Thursday, November 27, 2014

Orcon strikes again - no VDSL broadband

Last night I was due to give a presentation to an audience of 100 registered (mainly paying) participants within a virtual conference. I ran a few tests to ensure that everything was set and ready to go. A few minutes later, my wife told me that her laptop was not able to browse the internet. So, I blamed her useless laptop.
Just moments before the presentation was to begin I went back to my laptop to connect and what would you know? The internet was down. There couldn't have been a worse time. I got onto the phone and called my ISP (Internet Service Provider) to ask them what was happening. I'm a loyal customer of Orcon.

The customer support person who answered the phone went through the usual process of trying to eliminate the obvious things that would go wrong with an internet connection. Rebooting and resetting the router seem to be as much as he was able to advise me to do. Neither of these things worked, so I decided to use my mobile phone as a wireless hotspot.

As internet connectivity on mobile devices can be unreliable, I did find that I lost my connection to the conference just minutes before the end of my presentation. I managed to reconnect to ensure that I could respond to a question and answer session. You can imagine, that for a professional speaker these sorts of technical issues are really embarrassing.

Once the virtual conference had completed, I got back onto the phone to Orcon customer support. It didn't appear that a call or fault was logged from my initial call. The person on the other end of the phone logged a call and he escalated it to the second level support. He then proceeded to advise me that the connection could be down for between 12 hours and three days. I said that this was unacceptable and then got off the phone feeling quite frustrated.

This afternoon, I have come home to do some work. I noticed that the broadband internet connection is still not working. I called the support desk again and the person that I spoke to was not able to give me any satisfactory update. He reminded me that it could be anywhere between one to three business days before my connection would be back up and running. That would mean that my connection went down on Wednesday evening and may not be up again until Monday evening. Again, in this day and age, this is highly unacceptable.

After getting a little bit frustrated, I decided that I would escalate my predicament to a supervisor. I asked the young man if I could please speak with his supervisor. He was reluctant to put me through to the supervisor. I was persistent and insisted that he did, finally he made an attempt to put me through. The supervisor was apparently on the phone.

 I then asked to speak to the supervisor of the supervisor. I was placed on hold for a considerable amount of time, maybe up to ten minutes. The young man came back to me and said that the supervisors supervisor was also on the phone. Not wanting to give up, I asked for the supervisor from the next level up. Again he came back to me to say that that person was also on the phone dealing with a customer issue. So, now we have three supervisors on the phone dealing with customer issues. They must have some fairly significant issues if all of the supervisors are on the phone, especially when I'm trying to escalate. This would also suggest that other people were having to escalate their issues. For some reason my confidence and their ability to deliver a good service has significantly diminished.

I decided not to muck around, so I insisted that he provide me with the name of his CEO. After all, if I was going to have to keep escalating to the next person above the person I was asking for, I may as well get in touch with the person who can really make a difference to my problem. Now, I know that Orcon has recently been purchased or acquired by CallPlus, but this happened a few months ago. The young guy on the end of the phone could not tell me the name of his CEO. He told me that he didn't know who his senior manager was! What sort of a business is it when people don't know their own CEO?

To save some time, I did a google search on the phrase "CEO of CallPlus". Within seconds, I identified that the CEO is a gentleman by the name of Mark Callander (twitter account). I can't believe, that the young man at the call centre could not be as resourceful as myself and actually use an internet search engine. It would have saved himself some time and embarrassment. I asked to be put through to Mark, however I was told that he couldn't even find a phone number or email address for Mark. Again, I ask, what sort of a company is this when staff cannot engage with their CEO? How do you ever ask them to raise something with senior management, when they don't know how to connect withthem?

So, here I am now, waiting for my high-speed internet to be reconnected. I could be waiting for as long as next Monday. I understand that it could be earlier, however even 12 hours is a long time in this day and age. Having being a customer for approximately 10 years in a consumer driven culture that lacks loyalty, you would think that they would treat me as a VIP.

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