I think that the key to finding a good cable company is identifying which ones have the best local technicians. The call centers will always be spotty, I’m sure those folks are overstaffed and overwhelmed (especially if they’re located internationally, if you’ve ever seen the documentaries), so their performance is always going to vary depending on when in their shift you call. Get lucky and get someone just beginning their shift, you’ll probably get 100% accuracy. Find someone who just ended a horrible 30 minute call with a customer bitching at them… probably not the best time to get them. So the discriminator should be the local technicians (since services will vary little, unless it’s Comcast downsampling HD!) and I wanted to give a ringing endorsement to the local technicians in the Howard County area (I have no idea how their areas are segregated). I’ve had two calls (installation and one repair) and each went very well.
My most recent one began the other day when my wireless connection to the Verizon-provided cable modem and router went down. I turned on my XBox 360 to see if the connection is still good because it’s connected via ethernet cable (I could’ve brought my computer down and connected it but I figured if all was well, I could squeeze in a couple games of Call of Duty 4 for my trouble :)) but that connection was down as well. So, I called up Verizon and we went through the process of resetting the router, resetting the box outside (not sure what it’s called), and then checking the settings on my computer (traceroutes, pings, resets, the works). All fail. No biggie, electronics fail all the time.
That’s when the Verizon tech said that the problem was probably the coaxial connector on the cable modem/router. The explanation seemed a bit off, since I could ping the IP of the box outside (meaning the signal went through that connector), but the end result was that they’d mail me a new cable modem/router which was a good thing. The modem was supposed to arrive on Monday but when I called that night, the CSR on the phone let it slip that perhaps the last CSR didn’t complete the shipment order. What’s funny is that when I asked him directly whether the package was shipped, he would give me evasive answers (I didn’t ask more than once, I just thought it was funny he’d respond like taht). Anyway, the end result was that a local technician would be out the next day.
So a lackluster performance by the call center but once again the local technicians came through. The woman arrived first thing in the morning and got to work. We tested out everything, swapped out the cable router, and still no wireless or wired connection. She reset the box outside, still no good. She played with the settings on my computer, which I had jacked up trying to get the XBox to use my computer as a wireless modem – I couldn’t figure it out. Still nothing. Eventually we tried the XBox again and then finally the computer connected without a problem. Apparently we just didn’t wait long enough for the box to fully cycle when we tried to connect the first time. Either way, she said that she’d stick around until everything was up and running.
Now, I don’t consider that above and beyond service, but given all the complaints people have about technicians (like sleeping on the job), I figured a story about how a technician that showed up on time, was courteous and did a thorough job, would be a nice change of pace.
Thumbs up Verizon, please keep it up.