ISP Customer Service a Dead Art Form?

from the lets-hope-nobody-notices-our-screw-up dept

The e-mail and connection reliability of major ISPs frequently leaves plenty to be desired. MIA e-mail is most frequently thanks to botched spam fighting efforts, such as when Verizon customers suddenly stopped getting e-mail from outside the country. Or more recently when BellSouth's spam fighting system was so poorly implemented, people weren't getting any e-mail, forcing them to revert to their previous spam fighting solution. Huge outages thanks to network upgrades or transfers is also a concern, as many of the customers caught in the Adelphia, Comcast, and Time Warner cable switcharoo can attest.

PBS's Bob Cringely laments that there really are no consumer protections for these kinds of outages, and that ISPs are increasingly willing to bumble their way through botched network upgrades or capacity issues while hoping impacted customers don't notice. Users seem increasingly willing to click through mouse-print EULAs that leave them with no room to complain if their service stinks. One obvious solution would be to upgrade to a business line with some kind of reliability guarantee - but if the best solution is to upgrade to a more expensive business line, isn't this just encouraging ISPs to make their consumer lines worse and worse in order to convince everyone to upgrade?

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  1. identicon
    Jack Brown, 2 Dec 2006 @ 2:29pm

    Re: Now wait just one damn second...

    I disagree with a post that basically amounts to "it's the stupid users own fault".

    First, I am not clueless. I provide spam filtering and mail relay services (and firewall, and WAN, etc.) for a major outsource provider. The systems I personally manage only process about 4 million messages a month. Slight compared to major providers. So what.

    Users pay for email delivery. And email storage. And Internet access. And reasonably reliable service.

    The point is users PAY MONEY for a service. DELIVER or else. If it costs more to deliver than you thought, well maybe there are some cost issues - more likely I think management issues at that company.

    The expectation isn't that the ISP should feel free to drop service to customers at a whim- or as a result of crappy support or project planning at your company. Customer knowledge has nothing to do with that, something most help desk weenies always forget.

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