stroke over.
Nice way to sum it up.  The first half you can't help, the second half is probably closer to the truth of the matter.  Problem is, it doesn't make it any easier to deal with.
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« Reply #12 on: August 29, 2011, 05:46:35 PM »

Vodafone support is irritating for sure. "Your call is important to us, please stay on the line."  tongue
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« Reply #13 on: August 29, 2011, 07:23:04 PM »

Vodafone support is irritating for sure. "Your call is important to us, please stay on the line."  tongue

Try being on the phone to Virgin Media...Fur Elise...in Monotone (Like those ring-tones you got on phones 15 years ago lol)
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« Reply #14 on: August 29, 2011, 07:36:11 PM »

I suspect that the nature of the majority of the Level 1 (first point of contact) work in customer HelpDesk/TechSupport in telcos is probably so mind-numbingly boring that the people who really could/do have the capability or technical savvy or know-how cannot put up with it for long, or are moved to Level 2 or Level 3 support before they leave. If you looked at Level 1 staff turnover statistics you would probably find that it was 20-30% per annum. So the average level of knowledge and expertise in anyone answering your customer call will likely be very low. Word gets around, and it becomes increasingly difficult to recruit people into such jobs.

If you are responsible for providing such a customer service, then what do you do under those circumstances? Well, typically, what seems to happen is that you try and automate the queue management as much as possible, because you only have (say) 3 or 4 human customer reps dealing with live customer calls. (You simply can't afford to pay to have an army of capable people available all the time, who would be sitting on their thumbs most of that time with nothing to do.) Hence those long waiting-times with softly-spoken assurances that "Your call is important to us. All of our customer support people [all 4!] are busy right now [they are!]. Please continue to hold the line and one of them will be with you soon [if you're lucky!]. Thankyou."

Sure, your call might be important, but it's not likely to be that important, is it? How could it be for the peanuts you are paying for your telephone service in what is a cutthroat business? It would be important as all hell if there was revenue/profit in handling your call, but there isn't, so it isn't.

I have worked on setting up and streamlining/operating similar call centres for clients (coincidentally, one of them was Vodafone), and I have every sympathy for all the parties involved regarding the difficulties and stresses that they face. Call centres are a real loss-maker, eroding a telco's potential profits. For this reason alone, I can fully understand why call centres are outsourced to India or to some other third-world country where you employ people for absolute peanuts if they can speak/read a bit of English and can be trained to follow a script. You can rest assured that, if a chimpanzee could do it, then chimpanzees would be employed (and for real peanuts too). All they have to do is work through the script (flowchart) for each call. The training these people are given (and the work they are paid to do) is to never deviate from the script, and never whatever they do, employ any thinking.

Generally speaking, if customers are getting annoyed because their calls are not being well-handled, then it's not the people in the call centres who are idiots or incompetent (though they might be so or might seem so if they are poorly trained for the work they have to do), it's the management of the call centers who are negligent/idiots/incompetent - because they have not implemented a better process. In my experience, most such processes tend to have a grossly unexplored potential for dramatic  improvement.
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steeladept
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« Reply #15 on: August 29, 2011, 07:49:55 PM »

Well said complement to exactly what I was pointing out in my first post here.  The "brain-dead" are not necessarily as brain-dead as they seem, it is just "I have to follow this script or I loose my job.  I don't care who you are, you are not worth my job as horrible as it is, because I still need to put food on my table."  Most with any talent usually do move rather quickly to other positions leaving the talentless or new hires behind, making it even worse for the end user.  But since companies do see it as a cost-center, and an expensive and profit draining one at that, they will never improve it until/unless people become willing to pay the additional expense for better service.  Indeed, HP for one, has a special group for paid tech support completely independent of the standard tech support.  You pay an additional fee and they give you the equivalent of a bypass level 1 & go directly to level 2 phone number.  I am sure there are others out there, but who, besides fairly large or grossly profitable companies can afford that?
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« Reply #16 on: August 29, 2011, 10:56:59 PM »

Vodafone support is irritating for sure. "Your call is important to us, please stay on the line."  tongue

Try being on the phone to Virgin Media...Fur Elise...in Monotone (Like those ring-tones you got on phones 15 years ago lol)

Virgin Mobile is just as bad in the US; they play horrible music that forces you to pull the phone from your head to avoid bashing it into the nearest sharp object, the CS reps are all non-US native and speak Engrish wonderfully, and half the time have no idea WTF you are talking about or what you want, no matter how clear and concisely you repeat it, or how many times. And if they do tell you they understand, it often takes multiple callbacks to actually get the steps they outlined to you completed, as they seem to tell you they will do things and then just hang up and, I would assume, laugh hysterically and scratch themselves until the next call connects.

