Friday, December 10, 2004
Okay – hello once again. Today I have another customer complaint to complain about. I apologize for all the misspellings below. Isn’t it glorious when you receive a communication from someone who isn’t quite as bright as they seem to believe they are? Okay, check this out:
>Your service skinks! its 9 pm on a thursday and i cant get a connection faster than 36,000. i dont care if your service is >cheep that is rediculous. if the server is busy, you should not overload your network. this has been getting progresivly >worse and it has affected my business. i will not only be quitting your service on monday I will use any means nessicary >to alert the public that your low rates are a cover for poor service and any competing company would better suite an >idividual with dial-up needs. i work for a restaurant and am in the costomer service industry and you are the equivilant of >a facility that does not meet health code expectations and are a danger to anyone who invests money in your service.
This type of person really gets under my skin. What is it with people who own computers suddenly believing that, because they own a computer, they know everything there is to know about them? They throw the terms “server” and “network” around likey they actually know what they are and what role they play in their internet connection. I mean, just because I drive a car doesn’t mean I believe I could rebuild my engine. I don’t walk up to my mechanic and say, “Gee…there must be something wrong with my distributer cap.” Just because I can talk on a phone doesn’t mean I know how to wire one. I’m sure that most folks feel the same way. You can dry your clothes, but if your clothes dryer malfunctions then you’re not necessarily going to be able to fix it. But with computers a large percentage of people believe that just the fact that they can use them makes them experts in all facets of the computer and internet industry.
That fact is the bane of a technical support person’s existence. Just about every person who calls technical support assumes that they need to do so because of a problem with their ISP. This is *sometimes* true, but I estimate about 80 to 90% of the time when you may need to contact technical support it is going to be because of a problem on your end of the connection. But everyone always wants to tell you, “Oh I KNOW there is no problem with my [computer/modem/phone lines/whatever] so try again buster” as if they already know what’s wrong and therefore are wasting your time and their time by calling technical support to begin with. Please, folks, if any of you ever call a technical support agent in the future, keep in mind that what they tell you is likely accurate whether you want to believe it or not. We are trained to know this stuff – are you? Check out my response to this unfortunate person (and keep in mind that all of this applies to dial up connections — not broadband connections.):
It is a common misconception that any given ISP has any control over what speed a customer connects at. The truth is that it is the customer’s modem that negotiates and maintains the connection based on the quality of your phone lines and your modem itself. Your modem is encountering some kind of interference on your line that is causing it to “down shift” and connect at a slower speed. There are many different possibilities for why this is occurring with you.
1) Check the phone cord you’re using to connect the modem to the wall. Make sure it is as short as possible. The longer that cord is, the better the chance of their being a short in it…and the more the signal will degrade. Also, do not pass the cord through any other piece of hardware on its way to the wall jack. As in, don’t plug it into a surge protector or a splitter. Run it straight from the modem to the wall jack. Try replacing the phone cord entirely.
2) Check with your computer’s vendor or your modem manufacturer to see if there is an updated driver for your modem available. Even if there isn’t an updated driver, uninstall your modem driver and reinstall it as it may be corrupted. If you don’t know how to do this, please contact your system manufacturer for assistance. Your system manufacturer is responsible for the hardware on your system – we cannot assist you with this.
3) Check the wall jack itself — it may have a short in it — or dirt or debris causing noise on the line. Try blowing it out. Try using a different wall jack altogether.
4) Try a different local access number in your area, or better yet try dialing a long distance access number. Dialing a long distance number will bypass your local telephone company’s network. If you can dial long distance and obtain a better connection, you will have your proof right there as to the nature of your problem (a fault on your local telephone company’s network). Sometimes dialing a different local access number will help in this situation because some numbers will be routed through your local telephone company’s network differently, effectively bypassing the problem on their network. This needs to be a local access number on a different network on our end. Local access numbers that end in similar last 4 digits are all on the same network (IE they are all located at the same place in your area so if you have trouble with one of them, you would have the same trouble with all of them). If we have numbers local for you that end in a different set of last 4 digits then feel free to try one of them.
