I spent a good bit of yesterday calling carriers to obtain updates on the 14-hour BlackBerry email service outage.
There were some bright points, but all in all I was not pleased with the information flow and presentation.
First, let us discuss how each major U.S.-based BlackBerry carrier conveyed this data when I called them.
T-Mobile and SprintNextel did best. As soon as I called the T-Mobile trouble line, I was greeted with a newly updated recording. Same when I called "611" from my Nextel BlackBerry.
Verizon Wireless' performance was less than stellar. That's because I was routed around in their voice mail jail. I might have obtained outage info sooner if I was a Verizon subscriber, but that is not my point. The direct tech number from the outside is not indicated on the Verizon site. What if it was the voice service that was down, and I needed to call Verizon tech support from a landline or another cell?
Cingular-AT&T's was even worse. I called tech support and the lady who answered hadn't even heard of the outage. The outage was already more than 10 hours old. I asked her to search for trouble tickets- and lo and behold- there were buckets of them.
I'm stubborn enough to think that when you have a service emergency that affects millions, you arm just about all your customer service reps with this info? Desktop advisory to each workstation would have helped.
But you know what frustrated me just as equally? Lack of outage info on any of the aforementioned carrier's websites. It's funny- when you call carrier customer support, or even tech support and get placed on hold, the message invites you to check out the carrier site. But when you get to the carrier site, fast-breaking info is either not available or is buried several clicks deep. And try to find a relevant tech support phone number. If you're lucky it will be on the Contact Us page. But why not put up that contact info within an outage report bulletin on your home page?
And don't even get me started about BlackBerry tech support. Yes, there was a recording and even a few email updates, but nothing on the site about the status of the update and when things were projected to be back to normal.
Update: Reports are still coming in from some users who are experiencing BlackBerry Web-browsing issues. But are the carriers or BlackBerry supplying status updates for status fixes?