Mount Sutro: An Electronic Periodical

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The Perfect Exchange

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For the past week or so my DSL modem has been on the warpath, seemingly bent on punishing me with technical minutia when I am not at work.

At first, minor connectivity problems occurred leading me to believe that either interference, line noise or central office difficulties were to blame. The problem quickly worsened and was finally compounded by the partial failure of the modem.

The web-based interface does not accept incoming requests or give any sign of presence. Telnet, SSH and even pings are all refused as if the hardware no longer exists. It still gives my network router an IP address dynamically, though.

I finally gave up and decided that my troubleshooting solved basically nothing and hardware failure of the modem must be the culprit. All that was left to do now was what I had been hoping to avoid from the start—call technical support.

While my one and only previous encounter with Embarq's customer service was an extremely positive one, dealing with computer-related technical support is something I loathe. Needless to say, I was enamored when I discovered I could chat with a support representative online.

What happened next can only be described as some of the best customer service I have experienced and absolutely the best technical support experience ever.
15:06:13 — You
Initial Question/Comment: I believe my DSL modem may be defective.

15:06:19 — System
Steve W has joined this session!

15:06:19 — System
Welcome to EMBARQ. For security reasons please provide your 10-digit EMBARQ Local Telephone number and last four digits of your Social Security Number. Once you have provided this, please allow us a few moments to respond.

15:06:36 — You
8502224747 ****

15:06:50 — Steve W
Thanks! I am sorry to hear that. Is the power light on it going out?

15:06:59 — You
No, but connectivity has become intermittent, the modem no longer responds to pings and the web-based interface is inaccessible.

15:07:45 — Steve W
I will send you a replacement for free.

15:07:52 — You
That would be great.

15:07:55 — Steve W
It takes about 2 to 3 business day.

15:08:05 — Steve W
Sure. Anything else today?

15:08:17 — You
No, that was it. Thank you so much.

15:08:36 — Steve W
You are very welcome. Thank you again for contacting Embarq's Online Services.
I mean, damn.

I fully expected to be grilled like a fish about my computer, network, settings and every other detail which I had already exhaustingly eliminated. But instead of alienating their (probably non-technical) customers with endless technobabble questions and flowchart nonsense, Embarq smartly cuts to the chase and delivers results.

The last part to be confirmed in two to three business days.


UPDATE: Tuesday, 14 November 2006, 1748

I just signed for a UPS package from you know who. True to their word and according to UPS tracking information, Embarq shipped my order Monday evening and it travelled all night (from Fort Wayne, Indiana with stops in Louisville, Kentucky and Albany, Georgia) to arrive in my hands. Now the internet functions again thanks to superior customer service from Embarq.


Two Comment Bubbles three Comments

  • erik

    I find web based chat often makes for the best tech support. There is less bs involved for some reason. Sadly though lack of an internet connection is usually my main reason for contacting tech support, thus ruling out online chat as an option. But if I have a billing question for my cable company I always use online chat to get the answer.

  • Marc

    You might have already seen this, but I thought I would share it with you and your readers...

    News Flash:
    "In the first federal challenge ever argued against the Bush administration's NSA spying program, U.S. District Court Judge Anna Diggs Taylor rules that the program to monitor the phone calls and e-mails of millions of Americans without warrants is unconstitutional. Calling for a halt to this abuse of presidential power, Judge Taylor states that "[t]here are no hereditary Kings in America and no powers not created by the Constitution," so all the president's "inherent powers" must derive from the Constitution."

    I like that judge...so I read a little from her decision. I like this quote she used:

    "As Justice Warren wrote in U.S. v. Robel, 389 U.S.258(1967): 'Implicit in the term 'national defense' is the notion of defending those values and ideas which set this Nation apart...It would indeed be ironic if, in the name of national defense, we would sanction the subversion of...those liberties...which makes the defense of the Nation worthwhile.' Id. at 264."

    her last sentence is nice too:
    "Plaintiffs have prevailed, and the public interest is clear in this matter: It is the upholding of our Constitution."

    Thankyou Anna Taylor, atleast someone recognizes our Constitution is in threat.

    Sorry if I wrote a little too much, and about an unrelated topic. I just really wanted to share.
    -mm

  • Marc

    I borrowed a little from myself (my last posted comment) and I put together a statement when I signed the ACLU's 'Moving Freedom Forward' petition. Here is what I said...enjoy:

    People might have already seen this, but I think its worth pointing out:
    News Flash:
    “In the first federal challenge ever argued against the Bush administration’s NSA spying program, U.S. District Court Judge Anna Diggs Taylor rules that the program to monitor the phone calls and e-mails of millions of Americans without warrants is unconstitutional. Calling for a halt to this abuse of presidential power, Judge Taylor states that “[t]here are no hereditary Kings in America and no powers not created by the Constitution,” so all the president’s “inherent powers” must derive from the Constitution.”

    I like that judge…so I read a little from her decision. I like this quote she used:

    “As Justice Warren wrote in U.S. v. Robel, 389 U.S.258(1967): ‘Implicit in the term ‘national defense’ is the notion of defending those values and ideas which set this Nation apart…It would indeed be ironic if, in the name of national defense, we would sanction the subversion of…those liberties…which makes the defense of the Nation worthwhile.’ Id. at 264.”

    Justice Warren's statement is compelling to say the least. I think all should heed his wisdom!

    Judge Taylor's last sentence is nice too:
    “Plaintiffs have prevailed, and the public interest is clear in this matter: It is the upholding of our Constitution.”

    Thankyou Anna Taylor, atleast someone recognizes our Constitution is in threat of being thrown away as if it were only paper.

    The situation occuring today brings me to my point: Oppression of anybody is something to be feared by everybody. In his essay, "Letter from Birmingham Jail," Martin Luther King Jr. said that "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." The American population is quick to forget the tyranny of the government during the communist scare in the 1950s and the liberties that the government can take in the name of security. People need to bear in their minds that fear and threats of terror are tools that the government uses to support their need for more restrictions (and thus more control) on the people. People should not just roll over and give up their liberty for the government to protect them.

    With America being the land of the free, our government's actions are a blow against everything that is America. The American people need to recognize this obvious hypocrisy of civil liberties and stand up for their rights as human beings. We must stand together or fall separately. We can not allow this monstrosity to happen to our fellow brother or sister, lest we too should befall the same fate. In closing, there is a poem by Martin Niemoller that is something everyone should spend some time contemplating before we allow such hypocrisies as racial profiling to exist.
    “When the Nazis came for the communists, I remained silent; I was not a communist. When they came for the trade unionists, I did not speak out; I was not a trade unionist. When they came for the Jews, I did not speak out; I was not a Jew. When they came for me, there was no one left to speak out.” – M. Niemoller

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