Thursday, September 5, 2013

Do You Know What You Are Doing?

I have been offline for 10 days due to a failed attempt to change providers for my electronics. This, and the experiences of a friend buying a car, make me wonder seriously about American business.

We have these companies. We have this technology. We have fellow citizens who, so far as I can see, have good work ethics and work pretty hard to work with the customers. Two things are wrong: a lot of them are not taught the technology they are working with. It gets worse when the company subcontracts, because then they also don't know company procedures either.

The companies are poorly run, terribly disorganized. They have a goal for the customer's satisfaction and none of them are coordinating with the other departments. They count on their "deal" to be so attractive, the customer will hang in there to get it. They lose a lot of profit that way. Especially when they can't deliver.

Actually, I wasn't really offline because of technology. Since I didn't want my old phone number, I told Century Link I was changing two days before the date I wanted a disconnect. They turned me off immediately, which I don't understand. They lost two more paying days. They DID put me on "vacation" status where I could reconnect within 30 days without paying a reconnect fee.

I was changing from Century Link, which carries Dish satellite, to Sudden Link, a cable company. Proof of this move included a nice payment incentive for two years. It also included better and cheaper phone service, three times faster computer, and an array of tv stations I have refused to pay top dollar for. Sweet. On Aug. 29, a subcontracted tech came at 2:30 p.m. when I had requested the 8 am to 12 noon window and told me my cable would have to be trenched from the telephone pole on the other side of my neighbor's yard.

My neighbor, an amiable guy, had already switched and he signed a letter granting access.

I was told the trenching crew would be out Friday. They weren't. It would be Saturday or Monday--yep, on a holiday weekend--for sure. They didn't come. On Monday, I called in and was assured of a crew on Tuesday, with installation on Wednesday. They didn't come.

The installation tech, actually from Sudden Link, showed up on Wednesday morning. He said he couldn't do it because the telephone pole was too far from the house. (There's more, and I actually understood it, but I will leave it at that.) He couldn't have done it anyway, because the cable still hadn't been buried, thank God.

I reconnected with Century Link. Some of the computer is back--and I was able to make it some faster. This is good. Okay, they cost more for what I get, which was why I tried to move. But they actually know what they are doing and deliver.

One thing more. At 3:30 yesterday afternoon, the crew showed up to bury my cable. Sudden Link hadn't cancelled the work order. The head guy was relieved.

"This is too far," he said, "but my boss said to go ahead because it was contracted."

If hadn't come home when I did, much disruption in 100-degree heat would have occurred.

My neighbor is happy with his Sudden Link, although he said they had to come out three times to get him started. The friend who referred me is happy, although hers took all day to install and they brought the wrong equipment at first.

The second example of tech incompetency is a friend who bought a car and needed the Blue Tooth, GPS and recorder synchronized. They couldn't fix it, even though they sold her the car guaranteeing the equipment. Turns out, they just weren't trained well enough. After a week--she can be quite insistent--they brought in a tech guy and actually paid the outside tech to fix it. It's working okay so far, she says. She isn't recommending the dealership. Either they lied, or their staff is incompetent.

She was trying to get to work and get things done without her car for more than a week. I was on hold for 10 days. In my case, I am retired, but I felt unable to go virtually anywhere while I waited for service that didn't come, came late, or even the next day or so.

I think the owners, bosses, whoever at the top are so anxious, substitute greedy, that they too often promise more than they can deliver. If we have a tech shortage, then we ought to have new markets opening for more jobs. If these bosses simply don't know how to run a business, that needs to be addressed, too.

It makes me leery of my next purchase that requires any skill or technology. My confidence in the American marketplace is a little lower than it was. Does dependability relate to the average consumer any more?

I hope so. These two experiences, however, are not encouraging.


clairz said...

Sounds like a Third World country to me. Honestly, we have always had such highfalutin ideas of American know-how, but stories like yours turn out to be the rule, rather than the exception. We're simply not as good as we think we are. Sad.

I'm reminded of two examples. When we were in Taos a communications cable of some sort was cut and the whole town practically shut down for a day. Yes, we are dependent on technology and the absence of the internet made it nearly impossible to obtain cash, restaurant meals, or gas; but there seemed to be no Plan B.

Second example: We have a now ten-year old Honda Element, which we bought new. The security alarm has a way of going off just about any time. Something about opening and shutting the doors. But it is so embarrassing to have it suddenly start honking when you are in a gas line, just trying to put some gas in the car. The manual for that system alone is quite thick and offers no help. We've taken the car to the dealer and they can't seem to do anything. Ten years of embarrassment from an otherwise reliable car!

You've obviously got me started off this morning! I know we all have lots of stories.

Hope your weekend goes well and that your technology treats you nicely, Charlotte.

charlotte g said...

Clair, this is exactly what I thought. Third world country. I hope our education hasn't really sunk so low, but I see a huge difference between my granddaughter who had G&T all the way and her sister in the same schools. It is scary in terms of information saving and the future.

charlotte g said...

Clair. Loved your chiles. Here is a New Mexico recipe: Get a nice pork roast, the good one. Take 12 of your dried peppers and whip them in your Cuisinart or food processer, leaving you pulp and no skin. Finely chop three garlic bubs and burrow in holes in the roast, along with the roasted chile pulp. Pepper and maymbe a little cumin too. Smear the pulp over the roast (wear gloves.) Cover for 24 h084w, Bake at 300 degrees till done, serve with roasted sweet potatoes and pico de gallo. Or if you prefer, chopped tomatoes, onions, and chopped fresh cucumber. Cornbread or tortillas with. Leftover roast with flour tortillas the day after. Especially with pintos.

charlotte g said...

oops. forgot to say you have to boil the chilies for a few minutes to soften them.

clairz said...

This sounds delicious. Do you mind if I put it on my recipe blog (Recipes for Ben) for future reference? I'll be sure to give you credit.

charlotte g said...

Try it first. I THINK I finally added all the instructions, but I may have left something out. And it's a great excuse to have s better than usual meal.