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
    redhammy, 2 Dec 2006 @ 4:52pm

    Great business owners on here

    Nice. Gotta love hearing ISP owners on here bash their customers for being too "stupid" to use their service. Do you have a website with instructions for getting the best service? A FAQ and some common dos and don'ts? Does your tech support staff educate callers or just fix their problem and not tell them how to prevent it.

    I used to work tech support for a small-town ISP and while there were certainly some customers who had no business using a computer, most of them just needed to have the situation explained to them once and they would rarely call back. Further, what most of my coworkers thought were "those stupid customers calling all the time" was really just a lot of new customers calling once.

    Change your attitude about your customers and they might just change their attitude about you.

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