Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Tech Support

I had the pleasure (loose definition of the word in use) this past weekend of having to use Cox's telephone technical support . Which I decided must have the name Automated Synthetic Support (you can figure out the initials). All I wanted to do was find out if there was an outage in my area since my internet connection went belly up. I inspected the modem, but it didn't appear to be sync'ed, and even after restarting it the modem didn't appear to be connecting.

So I called Cox just to try and to find out if there was an outage in my area. First I had to navigate Dante's 9th level, otherwise known as automated telephone menu navigation. I'll bet the navigation to reach a real person for initiating service is much cleaner and faster than trying to navigate to someone for tech support. After navigating to the internet service and requesting a tech person, I got waylaid. An automated help line came on telling me that no support staff was currently available and she wanted to help me by trying some things first.

I'll give them this, the woman that did the voice for this is intentionally very calm and soothing and at the same time sickeningly passive.

Her: "I'm just going to ask you some questions and I'll need you to answer the questions. If you want me to continue in English, say 'English', <spanish>If you..</spanish>

Me: "English"

Her: "Great. I'm going to need you to be able to access your computer and your cable modem, will you be able to do that?"

Me: "Yes"

Her: "Great. Now I'm going to list some things that might be wrong, and I need you to tell me which one best describes your problem. If the problem you're having is you're unable to access email, say 'Email'. If the problem is your connection seems to be slow, say 'slow'. If the problem is you don't seem to be connected to the internet, say 'No internet connection.' If the problem you're..."

Me: "No internet connection"

Her: "Ok, just to verify, the problem you're having is you're unable to access the internet. If that's correct, please say yes, if not say no to return to the previous choice."

Me: "Yes" (starting to get irritated since I only want to know if there's an outage).

Her: "Do you also use cable for television in addition to high speed internet?"

Me: "Yes."

Her: "Is your cable for the television working?"

Me: "Yes."

Her: "Ok, I'm going to need you to be able to access your cable modem, can you do that?"

Me: "Yes"

Her: "Great. I'll wait until you get there. Once you're ready to proceed just say 'continue'."

Me: "Continue"

Her: "I need you to look at the front of the cable modem. There should be some lights on it. Do you see the lights?"

Me: "Yes" (great, this is going to be a while)

Her: "Ok, I need you to wait a second while I access your account information and look for your computer on our network."

Insert Musak for fifteen seconds

Her: "I'm still accessing the information."

More Musak

Her: "Ok, I found your account information. I don't see your computer on the network, we're going to try rebooting your cable modem. I need you to go to your cable modem, when you're ready to proceed say 'continue'."

Me: "Continue" (thinking to myself, "Hey, there's something I would have never thought to try.")

Her: "Ok, there should be three connections on the back of the cable modem, a cable wire, a network connection and a power connection. I want you to disconnect the power and the network connection, when you're rea..."

Me: "Continue" (like I'm really going to do this after having already done it before)

Her: "Ok, Now I want you to plug in the power cable. When ..."

Me: "Continue"

Her: "Ok, it may take some time for the modem to initialize. I'm going to look for it on the network."

Muzak again, for about a minute.

Her: "I'm still looking for your computer on the network. I haven't found it yet, but I want to keep trying."

Muzak again, for about two minutes.

Her: "I'm still looking..."

Me: "Continue"

Her: "for your computer ..."

Me: "Continue!"

Her: "on the network. I haven't found it yet, but I want to keep trying."

Muzak again, for about two minutes.

Her: "I'm still looking. By the way, if you were talking to a customer representative it wouldn't be going any faster."

Me: "Bull****"


Me: "Continue!"


Me: "Continue!"


Me: "Continue!
Me: "Escape."
Me: "Break"
Me: "Control 'C'"
Me: "Computer: Initiate Manual Override"
Me: "End"
Me: "Exit"
Me: "Menu"


Me: "Arrrrrrgggghh."


Her: "I was never able to find your computer on the network, but I have a few more things I would like to try. When you're ready to proceed say 'continue'."

Me: At this point I realized that this wasn't working and I wasn't getting the information I really wanted. So I decided I needed to get out of this.


Her: "I'm sorry, I wasn't able to make out your response, when you're ready to proceed say 'continue.'"

Me: "Waffles"

Her: "I seem to be having trouble with your response, if you're ready to proceed say 'continue.'"

Me: "Little Wooden Boy! Spoon!"

Her: "I'm sorry, I can't understand your response, please wait while I transfer you to a customer representative."

Me: "Woo Hoo!"

Sadly in the fifteen seconds it took to get me a representative (like now I'm suppose to believe there wasn't really one available earlier) I was able to spot check the cable from the modem to the wall, and the cable as it went across the room and by the couch looked odd. The extension cable connection was slightly off. Looked like the kids had tripped over it. So I plugged that back in and rebooted the cable modem which sync'ed up as I was initiating a conversation with the tech support person. Ginger didn't have a lot of sympathy when I relayed to story to her as she was quick to point out that the cable that caused the problem was the one on the floor in the basement that I had said would only be there for 7 days max when we first moved in (busted!).

Completely unrelated news. Buffy Season Eight is going to be done in comic book form. Joss himself is going to write the first arc.


Anonymous said...

I know you are aware of the comic and probably already read this, but your post reminded me of the Dial-A-Prayer strip in the Order of the Stick comic.

JamesF said...

Yea, I started reading that comic the last time you mentioned it. I like it a lot so far. Only up to about comic 300 though.