David Strom is one of those relatively rare, prominent tech journalists who has the scientific credentials to further inform his work. Not only does David hold an M.S. in Operations Research from Stanford, he's written about networking and related technologies for 20 years. Among his many credits, he started Network Computing magazine, and until early this year, was the top editor at Tom's Hardware Guide.
So when it comes to telecom service sand traps, you don't find David there too often.
Knowing David and his CV made me give one of his newly posted Web Informant blog articles an extra read. The piece, entitled Which has worse customer service, Adelphia or Verizon?, reads like the customer service chamber of horrors that it sounds like.
After noting that he wanted to switch from Adelphia's cable Internet service because it lacked a "decent Internet dial tone," David then describes the hassles he encountered getting set up with Verizon's DSL service.
I'll highlight the low points. David:
Places an order for Verizon voice and DSL service from the Verizon website.
Noting the service would be for an older apartment building with funky wiring, he asks for a tech to come out and oversee the installation process. "I needed that tech to come visit with his tone set and get things connected from the wiring closet downstairs," David writes.
Gets an order-confirmation email from Verizon, noting they would come out the next day.
Reads through the order, but doesn't see his new phone number.
Receives an order confirmation the next day via UPS, with his new phone number indicated in the documentation.
Attempts to sign on, gets "our records indicate the account you entered is no longer in service."
Calls the business office and asks for an on-site technician again. Two days pass, no techie comes.
Calls Verizon tech support, who dispatches a tech the same day.
Tech gets a dialtone for regular service, but the DSL part of the order is held up.
Goes online, and gets a notification that "due to a system malfunction," your order is not yet complete.
While the tech is installing the regular dialtone, David speaks to someone at Verizon tech support and is told that he (David) will have to go thru the whole DSL order service again. "Incredible! Do they want my business," David writes.
Goes back on line, but now the Verizon web site indicates his DSL is already a feature on his voice line and he can't reorder it again.
Tells his techie this, who then implies that the Verizon DSL folks are a bunch of losers.
Fed up, David orders DSL from Earthlink.
"And the funny thing is, when I go to Verizon’s Web site and key in this number, I still get the 'account is no longer in service' message," David writes.
"Maybe one of these days Verizon will finally figure out how to really use this new-fangled Web-thingie."
Classic case of Verizon's Web-based customer service having a house full of ghosts in the machine, don'tcha think?
Or more inelegantly put, Verizon, here's a piece of advice for you that starts with the letters, "Fu."