Friday, January 13, 2006

Brilliant Idiocy in the Telecom Industry

I work in tech support for a major cable company and ISP, so be assured right off the bat that very little suprises me about the depth of human ignorance and stupidity. This evening, however, there was a breathrough of brilliant idocy hidden in a poorly worded news report.
You may have heard that today in florida a boy was shot after he had brought a pellet gun that was modifed to look like a 9mm Beretta, threatened another student, then locked himself in a bathroom. The absolute kicker came when the anchorperson said "a SWAT member shot the student after he pointed the gun at his neck and head area and threatened to commit suicide."


think about that a second.

In the ever-ornery words of my mother, "We didn't want him to be a continuing threat to himself or others, so we shot him." WOW!!!

Now as it turns out, most other sources have much better-worded accounts of the events, such as this article from KOCO, the local ABC affiliate.

Since I mentioned the whole tech support thing, I wanna give a few of my favorite examples, so here they are:

1. Woman shorted a cable in her self-install kit for digital cable:
spent 20 MINUTES explaing to her that she needed a cable to go from the digital cable box to her TV before she could get a picture. Actually broke it down 6 differnet ways, including
"You know an antanae has to have a wire from it to the TV?"
"Yes."
"think of the cable box as the antanae"
"ok"
"it needsa wire to go to your TV to get the signal there"
"you lost me"
Wow... more of the conversation:
"do you have a cable from the box to the TV?"
"yes"
"where is it attached to the cable box?"
"on the back"
"near the other srew-on connections?"
"no, the other side." (where the power cord is, since the box has an outlet"
"any other cables from the box to the TV?"
"no"
"there's our problem."
"where?"
then the long explainations. she just ran out of cables we gave her, so she figured she was done...

2. No internet connection:
"Hello, thank you for calling ************. My name is Jay. I can help you."
"Is the internet down?"
"Not that I am aware of, but I will be happy to check your area for any problems."
... verifies account info ...
"what do the lights on your modem look like?"
"That's just it, they aren't on, and you people are always having problems! I can never get online, because you are always down!"
"They're all off, even the power?"
"YES! I told you they're off! You are always down, and I have a business to run!"
"Can you check the power cord for me?"
pause...

Click.

Notes in account:
CPNI Y MR. CUST ED RE POWER MUST BE PLUGGED INTO MDM TO GET INTERNET

(cpni is customer proprietary network info, part of verifying account)
also, I am a residential tech. the Terms of Service agreement states it is to be used for recreational use only. We never enforce this, but it is a constant annoyance for us techs, since we are onna get it fixed as fast as we can, regardless of what you use it for. Another pet peeve, and instant button for "I don't want this guy to care if I get online/dial tone/clear picture any time soon" is the statement "I pay too much for this for it not work right!" which we hear at least 2-3 times on a good day.

3. Area-wide outage is annoyance for customer:
"Hello, thank you for calling ************. My name is Jay. I can help you."
"MY CABLE IS OUT AGAIN!!!"
"I am sorry you cable is out, but I'll be happy to help."
... verifies account info ...
"I don't show anything in the area yet, how long has your cable been out?"
"SIX MINUTES, AND THIS IS THE SECOND TIME THIS HAS HAPPENED!!!"
... I press the mute button, laugh out loud hysterically, then take a deep breath ...
"I see, when was the last time it was out?"
customer matter of factly states in a hateful tone "Eight months ago."
... luckily, the area registers as an outage at that point ...
"I see that it has registered as an area-wide problem now, and they are currently assigning a technician, it should be repaired soon."
"I want credit for time I am without my cable!!!"
... yeah, he said that ...

4. Customer upset we aren't psychic:
"Hello, (blah blah...)"
"My cable has had lines in it for 3 months now, and I am sick and tired of it! You people need to fix your picuture! I mean really, you'd think you would fix stuff faster than this! Why haven't you got it fixed yet?" (they usually rant more than this, but I don't feel like typing more...)
" ... apology ... "
" ... more ranting ... "
" ... verifies account ... "
"How many TVs do you have in the house?"
"3"
"Do the others have the same problem?"
quietly "I hadn't looked at them, hang on a second." (drops phone on something hard, which is DARN LOUD when you're wearing a powerful headset) "No, they're fine."
... set up trouble call (TC) for problem with one outlet ...

5. Customer gets PWNT by Power outage.
"hello, (blah blah blah)"
... no picture ...
"Is your TV on 3?"
"You fixed it! What did you do?!? You're a genius!"
nevermind....


I could go on for days, but it's late, and I'm bad at getting in bed....

-Jay