My most viewed YouTube video is a review I did comparing Verizon FiOS to Time Warner Cable, with over 17,000 views. My second most watched video is also about Verizon FiOS with over 6,600 views, where I talked about trying to get my 2nd phone line in and all the issues we were having at the time. It literally took a month for me to get everything into the house that I was supposed to have.

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Months later I realized I had an issue with the second line. I have a fake name in the phone book for my main number, which helps me to eliminate anyone who calls asking for that person and just hang up the phone after telling them no one with that name lives at the house. We set that up about a month after moving into the house in 2000 and it’s worked very well for us. What we discovered is that the second line, which we both use for business purposes, was using that same name, and helped explain why certain potential business contacts might not be picking up the phone.

I called Verizon and asked if we could change the name that went out on that second line but were told that both lines had to show the same name. That couldn’t continue, but it took me 9 months to finally decide to change things over.

I went to the Time Warner office because I still have an alarm system through them and asked if they would claim the second phone number and move it back to them so I could have the phone back in the name I wanted it to show. The customer service guy gave me the box, told me to hook it up to the phone in a few days, and all would work just fine, and the cost would be the same as what I was paying Verizon; that sounded pretty sweet.

The day comes, I hook up the modem, and… nothing. No dial tone whatsoever. Then I remembered that the guy said I might have to call to have the service activated, so I picked up the other line and called them. I wanted to talk to a technician so I hit “0” and actually got to talk to someone.

He asked me if I’d hooked the modem to the phone and I said yes. He asked me if I’d hooked the modem to the cable and I said “Uhhh, I have Verizon FiOS. I mentioned that to the guy at the office when he gave me the modem.”

He said “Oh. The modem won’t work unless it’s connected to cable. We can’t connect it to the Verizon service either which means we’re going to have to send a technician out to you.”

This means I’m without a business line for 3 days since I have to wait until Friday for the technician to come. Truthfully, the calls I’ve been getting lately haven’t been all that great so I’m not upset by what I might be missing. However, I am upset a little bit by not getting the proper information up front. Turns out I could have had my phone line last week if I’d known about the cable issue.

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Three weeks ago I wrote a post talking about leadership and customer service and the week before that I wrote another post about the importance of listening so one can respond to questions and issues properly. I wrote about those two things based not only on what I’ve seen as a consumer but also what I tried to address with my team members, where a bit part of the work they did was talking to customers. I used to say that it’s hard to properly answer customer questions if you’re already talking or doing something else before they finish telling you what their probably is. We can’t always assume that every person we talk to has the same issue that the person before them had unless we caused the problem.

I thought back to the day I was in the office in front of this guy. I remembered that what he told me was a 2-minute process ended up taking 10 minutes, and that he seemed confused a couple of times as I stood there waiting for him to get things done. I think his issue must have been that I wasn’t the typical Time Warner customer since I didn’t have their cable or internet, which might have been something they weren’t set up for or expecting.

I’ve wondered if maybe he’d been listening and actually heard me mention FiOS that he would have realized that I couldn’t perform this installation on my own. I’ve also wondered if this was a true leadership fail, not because there was obviously a failure but because it’s hard to think of everything that could possibly happen when it seems a bit inconceivable.

In the end I believe that even if the Time Warner guy I was talking to wasn’t totally listening, he wasn’t really at fault in this case. Although I doubt I’m the first person who’s ever asked for just a Time Warner phone, based on his confusion the day I was in front of him I do believe it might have been his first time dealing with this issue. In that case, if it’s a rare enough issue that this was his first time dealing with it (I’ve been going there for years to pay my monthly bill but he’s been there maybe the last 6 months) then it’s hard to blame leadership for this one at the same time.

Sometimes it’s not anyone’s fault when things don’t work out. I think this is one of those times where everyone gets a pass; how often does that happen? Am I being too nice? Do you agree with me? Let me know your thoughts.
 

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