This Was A Comment

…but it’s too long

Thank goodness, Verizon Wireless actually lets you switch handsets using their website and the new handset exclusively, obviating any contact with their support staff. This way, it only takes 10 minutes instead of 70. Dave was not far off the average, in my experience, when it took him three tries to get his problem solved. I have to say, though, that Verizon is still my favorite company for tech support, because the most distant tier-1 staffer I have ever talked to was in Alabama. Even AT&T, despite even having “American” in their name, shunts me directly to Calcutta.

Here’s my advice (beyond doing as much as you can yourself) for dealing with tier-1 support at your telecom.

  1. Be friendly. You can more easily detect the spark of familiarity with yoru problem in your rep if he/she is more comfortable when talking to you. In fact, if you can get your rep to depart from the script, it will be easier for you to…
  2. Start hypothetical, and approach in concentric circles. Start by asking if you are talking to the right person to solve your problem before you even give any identifying information. In fact, until you are pretty sure that this rep will solve your problem, make sure they don’t have enough information to try, in order to better…
  3. Be prepared to abort your mission at any time. You may hit a wall, and when you do, you don’t want your rep in the middle of your file, with your information half-baked. Once you’re in that spot, you’re in for the long haul. You’re better off to…
  4. Try again in a few minutes, in order to get a new rep. It is probable that more than 30% of their reps are qualified to handle your specific problem (if it’s a complex problem), but I wouldn’t count on more than that. Even if your rep seems to have solved the problem, if he/she seems the least bit shaky on the details, you ought to…
  5. Check your rep’s work. Call back on the next day, and verify your account details. I once trusted a green Verizon Wireless rep to add a line to my account, and wound up with a $1,300 bill based on some pretty ridiculous misconfigurations of my account — every aspect of which I was very clear about, and went over multiple times with the rep. I nearly cancelled my Verizon account over that incident, but instead, I have taken the lesson. Last time I made any account changes, I went over each aspect of my plan about three times with two different employees in person, including a store manager. It took a long time, but at least my account is in proper order now.

It seems probable that if you’re pretty savvy, you’re more qualified in your specific problem domain than the rep is. The rep just knows more about the other side of the problem, or has the power to complete tasks you do not have the necessary access to complete. This has definitely been true for me on at least one recent occasion. I shall relate it!

When I call into AT&T for technical support for my DSL line — this last time, a well-meaning tech rep managed to disassociate my username and password from my phone number after transferring service from my old apartment to my new apartment — the IVR tree gives me many options about the type of problem, and the type of system I use. Unfortunately, when it asks me for my operating system, I am given the options of “Microsoft Windows” or “Macintosh OS X”. “Debian Linux” does not occur anywhere in that menu, so the poor Indian lady and I often get off to a rough start. This is when I learned the most important lesson of all of these: Predict The Script. I eventually got all of the information I needed from this poor rep, and we got my problem solved, once I disconnected my (Linux) router box and found a Windows laptop to plug into the DSL modem. The whole process would have taken quite a bit longer, and would have been less frustrating for my ironic guide, had I merely made consideration for the script, and first reduced the problem to one for which the script makes provision. Hope this helps.

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