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Archive for July, 2008

23
Jul

Test from iphone

This is a quick test

3
Jul

Ownership

My story on Verizon (see below) is actually a story about ownership. I am going to use this in my staff training going forward. This is a classic story about lack of ownership. Throughout the story, nobody from Verizon did anything wrong (some were nicer than others but they all follow the book) but somehow when combined, it makes a miserable experience for the customer.

That is the same thing when development and testing just ‘do their part’ and don’t take ownership of the whole thing. I told developers “Your bug is not fixed until confirmed by tester and it is your job to ensure that they can verify your fix.” I also told testers “Your testing report is not done until the developer truely understand what you meant and know where to start.”

Most project puts the ownership on the project manager, while this works, it’s not scalable. In my Verizon story, had there be a project manager, a point-of-contact, everything will be much better. However, I think a better solution is for a company to have a culture of ownership throughout the organization. Everybody is expected to take the job beyond their boxes. I usually explain this by telling people to tag on 20% of work on either end of the box. They are expected to do 140%. That is why people love to work with us and why we win. This is ownership.

2
Jul

Verizon FIOS is too good for me

This is a story about how I want to get Verizon FIOS and discovered that I am not good enough for it. It’s a rather long story, the short version is that after over a month, 2 days off, talked to over  30 technicians, over 10 hours on the phone, and appointment rescheduled 15 times, I still can’t get the service fully setup. The last technician that I talked to today said that I did this all wrong from the beginning. Yes, I shouldn’t have called.

Before I start let me say that out of all the people I dealt with, all but 2 are very good. Almost everybody I talked to whole heartedly tried to help. Somehow the Verizon God didn’t like me.

Chapter 1: The Order

A month ago we brought a new house. I checked with Verzion 2 weeks before our closing date and they say yes, we can get FIOS. Great! I can finally try this exciting new service.  So as soon as we closed the deal on 5/22/2008, I called Verizon. The sales rep was nice enough to explain all the options. We discuss for about 45 minutes to pick the package, internet speed, number of cable box, etc. All is fine. At the end, she transferred me to a third party verification agent. That lady asked me one question which I didn’t understand so I said “Can you repeat that?” Perhaps she heard me say something else, she said, “Seems like you have been coached by Verizon and so I have to cancel your order.” She then hung up. What? After almost an hour on the phone I got hung up like that?

I called back right away, I told the rep that I just placed an order and wanted to make sure it’s fine. The guy says they don’t handle Virginia and had me transferred, but he said the office is now closed.” What?” I said. “But I just talked to them a minute ago.” Anyway, I got transferred and left a voice message. I told my wife that this doesn’t make sense, the sales office should be open 24/7. So about half an hour later, I called back. This time the rep was able to find my order. He said that everything is fine and I am scheduled to get installation on 6/10. Cool.

Chapter 2: Week  One

So I waited patiently for the next 2 weeks assuming everything was fine. On 6/10, I took the day off and got to the house early (the appointment was 8am – 5pm). Around 9am I started to worry. So I called, the first person I talked to said he couldn’t find my order. He then had me transfer. The second guy found my order but didn’t know what’s going on. He put me on hold and the call dropped. I called back, expressing that I was on the phone for 20 minutes and still didn’t know what’s going on. This time the rep knows which system to hit. She said that the order didn’t go through as the phone number wasn’t ported correctly because they submitted my new address to my exiting phone company.  I said if there is a delay, shouldn’t someone contact me so that I don’t waste my day? Anyway, she apologized and I gave her my old address. She said the new due date (yea, I learn some of their terminologies too) is now on 6/12. I received a rescheduling email right after the call. I was unhappy but was ok to wait for 2 more days.

The 12th was my moving day, so I had to arrange a friend to be at the new house to wait for the Verizon technician. Around noon my friend called me and said the Verizon guy told him that they cannot install as the fiber line was actually not at the house yet. “Am I supposed to know this?” I talked to the technician on the phone. He said he will send a ticket in right away and they should come out in 24 hours and he will come out right away to have it all fix. Fine. Another 24 hours.

That afternoon, someone came to my house and put yellow paint on the lawn to indicate where the fiber lines should go to. I thought maybe they will come out the next day and I may get service before Monday.

Wrong. Week 1 pasted and all I have is some yellow lines on the lawn.

 

Chapter 3: Week Two

I called on Sunday and the guy said someone from the control group will contact me when they come to work on Monday.

Early Monday morning (6/16), the Verizon crew showed up, dug up the yard and put the fiber line to my house. I saw them packing up as I left for work. Eager to get it done, I called Verizon on my way to work. The lady was very nice and tried to schedule an appointment for me. “The earliest appointment is 7/4.” She said. “No. no. no.” I said. “Verizon made 2 mistakes on my order and now I have to wait in line again?” She said she will put down on the note that I should get expedited installation as the delay is due to Verizon’s fault. She said she will try her best and will call me back.

About 1 hour later, someone called me back. This lady is bad Verizon employee 1. She said, “They will drop the line this week and I have secured your schedule for 6/24.” I told her they have already dropped the line (put fiber optics underground) this morning and I didn’t understand the wait. All you said was, “You are all set for the 24th” and didn’t even listen to me.

