Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Dreaded Technical Support Call

If there is one thing I hate to do when I buy some new techno-gadget it’s making that dreaded technical support call. But, it is inevitable. I know I’ll be talking to someone in India with a heavy accent that I can’t understand and most of the conversation will be me asking “what’d you say,” “say that again.” And, another thing; it makes me mad that the technical support is not located in the United States where the manufacturer is located.

But, my old 2.4 gigahertz D-Link wireless router was on its way out. Besides Internet disconnects that occurred when I answered my 2.4 gigahertz home phone, it was disconnecting more frequently on its own. It froze; all port lights lit whether anything was plugged into the ports or not. I was constantly “rebooting” the thing, i.e., unplugging and plugging in the power cord. So, I knew it was time for a new router.

I bought a new Cisco Linksys Wireless G router and began installation. But, when the setup got to the Internet connecting step, it wouldn’t connect. So, after calling my cable Internet provider four times, resetting the cable modem four times and talking to the cable provider’s “home network” staff, all located in the United States and who spoke good English, I knew it was time to make the dreaded technical support call to Linksys.

After his introduction and I have explained my problem, “What was your name again?” I asked him to repeat everything at least twice, sometimes three and four times before I understood what he was asking me to say or do.

“Romeo.” (I know it really isn’t Romeo.) “Can you plug your computer directly into the cable modem? (I do that) Can you access the Internet? (Yes) Okay. Plug the cable modem either net cable into the router. (I did) Plug your computer either net cable into the router. (I did) Please open Internet Explorer and type in 198…. (He gives me the router’s IP address). Please uncheck ‘Do Not Allow Anonymous Internet Access’. (Jeeze. Why was it checked in the first place? The setup program did not give me a chance to uncheck it.)

“How is your day going so far?” (What?) “How is your day going?” (Christ! He wants to small-talk.)

“Not so good. I can’t access the Internet yet. Why didn’t the setup program allow me to change these settings?”

“It is best to setup the router using Internet Explorer.” (What?)

“That’s not what the instructions say.” He gave me a few more instructions, twice.

“Try accessing the Internet now.” (Guessing what he wanted, I navigated to It worked.)

“So, how is your day going so far?” (What? We just went over that.)

“Better now. I can access the Internet. What do you think of our new President?” (I can do small-talk too if he insists.)

“I think it is great. We are happy for America.”

“Me too.”

“We will send you a survey to rate my service. How will you rate me? (What?) We will send a survey to you. How will you rate me? (Ah, he’s more interested in keeping his job.)

“I will say that you did a good job. Thank you.”

“You’re welcome. Have a good day.” (What’d he say?) You’re welcome. Have a good day.”

“Same to you. Bye” (Finally, it’s over.)

Romeo did a good job. He solved my problem. My complaint is with Cisco, however. My questions for Cisco are: What the hell is your customer support for U. S. citizens doing in India? With all your smart managers, weren’t you able to figure out how to keep those jobs here and still be profitable?

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