Monday, October 25, 2010

Verizon's Still Got a Few Kinks to Work Out of FiOS

Ok, first, let me start by saying that when Cox advertises saying that their customer service is better than that for Verizon FiOS, this is not just marketing, it's verifiable fact. I had Cox as my video and internet provider for several years. So, I had several occasions on which I had to call them. I've now had Verizon for a little over eight months and I've called them more than I called Cox over the entire multi-year period I had their service.

Each time I called Cox, I was able to quickly navigate their call-tree and get a human on the line within a matter of a few minutes. Each time I've called Verizon, it takes at least ten minutes to get through their damned call-tree, and then you wait another 10-30 minutes just to get to speak to the first human in the chain you inevitably have to talk to.

Notice that I say first human. Each time I've called Verizon, I speak to a minimum of two people. Worse, with each hand-off, I have to go through the whole drill of "no, I don't have Verizon phone service" and provide alternate identifying information so they can find my record. Now, why, when they transfer you, the next CSR doesn't have all your info come up on their screen as part of the transfer process is beyond me. With Cox, I generally had a warm hand-off; on those occasions where I didn't, the next representative at least had all my info already on their screen.

Now, I was calling this time because, when I went to turn on tonight's Flyers game, I was met with the "you don't subscribe to this service" screen (and told to call their 800 number to change that). So, I called in. It took just shy of ten minutes to navigate their call-tree just to get to the point that I could be put in a hold-queue. I then spent just shy of fifteen minutes waiting for the first CSR. He got on the phone and we did the whole "find the account" dance. He locates my account and informs me, "that programming option's not on your plan. Does your set-top box not offer you the option of adding it?". I reply, "no, otherwise I'd not have called in." At which point, I'm informed that I'll have to speak to someone in their subscription/add-on services group and that I should, "please hold".

Another six-plus minutes passes on hold. As expected, the CSR that answers has us go through the whole no Verizon phone service dance. Ugh. He finds my account and then looks through it. Apparently, last winter, when I got my FiOS service, it was already at the halfway point of the season. My NHL Center Ice package only for the second half of the season. That half-season package was set to auto-renew in January. I start to laugh at how awfully moronic that was. I then ask him to go ahead and try to get the full-season package added and the half-season auto-renewal removed. It takes him another four minutes to navigate his computer systems (why is it every time I call a CSR organization, they always say "sorry, my computer's being slow"?). He gets the change sorted out. Unfortunately, it will take a minimum of 20 minutes for the change to show up on my set top box, and might even take until midnight for the change to take effect (depending on my market).

Whatever. I was already 40+ minutes into missing the game I wanted to see. Judging by the Flyers' web site, I wasn't really missing a game I wanted to see (they were losing 2-0 to the Columbus Blue Jackets by this point). Maybe, by the time I next tune into NHL Center Ice, it will be up and running on my set top box and will be showing a game I'll be more happy to see.

So, uh, Verizon: you get yet another big, fat "F-" for this customer experience (as you did for the four, prior incidents). And, that's an "F-" by way of comparison to Cox, who isn't exactly known for being top of the heap for customer service.

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