Scripted support troubleshooting can be painful

A little rant on call centers.  I just had a very frustrating experience today with a Voice Over IP (VoiP) company (I’m going to leave off their name as I like them and this is not a commentary on their service, just their support center).

My cable provider had an outage yesterday, our internet was down for at least 6 hours.  When it came back up, everything worked except our voip telephone service.  It typically takes a few minutes to reset itself.  I waited and it didn’t come back, so I called the support number for the company.  The first person I spoke with walked me through a scripted series of troubleshooting steps (some of which made little sense from a networking perspective).  After about 2 hours the person recommended I go replace the appliance from a retail store.  I did that (about 1.5 hours round trip drive — I live in the country).

On the first person’s recommendation I called in to support again to activate the new appliance.  After about 30 minutes of this second person not being able to successfully activate the appliance it was time to “hook up my computer” and troubleshoot again.  I have been relying on this service as my primary home number for years and trying to do a call over my mobile phone in the country is never easy.  It was exactly the same steps as the first call.  I finally hung up in frustration, went through the online activation and was up and running in 5 minutes.

I sent an email to the company to let them know how frustrating the experience was.  I’ve used their service for years with few problems, but let them know that if I have another support experience like this, I will most likely move to another service.