Wednesday, January 25

Custoemr Service Experiences

Greetings. In the past day, I've had some interesting customer service experiences. They started with the technician from Time Warner that came to my place yesterday morning to install the digital Cable and Internet service.

I suppose that I should have picked up on his reluctance to put the Cable in as a sign of things to come, but I didn't. He didn't want to put the Cable in because, for whatever reason, he would have to string the cable across the floor and didn't want to be held liable if I tripped. I understand this, but finally I told him, "Look man, you're giving me access to several hundred TV and digital channels. If I trip, its my fault. I'm not going to blame you." He then complied.

I think that there was something missing upstairs though with him, since after putting the cable together and getting the system up and running, he toyed with the remotes. I should say that I have an older TV, about 8 years old, so I have a remote for the TV and one for the Cable service. Anyway, this guy finally says that the system won't work since he can't change the volume with Time Warner's remote. I then explained to him that that was normal; that I had the same situation with Comcast when I was with them.

He then starts to put his stuff away and tells me what I owe him, but I quickly remind him that my Internet service isn't setup yet, and his response: "Oh yeah." So we go into my bedroom where my computer is setup. I told him several times that I use adaptive software on my computer that reads the screen to me, and that was what he heard talking from, if my computer were to talk. So he hooks up the Internet Cable modem (of which I have no idea where he put), and attempts to install the software and configure the connection. I'll skip some of this stuff for the sake of not boring the reader.

The last bit of frustrating contact with this tech, who obviously hasn't taken his Computer Programs 101 class, comes when we attempt to setup the email configuration. He tells me that I have to use the Road Runner site to check my email. I personally know quite a few blind people who are on Road Runner, and able to use email frequently, so I wasn't as concerned about this. I should also say that the Road Runner site has lots of unlabeled flash content on it, making it nearly impossible to use with JAWS. Anyway, this guy is telling me on which button to click, and I then attempt to explain what I want to do, of using the email through Outlook Express. Not an odd request. Apparently though, through further talk, this tech has never heard of this widely used email program, much less that its used for email. This is when I really labeled him a nerd in my mind. So we struggle with the Road Runner site for awhile and he even calls back to his supervisor, who instructs us to refresh the Road Runner page and that will make it work. At one point he tells me to open Outlook Express and type in a web address, to which I explained (hopelessly) that OE is an email program, not a web browser. I kid you not, his reply was something like, "oooooh." I finally turned to him and said, "See, this is why I want to use my email through Outlook Express; if I'm having this much trouble with the Road Runner site, then how am I going to use email?" And then, I asked him how he used email, and he said he uses web mail. That explains everything. Well, not everything; I'm still struggling with how this guy can be a daily technician, deal with people of lesser computer knowledge than me, and still not have even heard of Outlook Express, much less know what it does.

That was my first customer service experience. The other two are thankfully more positive. The second was when I called Road Runner with trouble setting up my settings in Outlook Express. This time, I got a very nice gentleman who was very patient and understanding; a model CS agent. Anyway, he walked me through various settings and had me send several test messages to myself. Finally, when reading an error message to him, I started laughing, and he said, "Uh-oh, whenever the customer laughs like that, I know that they have realized that they made the mistake. Is that right?" I answered that it was and he asked what the error was. I told him that I had misspelled the name of my own city, in my haste of writing the outgoing mail address. He said, "How did you spell it?" I answered, "A U N S T I N." To his credit, he laughed right along with me. He even said that he's had people ask him how to spell Houston.

The last experience I had was last night when I called Time Warner because my Cable wasn't working. I got a very nice woman, Sara, who was great about walking me through various steps. I told her right up front that I was blind, so couldn't help her with the visuals. She was super about telling me which buttons on the remote to press, such as, "... the one under the rectangular power button," and others. Finally, after nearly an hour, and some working on her computer, we got it back on and working. She also answered my questions about the Time Warner Cable system. I can't say enough about Sara and her abilities, especially since I was beginning to wonder if I would have to have another technician come out and fix my Cable, which probably wouldn't have been until Friday or Saturday, since those techs are never available the next day. Thankfully though, this didn't happen.

Its positive experiences, like with Sara and the Road Runner guy over the phone, that help me forget the bad ones, like the initial tech and his knowledge, or lack thereof. I still find myself coming back to the question of how he could not have heard of Outlook Express? Anyway, given that all of those happened in the first day of service, hopefully I'll be trouble free for awhile to come. Then again though, with my luck, I'll be calling someone this afternoon, :)

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