Social Media Social Good: Why Can’t @Dish and the Others Work Like a Toaster?

Category: Social Media Social Good Series, Weekly Columns

No Internet access comic - social media social good

I remember an article on tech from a decade ago that was titled, “Why Can’t it Work Like a Refrigerator,” or something to that effect. The gist of the column was how difficult getting a new computer up and running was…a PC in that case. The writer wished he could simply plug it in, like his refrigerator, and have it work. With Social Media today and all the new technology, this problem has only gotten worse. Add little-to-no decent Customer Service to the mix and we’re living a sort of tech-hell.

Phone call anger and frustration with customer service

Ever time I buy a new tech device, I go through the same routine. I get excited at first upon the purchase. I place the boxed device – often encased in impregnable plastic – on my desk. I admire it for a week or more. I think about opening it. Nah. I wait. When I finally do open it I ultimately run into one problem or another that either the non-existent manual doesn’t explain or that requires calling for assistance in reply to the sticker that says, “Please call this number before returning…”

Then I go through a hideous unclear list of voice-menu options and, on rare occasion, I get put through to someone who actually helps. The only exception to this experience has been with Apple products and I continue to praise the day I switched from PC to Mac for all my computer needs.

Cartoon about the Internet being down

Let’s talk utilities now. I’d rather not, but let’s. They used to be monopolies like AT&T. Those were broken up and everything got even worse in the ensuing confusion. Enter cable and the Internet and “bundles.” Long gone are the days of TV antennae! Now, we have to get our TV via satellite or cable, the same for Internet, and we have that option as well for a landline phone. One word: UGH.

We bought a home in Park City, Utah and I tried to “work” with Comcast, the major provider for these services in the area. The number of wasted hours on the phone with ultimately NO RESULT finally prompted me to cancel it all with them. I, of course, had to return the equipment to their local store which was closed the first two times I went there even though their posted hours indicated they should’ve been open.

Wires wrapping woman photo on technology

I don’t know what it means, but I love this image!

I switch to Dish. Slightly better, at first. BUT, my bundle with Internet means they use an outside vendor to do the Internet for them. From DAY ONE, it is inconsistent. Indiscriminately the line/internet goes dead. I unplug the modem, plug it back in, and usually it then works. Not OKAY.

Calls and calls later and after a new modem is sent that still does the same thing, they tell me it MUST be the wiring in my home. I KNOW it’s not but I agree to HIRE an electrician to check the lines. The electrician comes and my lines are JUST FINE.

The Five Stages of Internet Denial comic

I’m done with Dish and my Internet. They do seem capable of providing our television service so I’m going to stick with that, for now.

I’ve arranged for another Internet provider that is specifically just that – an Internet provider – to set me up this coming week. Then, I will call Dish and find out how to return their two modems and CANCEL the Internet part of my service.

Computer frustration

I dread that call and the B.S. that they’ll tell me, the excuses they’ll give, and the extra charges I’ll have to fight and the PainInTheA** I’ll probably have to go through to return their modems. The last time I wrote a column like this – about Time Warner – I got a call the day it was published from their head office. I spoke with an English-speaking college-educated adult. They fixed my problem and told me that they just found a new lower rate for my services. What a lovely coincidence?

Time-Warner has been perfect ever since. Is this the ONLY way we can get respectable customer service? And, what about those who don’t have a large enough “platform” to get their attention? You know the answer…they’re screwed!

Woman biting her laptop in frustration

How about skipping that $5 Starbucks latte and splurging $2.99 (for the Kindle on Amazon) or $2.79 for the PDF of my new e-book? Enjoy my own informercial for it! This e-book is really a virtual journey. It’s filled with 100 photos, 7 original videos, and links to many of the stops on the trip. Click on the book cover image below to find your purchase options:

Dealing with The Empty Nest

  • David Weber

    I could not agree more, customer service for high tech utilities, not to mention so much else, is miserable. To me the unkindest cut of all is having to pay for customer service, e.g., a customer service fee that you pay before a help desk technician will help you.

    By the way, out of curiosity I typed the caption of the ad (with the woman wrapped in wire) into Google Translate. The program detected Swedish, and translated it as “How much freedom does your broadband provider [provide]?”

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      Wow, that is PERFECT @7f990e539df4ddefe26884eb65a5f04c:disqus – the translation!

  • clgossett

    Pitiful that we have to go through this kind of thing just to get reliable service. You now my recent saga with Comcast. I’m paying this over-bloated bill because I can’t be without internet, not even temporarily. And then on Monday, I start the search for a new provider in hopes that I can find a company that is not only willing to help me and provide me with awesome service, but one that understands that when i press 1 for English, I mean it!

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      Your blog @clgossett:disqus motivated me to finish up this one…shortly after, my Internet went out again. I’m done calling @Dish. I bought my own router/modem and have an appointment on Tuesday with a Broadband provider in which that is ALL they do so hopefully THEY will be responsive and provide reliable Internet and at least acceptable customer service.

  • geofflivingston

    Oh man, you know they all stink. Part of the reason I am glad the wireless is getting better, though we can certainly use more bandwidth and more competitors. But the cable companies, yeah, they all suck. I have to reset my modem at home at least two or three times a week. Seriously?

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      I’m probably being naive @geofflivingston:disqus in hoping that some company will come along and give us ALL good service AND good customer service. I can dream, can’t I?

  • http://twitter.com/audaciouslady Nathasha Alvarez

    I think that companies should tell us if they are outsourcing customer service because I hate not understanding what they are saying.

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      What a novel idea – disclosure from a big public company @twitter-16091340:disqus

  • olive collins

    It’s difficult to deal with automated services as well as customer service. Too many times I felt like flinging the computer out the window like a black frisbee. Thanks for your blog.

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      @93c0ac66d5e6558d273fde7c3027fe39:disqus – a few years ago there was a huge hue and cry AT the cell-phone companies over their poor customer service. There was enough public outrage that most really tried to change. Perhaps we can get these “Bundle” big providers of NECESSARY services to pay attention to?