5) Check with your phone company to see if there is a line noise issue with your line, or a problem somewhere in your area between your home, the phone company’s central office in your area, and our access point in your area. This requires a visit from your telephone company — this isn’t something they can do over the phone with you. If 1 through 4 don’t apply to you, get your telephone company to actually come to your home and perform line noise tests at your location.
“Overloading” of any access number will only manifest itself to a customer in the form of a busy signal. The number of folks dialing up to any given network of numbers has no affect whatsoever on the rate of speed at which anyone connects to it. That’s just not the way it works.
Before you go telling other people stories about the quality of services that we offer, you should educate yourself on how dial up connections actually work. What you are proposing would be like me telling people that your restaurant serves all its food out of a box, heated in the microwave, before I’ve actually been in your kitchen to see your chef in action.
Just for everyone’s edification there is another reason why a dial up modem would connect at slower speeds than you might like. If your telephone company has installed fiber optics on their network anywhere between your home and their Central Office (C.O.), then that will cause you to not be able to connect at speeds faster than 28.8. You would be more likely see be the victim of this situation if you live in an apartment complex because it’s easier, and less expensive, for a phone company to wire an entire apartment complex on a fiber optic loop than it is to run a copper line to every single apartment. The problem with fiber optics is that is requires an analog to digital conversion in order to interface with the rest of the telephone company’s copper lines. Since this conversion takes place outside of a modem (where the signal was originally converted from digital signals to analog noise) then that strips away the 56k component of the signal. I didn’t feel like this point needed to be broached with this customer because s/he indicated that it was getting progressively worse over the course of time. This clearly indicates an interference or noise issue somewhere on their end of the call.
In any event – please don’t be like this person. Don’t let yourself “skink” hahahahahah! Don’t assume you know what you’re talking about and then lecture people with your ignorance – all the while misspelling every other word. Every day my opinion of the human race degrades a little more….
P.S. It’s really hard to take anyone seriously who follows up a complaint of their dial-up service with the line, “This is really affecting my business.” If you’re silly enough to attempt to run a business over dial up, then quite frankly you deserve to lose your money — every freaking cent of it. That’s like depending on a rusty bicycle to carry you safely down an interstate highway. If your life depends on it, then you need something more dependable than dial up.
On a brighter side, I spent almost the entire day today laughing my ass off. Why? Because I rented and watched the movie “Elf”, starring Will Ferrell. That has to be one of the funniest movies I’ve seen in a long time. It’s a quirky funny movie, which is my style of humor. I enjoyed it tremendously and recommend it to anyone wanting to laugh for 90 minutes.
Then after that I watched this week’s episode of “South Park”. This episode was about making fun of Paris Hilton or, as they referred to her in the episode, “The Rich Spoiled Stupid Brat Whore”. It was classic – if you have the chance you MUST watch this episode. My favorite part was where Paris’ dog “Tinkerbell” is so sick of being around Paris that it drags a gun out of her limo driver’s pocket and deliberately shoots itself. You just have to see it to appreciate it. It’s funny stuff.
Anyway – I was in a fantastic mood until I got to work tonight. But that’s the usually the case every night. I will get a call and/or email from a complete dunderhead that makes me question the point of trying to help folks. The complete lack of basic sense in some people is really maddening. It really, really is. If common sense is so uncommon, then why do we call it “common sense”? It isn’t common at all. If common sense was organic life it would be on the endangered species list. Seriously!
And how this correlates to the person and his/her email isn’t that I think it’s common sense to know how internet connections function. It’s that it should be common sense to know that you shouldn’t make grandiose assumptions about something you should KNOW that you really don’t know anything about. You shouldn’t make statements of what you consider to be facts unless you’ve at least ATTEMTPED to confirm that what you are saying is actually factual rather than some ridiculous assumption. (Note the correct spelling of the word ridiculous there as well.) People really need to start making more of an effort to use whatever smidgen of intellect that they may possess and ATTEMPT to apply it to their lives! Too many people’s brains are in some sort of suspended animation. Just because you’re out of school doesn’t mean that you should stop learning – or trying to learn.
Until next time….