After I hung up I realized I had missed another call from Verizon. It was the nice lady that I was talking to on my way to work. She left a message saying that she had talked to the dispatched department and had secured an installation appointment on 6/21.

At that point I received 2 emails. One said confirm installation on the 21st and the other said confirmed on the 24th. So now I’m confused. 21st or 24th. Of course, I called back. The guy I got said it’s weird that one system said the 21st and the other said the 24th but he had fixed them all. Now everything is lining up on the 21st. “Everything is fine, right? Cause this order has yet to be fine.” I said. He reassured me that I will get installed on the 21st. I received another confirmation email saying that installation is on 6/21. All seems fine. That ended my Monday.

On 3pm Thursday 6/19, I received an email saying that if I don’t call Verizon by 6/23, my order will be cancelled. Worried my hard worked will be down the drain, I called right away. The lady who took the call says somehow there is a hold on the Internet and TV and the installation has been pushed out. I told her the entire story again and she said she put everything back on 6/21 and everything should be fine.  That same night, at 7:42pm, I receive an email saying that my installation is confirmed on 6/26. Wait, wait, wait. I thought I talked to someone and everything was back to 6/21. Of course I called and the guy was very nice and told me some system says 21st and some says 26th. While he didn’t understand why, he put everything back to the 21st. I told him the story again and he reassured me that the order is now confirmed by the dispatched department and everything is fine on the 21st. That night at 10:19pm, I receive an email confirming my installation on the 21st. That ended my Thursday.

The next day, Friday 6/20, one day before the big day, I received an email at 12:01pm saying that installation is now on 6/26. Called and screamed at the rep. I said I have tried very very hard to work with Verizon and somehow Verizon just doesn’t like me. This time I was talking to the nicest rep of all. He put me on hold for a little bit, came back and said that his supervisor is talking to the supervisor of the dispatch department and everything is truly fine.

Chapter 4: The big weekend

That night I actually couldn’t go to sleep as I was too excited about getting FIOS the next day. Next morning 6/21, the much anticipated installation day, I woke up early. Well, of course nobody showed up. The appointment was from 8-12. I called around 10am, told the story again and told the rep that this is really unacceptable. He put me on hold and called the dispatched department. After a few minutes he came back and said someone will show up that day. Immediately after the call, I receive the familiar scheduling email saying that installation is now scheduled for Sunday 6/22. Hold on. Did I just talked to someone and said that installation will be on same day? Plus do they even do installation on Sunday? I called immediately. This time again I talked to a very nice person. I told him again how much work I had put into this order and somehow Verizon just didn’t want to work with me. He called the dispatched department and came back saying they are really swamp and cannot take my order that day. I started to scream and told him that I had taken 2 days off, countless time on the phone and had to cancel Saturday party because of the installation and they can’t fit me in? He put me on hold again and came back saying someone will show up before the end of the day.

By noon on 6/21, the same person that I talked to last called back and said they really can’t get my order done that day but they are going to put me on a priority first installation on Sunday morning. He said he will pass my information to his colleague to call me at 8:30am and make sure the tech does show up.  He was so nice that I accepted the delay.

Sunday morning 6/22, a lady called around 9am saying that she will be arriving in 45 minutes. Around 10am, she pulled the Verizon truck into the block. This was real. She was really nice and apologized for my inconvenience. I told her everyone that I talked to in Verizon seem to be nice but some unknown entity within Verizon has been messing me up.  It took her and another person about 5 hours to get everything setup. By Sunday afternoon, we had Fios TV and Internet. Hurray! Still no landline yet, for some reason, but that’s not important, now that I have TV and Internet. That night we enjoy HD TV on our new TV set and called home from our VOIP phone. I thought that was the end of story.

Chapter 5: Conclusion

During installation, the lady said that the phone port was delayed but should come through by 6/26. I told her so long as we get Internet and TV, phone doesn’t really matter.  On Friday 6/27, after almost a week of enjoying Fios TV and Internet, the installation lady called and said that the phone order still had not came through but she will continue to follow-up. What a nice person.

Today, 7/2, almost 6 weeks after my first call to Verizon, I called again to ask for a status. This time I talked to a below average rep. I told her the port was originally due on 6/10 but someone put in the wrong address. She said what I had done was wrong. I should have moved my COX service over to the new house before switching to Verizon. She said of course the port wouldn’t go through as if this is all my fault. I said someone should have told me at the beginning and not wasted 6 weeks of my time. Now I’m trapped as my COX service has already been cancelled. She said the only thing I can do is to call COX, reactivate the service, move over to my new house, then switch to Verizon. And she said it in such a tone that sounded like I was making an unreasonable request. 

So I called COX to have my phone reactivated and move over to the new house. The rep over in COX was very nice and said if I really want Verizon, that’s my right, but he just wanted me to give them a chance. I told him go ahead and put me back on TV, Internet and Phone. I am probably not good enough to receive Verizon’s service.