So I come home from a trip today and realize that I have no dial tone on my home phone. I go online, but of course, it’s impossible to find a customer service number on the Verizon web site (somebody must have figured that it was too expensive in the last round of budget cuts). I finally do find a place to report the problem online…telling me that it only takes minutes to get someone on the case.
So I fill in all the information about the phone line that does not work, and just when I thought I was done with the trouble ticket the system asks me whether I checked the dial tone at the Network Interface Device (also known as NID). After clicking through a few help screens to help me understand what an NID is (and where to possibly find it), it tells me that I do not need to be a technician to figure this one out – I only need a screwdriver and an extra phone set to open that device up and test for an outside dial tone (this is called outsourcing customer service to the customer – aka let them do all the work! Might work for Amazon…but not Verizon.).
At any rate, after checking the NID and finding no outside dial tone, I conclude that the problem is not with my “inside wires” but with their outside line (remember… THEIR problem). As I finish the trouble ticket the system informs me that this will require the dispatch of a Verizon technician – and the earliest time that they can send someone out is this Friday anytime between 8am and 6pm. Wait a minute…I gotta stay home all day two days from now because their line into my house failed????
By now I am furious (and ready to chew up a live person), so I go back to looking for a number on their web site (its impossible that they don’t have a number I thought…there must be a number there somewhere). While looking I get a call from a Verizon machine to tell me that my ticket was opened successfully. It also gives me a number to call should the line come back on by itself. unfortunately I did not have a pen to write it down, and there was no way to replay the message…goodbye. So I go back on the web and finally find a number. I call that number only to be struggling with another automated doodah that asks me for all the same info. I keep asking for a representative until the system finally tells me to hold for a repair representative. I hold…only to get a fast busy tone after about 30 seconds of waiting!!!! I guess the system discovered that I was calling from a non-Verizon phone (my cell) and therefore should not have access to their expensive in-person support staff.
Contrast that to my Vonage experience a few months back. I had a poor line with Belgium and reported it. The representative called the number herself, made the necessary adjustments to the network (don’t ask me, that’s what she told me)and called me back immediately to let me know that my problem was fixed.
Time to short Verizon and buy Vonage…or Skype!