So You Have a Billing Question?

Woke up the other morning to find our landline + DSL dead. Connections look fine, but no dial tone. Began my safari through the SBC phone menu tree (via cell) to log a trouble ticket – a thoroughly unpleasant adventure which ultimately consumed 40 minutes spread over six attempts, using a combination of push-button input and voice recognition.

Attempt #1: Made it up to the point of them asking whether I had voice or data service (no option for both). Chose “data” and was told that this was the wrong number to call for data service questions. Knowing I should have chosen “voice,” since we have no dial tone, wanted to return to the start of the tree. No option to do so. Hung up.

Attempt #2: Thinking I knew the numeric input prompts now, tried entering menu choices before robot dude had finished speaking. Ended up dumped into the “I’m sorry, I don’t understand. Please wait while we connect you to a representative” queue. Fine, I thought – I’ll talk to a human. 15 minutes on hold and I gave up waiting, decided to try the menu system again.

Attempt #3: Cell phone dropped out 5 minutes into the navigation. Also: Getting annoyed that each time through the tree I have to enter my landline number, with area code, three times as I am apparently bounced between departments who have no intercommunication capabilities.

Attempt #4: Make it through to the part where I’m supposed to state the problem succinctly. “NO DIAL TONE,” I say, as clearly as possible. Right at that moment, Miles comes running up to me: “Daddy, look, I painted this dinosaur blue!” Robot dude: “So you have a billing question. Please wait while I connect you to our billing department.”

Attempt #5: See attempt #3.

Attempt #6: Make it all the way through to the part where they run an automated remote diagnostic on our land line. Robot dude: “Your line seems to be working properly. Please ensure that all handsets are in their cradles and all phone lines are plugged in securely.” As if that wasn’t the first thing we did that morning.

Had to get to work, gave up. Later in the day, Amy went through similar frustration but finally got through to a human, who scheduled an appointment “Between 8am and 6pm Friday.” So now she gets to hang around all day in the house with a 3-yr-old.

Webcasting Craig Newmark yesterday, he made a comment about running customer support for craigslist: “I just watch everything the phone company does, and do the reverse.”

Music: Modest Mouse :: Interlude (Milo)

4 Replies to “So You Have a Billing Question?”

  1. re: “So now she gets to hang around all day in the house with a 3-yr-old.”

    Woops. Felt bad for you guys until that one. I’d love an excuse to hang around the house all day with a 3-yr-old. Especially one who can explain the universe.

  2. Ah, don’t get me wrong – we *love* his company. He’s a totally groovy kid. But ALL three year olds are trying, especially late afternoon with no nap, and Amy gets to do it every day. It’s much easier when you can get out to parks, museums, play dates, etc. There’s only so much you can do in the house day after day before everyone gets stir-crazy.

  3. I need to reformat my MP3’s on my bell phone (A920) so I can use them as ring tunes if anyone can help me out e-mail me.


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