Yep, we all know: it is never a good idea to have all needed items or services provided by only one source. Sometimes, even though we should know better, we still do things that are not in our own best interests.

Enter Verizon FiOS.

For those who may not have this service in their area, FiOS is a fiber optics delivery system for phone, TV and Internet service.  The Internet is blazing fast with FiOS, the TV reception is great and the phone works. What more could we ask for?

How about service?

Service seems to be a thing of the past, no matter where you go. Gone are the days of dedicated employees, happy with their jobs, making sure customers are receiving the best possible care. Today, due to downsizing and corporate cost cutting, many employees are poorly trained, frustrated and merely putting in the hours each day for a meager paycheck and few, if any, benefits.

Everything is fine until something goes wrong.

On a Friday evening our FiOS service stopped working. The TV displayed a toll free number to call and use an automated system to try to fix the problem, it rebooted our service, but it went out again in just a few minutes. I waited for a few hours and tried again, same results. About 10:00 PM I called the phone number printed on my bill. After pressing an untold number of buttons on the phone and a wait of ten minutes, a real person got on the line.

Hooray, I finally got to a person! However, my person did not speak English as a first language; in fact, as poorly as she spoke, English was not even her second language. Seriously, this woman could not form a correct sentence, let alone understand my problem. She was desperately trying to read responses from a prepared script and failing miserably. To top it off, she could not understand my questions.

Now, I have never been known for my patience, or my skills at dealing with inept people, especially when I am expecting service. However, I remained polite and told the woman that I could not understand her and wished to be transferred to someone who spoke English. Wrong thing to do; she was not happy and said I would have to go back into the call queue to wait for another person. She then promptly cut me off and all I heard was dead air on the phone. No big deal, I would call in the morning.

OK folks; think about it, does it make sense to put someone who is not proficient in English in a position to represent a company? I am all for equal opportunity for all, but at the bare minimum, they should be able to converse with a customer.

Bright and early on Saturday, I called Verizon again. This time, I reach a very nice, easy to understand fellow. He asked that I go to the garage and tell him what color lights were displaying on the service box. Then he tells me to get on a ladder and take out the five pound battery that was in the box.

Wait a minute! Isn’t this supposed to be a technician’s job? I asked what he would do if a little old lady called for service. He ignored that question. He finally determines that a service call was warranted, but one could not be scheduled until Monday. Whoa, that means no Sunday football. Sorry, nothing can be done about that, he says.

I grew up in a telephone company family. My father, sister and two uncles worked for General Telephone, the precursor to Verizon. I knew how the company serviced subscribers in the past. Problems were diagnosed and corrected the same day. Not anymore.

Monday, the service guy arrives as scheduled and promptly gets to work installing a new service box. This guy is a real pro and I told him so. He did his job, cleaned up and did a comprehensive check on my entire system. He knew how to provide customer service.

Bottom line, I still love my FiOS, I just wish companies would pay more attention to who they hire to answer the phones.



FOG sez:

Do you see me applying for a job at Telmundo? No hablo espanol.