EDIT: Oh, and they have this automated system, whom refers to himself as Alex. He's just as useless as the actual, theoretical humans you converse with after the aforementioned hold music. And there is no way to negate "talking" to him. Ugh.
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steeladept
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« Reply #17 on: August 29, 2011, 11:17:25 PM »

Hmmm....That is the first bad thing I have heard about Virgin Mobile.  When my contract comes up with AT&T, I was debating between VM and VW (Verizon).  Verizon, I know what I am getting, but Virgin Mobile I have heard a lot of good things about and they use a CDMA network (leased from Verizon I think, but I don't know that).  I always had horrible luck with Sprint, but I keep being told they have gotten a lot better in the last 10 years since I had to deal with them, so they are another possibility - though very slight.
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« Reply #18 on: August 30, 2011, 12:42:21 AM »

I love VM for the cheap and reliable cell coverage, but the CS just blows. The day I activated my Intercept (their initial Android phone) I had no data service. "We 'reset' your plan, wait 4 hours" - 6 hours later, no data. Repeat call resulted in repeat "solution" (of course). I had no issues going from the Intercept to the Triumph, however I gave the Intercept to a friend whom is still getting Voicemail notifications for me, even though the number was ported. I'm worried that when we activate the Intercept for him that problems will arise. undecided

I'd still recommend them, though. Good service, good prices, just attempt to solve issues on your own.
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« Reply #19 on: August 30, 2011, 03:32:33 AM »

Technically, it's the system at fault. However, when one factors in other human traits like laziness and not-giving-a-fcuk there's more to it.

My rant on a local forum from May, 2011

Follow up post:


« Last Edit: August 30, 2011, 03:53:41 AM by nosh » Logged
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« Reply #20 on: August 30, 2011, 04:52:46 AM »

Large part of the problem has to be people's (understandable considering financial situation) obsession with getting the cheapest deal possible. So the first thing that gets cut is proper support, leading to the servicewüste (service wasteland).


edit/ that's not directed at anyone here - but a comment on how the system is working, crap wages, >crap discount stores, >crap service(s) but a very big government bureaucracy, now I'm ranting lol :p
« Last Edit: August 30, 2011, 04:59:27 AM by tomos » Logged

Tom
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« Reply #21 on: August 30, 2011, 07:02:18 AM »

Well said complement to exactly what I was pointing out in my first post here.  The "brain-dead" are not necessarily as brain-dead as they seem, it is just "I have to follow this script or I loose my job.  I don't care who you are, you are not worth my job as horrible as it is, because I still need to put food on my table."

Fair point, however... When internal support policy clearly states that anyone with a static address account should be immediately kicked up to second level tech support ... and. you. don't... Brain~Death.

When the customer clearly states they they are using a piece of equipment that isn't on your Flow-Chart (see above...), and this doesn't give you pause to go find a supervisor before blindly forging forth in the hopes that something magical will happen... Brain~Death.

When you are arguing with one of your own network engineers. Who is actually at the location in question. Over paper-work... Brain~Death.



I frequently have to take support calls for our company, and it has never taken more than about a minute to assess the skill level of the person on the other end of the phone. It's really not that complicated, and simply involves paying attention to how a person describes their issue. Did they call the box with all the wires sticking out of it, a router, or a thingy? Etc., etc., etc.

The only skill that really requires is giving a shit ... Which is apparently quite rare in the support biz these days.
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« Reply #22 on: August 31, 2011, 02:28:50 PM »

Well said complement to exactly what I was pointing out in my first post here.  The "brain-dead" are not necessarily as brain-dead as they seem, it is just "I have to follow this script or I loose my job.  I don't care who you are, you are not worth my job as horrible as it is, because I still need to put food on my table."

Fair point, however... When internal support policy clearly states that anyone with a static address account should be immediately kicked up to second level tech support ... and. you. don't... Brain~Death.

When
Well said complement to exactly what I was pointing out in my first post here.  The "brain-dead" are not necessarily as brain-dead as they seem, it is just "I have to follow this script or I loose my job.  I don't care who you are, you are not worth my job as horrible as it is, because I still need to put food on my table."

Fair point, however... When internal support policy clearly states that anyone with a static address account should be immediately kicked up to second level tech support ... and. you. don't... Brain~Death.

When the customer clearly states they they are using a piece of equipment that isn't on your Flow-Chart (see above...), and this doesn't give you pause to go find a supervisor before blindly forging forth in the hopes that something magical will happen... Brain~Death.

When you are arguing with one of your own network engineers. Who is actually at the location in question. Over paper-work... Brain~Death.



I frequently have to take support calls for our company, and it has never taken more than about a minute to assess the skill level of the person on the other end of the phone. It's really not that complicated, and simply involves paying attention to how a person describes their issue. Did they call the box with all the wires sticking out of it, a router, or a thingy? Etc., etc., etc.

The only skill that really requires is giving a shit ... Which is apparently quite rare in the support biz these days.

Hi Stoic Joker,

This is Joey with CenturyLink.  I'm sorrry to read about the trouble you've had with your service.  We would certainly be happy to look into this issue for you.  Can you email us at TalkToUs@CenturyLink.com with your name, account information and reference your post here on donationcoder.com?  Thanks.

Joey H
Manager, @CenturyLinkHelp Team
TalkToUs@CenturyLink.com
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Stephen66515
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« Reply #23 on: August 31, 2011, 02:37:03 PM »

CenturyLinkHelp, Welcome to DonationCoder, don't take this the wrong way, but I'm going to extract your part of that message, as it seems to have got lost in the Quote Box smiley (See Below)

-----------------------

Quote
Hi Stoic Joker,

This is Joey with CenturyLink.  I'm sorrry to read about the trouble you've had with your service.  We would certainly be happy to look into this issue for you.  Can you email us at TalkToUs@CenturyLink.com with your name, account information and reference your post here on donationcoder.com?  Thanks.

Joey H
Manager, @CenturyLinkHelp Team
TalkToUs@CenturyLink.com
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« Reply #24 on: September 01, 2011, 03:39:17 PM »




Hmm...

Shibboleet.

Make a note of it.

Just in case it really isn't a joke.  Grin
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