Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Cavalier Telephone

I actually like my phone company. It's a CLEC that gives me full-featured home telephone service and DSL for less than $50 / month (before taxes and fees, of course).

BUT, when I got home last night I discovered I had no dial tone and no DSL. Having been through this before, I knew to take one of my trusty AT&T Model 500500 sets outside and plug it directly into the gray box on the side of the house. Nothing.

So I dug up an old phone bill and found the number to call for repairs. A speech-enabled voice response system asked for my phone number. For some reason, I don't like to speak to speech-reco systems (yeah, I know that makes quite odd, given my day job), so I punched in my number. Then the most lame and/or laughable thing happened - they played back a sound-effect of somebody typing on a computer keyboard (or maybe it was somebody shaking up a bag of Scrabble tiles). I don't even remember what the next question was, but it too was followed by the sound-effect. Are they really fooling people with that? Bizarre.

Then it was time to tell Mr. Typie what the problem was. I clearly spoke "no dial tone." No problem in understanding that, so kudos to them for getting that bit of programming correct. Then I was whisked off to the hold queue, where things got really ugly.

First, I was given a list of four things to do to check my DSL connection. That's nice, but was completely unrelated to my particular problem and therefore pissed me off a little bit. Somewhat reminiscent of Verizon's apparent "dump 'em all in one queue" strategy). After that was over, I immediately got a recording telling me that there was "currently" an outage in the Pennsylvania market, and that the estimated time of resolution was 4 PM. OK, two major things wrong there. Number 1, I've already typed in my phone number, so they should know I'm not in Pennsylvania. Number 2, it was around 5 PM when I called. If indeed I was in Pennsylvania and experiencing this outage, I'd be pretty upset to hear the 4 o'clock message at 5. At the very end of the recording, there was a strange sound that I can only describe as a grunt. Weird.

Their on-hold music must be on a tape somewhere, a tape that has seen much much better days. Can you say wow and flutter? Music on hold is usually an annoyance, but this took it to a whole new level. Every once in awhile, a marketing message would come on, telling me about the wonderful guides that were available on the website. I might have been interested, if I was able to get to the website.

The Pennsylvania message and the marketing message repeated over the course of my twenty-plus minutes on hold. Aside from getting really ticked off about the PA message, I noticed that the two messages were somehow interfering with each other. If the PA message was playing, then sometimes after it was done (and after it grunted at me), the marketing message would kick in somewhere in the middle. I can't even imagine how you'd program a system to play messages like that. I'll have to ask some of my colleagues with better Avaya knowledge. (I assume there's an Avaya system in there somewhere, based on their job listings, which I have perused more than once).

Once I finally got connected to an agent, things went well. He was impressed when I said I'd already "plugged into the demarc", and quickly got a service call scheduled. As of this writing, the problem still exists (I just called my own number and got the Cavalier voice-mail system), but hopefully that won't be the case when I get home this evening.

I actually know at least one person who works at Cavalier, I wonder if she could put me in touch with somebody so I can offer my services on fixing their annoying system?


At 24/4/08 11:02, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My own experience with Cavalier is both good and bad. I have endured several months of incorrect billing which never seems to get fixed without at lease 4 calls. Their customer service and customer communication is best described as total crap. A relative recently endured a 16 day wait to reconnect service erroneously disconnected by Cavalier. But when it works it works good, just hope you never have to contact customer service.

At 21/7/08 19:09, Blogger Lisa G. said...

hahahah There is no hope for that place. The vm message is new with the Talk buyout from best I can tell. We've got two dudes running our Avaya system. Also, I just put my two weeks in. Huzzah!

(Found your blog through facebook. Sorry I'm late!)


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