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
    Luci, 3 Dec 2006 @ 12:34pm

    Re: Re: Now wait just one damn second...

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

    Actually, users are paying for connectivity. Email and instant messaging are extras. MOST ISPs are not content providers, and whichever way you slice it? Email is content. I have worked the costumer service side of things (hurrah for AT&T broadband -- yes, sarcasm), and when the service agreement states that you need to NOT store your mail on the server, and you do and lose it, when does it become the company's fault?

    In almost 3 years I had TWO customers ask me how to archive their mail because it was so important to them. In contrast I have had dozens scream at me that they lost their email, and it was bloody important, and it's my fault it's gone.

    Do I feel bad about poor customer service? Yes, because that is the responsibility of the company. Do I feel bad about customers who have the 'GimmieGimmieI'mMoreImportantThanAnything' syndrome? Not a chance, and this is at least 90% of the calls a service center gets.

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