I’m like a bird

It’s 4:53 p.m. on a Wednesday, and I should be hard at work helping my colleagues at YANKEE make their website better.

But I can’t, because Island Tel’s Internet network is cut off from the rest of the world for the second time in as many days.

To their credit, it’s been a long time since there’s been any problems with my Internet service. I would have hoped that they would have been using this happy fallow period to work hard at improving their customer service in the event of an outage like this.

I was wrong.

Here’s how things have progressed over the last 15 minutes:

Upon noticing the problem, I phoned the Island Tel Advanced Solutions Help Desk. The call was answered on the first ring but, alas, I was informed that the number was no longer the number for the Help Desk and given a 1-888 number to call instead.

So I called this new number — 888-796-1825 — and a robot answered the phone and told me to “press 1 for network status.” So I did. And was told that “1 is not a valid option.” I tried again, just to be sure. No luck. So I pressed “3” for technical support and was told that all representatives were busy, but that my call was important to them and I should hold.

I held for a while, but no actual person being in evidence, I hung up and phoned another number — 800-773-2121 — which, oddly enough, appears to lead to a parallel help desk with a completely different set of options (but, alas, no “network status” option).

I selected the option for high-speed technical support, and this is where I’ve been parked for the last 8 minutes, listening to bizarre abbreviated versions of songs by the Nelly Furtado, Jann Arden, Jimmy Rankin, and kd lang. (Really: for some reason the “hold music” consists entirely of 60 second clips of pop music songs — just as things are getting good, they stop one song and cut over to another. Do they think we have short attention span, or is this simply a way of avoiding SOCAN fees?)

Now Lord knows I would never suggest that an ISP like Island Tel would be expected to offer 100% uptime — I probably couldn’t afford their services if they did. The question is not “can you be perfect?” but rather “how do you react when the inevitable problems that will occur, do?”

Wouldn’t it be an excellent business idea to use your own technical support line as a showcase for your telephony prowess rather than offering embarassingly long hold times and 60 second music clips?

I’m into 18 minutes on hold now, and the music’s wrapped around entirely, so I’ve heard the Nelly Furtado wrap around again.

Hey, the network just came back! I can’t stay on hold any longer — too much Jann Arden. I know I’ll never find out the cause of the outage. I’m out 1/2 an hour’s work, and 2 or 3 hours worth of concentration is shot. Sigh.


Andrew Chisholm's picture
Andrew Chisholm on December 12, 2002 - 14:18 Permalink

Islandtelecom has such bad tech support. A few months back I was not getting a response from their pop server. After a 1/2 hour of waiting for the server to fix itself I decided to call their tech support. Lets just say after being on hold for an hour and hearing that sound loop 10 times, I decided to hang up and let the problem resolve itself.

On another note, Tuesday night a lady claiming to work for Islandtel called me to do a survey on how well I would rate their over all internet tech support. I have fun with that.

Craig Willson's picture
Craig Willson on December 13, 2002 - 00:50 Permalink

Andrew, that sounds like the time the nice lady from the Royal Bank called me and asked if there was anything they could do for me — and to improve their service. A rant for another day.

Ken Williams's picture
Ken Williams on December 13, 2002 - 02:39 Permalink

I got dumped 6 times to different departments Tuesday and spent two hours trying to get my username info. I spoke to Catherine, Blair, Troy, George, Diana, and Stephane in brief conversations between holding and listening to that music. You are right they are the phone company, yet their telephone system reaks. We shall know them by their deeds.