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Do they know what they are talking about?

by Pretender / November 7, 2003 10:30 AM PST

I'm wondering if anyone knows of a site on the internet that attempts to check the tech support of different ISPs to determine if the tech support people appear to be qualified to provide solutions to their own ISP problems and/or questions.

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Re:Do they know what they are talking about?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 7, 2003 11:04 AM PST

Sadly, no. I will write that AOL and MSn have their own little world of support. Earthlink has done some work with placing common errors on their website as well.

That covers most places that many call into.

But my experience is that I still get a new person from time to time that doesn't know what ping, traceroute, nslookup and more commands are.

I'm not here to start a war of any kind, but the outsourcing of such support is to a place where some of the support people can't afford DSL, Cable or even modem internet access at home. They don't use such, but have a job that attempts to support others.

Reminds me of the story about an Air Traffic Controller that at the end of the day would go downstairs at the end of the shift and bicycle home. Has this person ever been on an airplane? The answer was no.


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Re:Re:Do they know what they are talking about?
by jmgb / February 20, 2004 11:22 PM PST

I?m with u Bob. Unfortunately, the big ones on this business are looking for cheap employees. Most of them are Systems Students, but what happens to this people is that they are good learning the subject, but they have not faced the problem, and what they recommend is just what they see on a manual. My brother started his Systems studies a year ago, and he know has a job offer with a Cable Connection Provider. They didn?t ask him for any knowledge or experience, they just said they would pay for answering the phone.

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Please accept this as "humor."
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 21, 2004 12:59 AM PST

And they called him "Phone-boy."

Such people act as the firewall from customers to the company...

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You're right - ISP Tech support people are not all that well qualified...
by JCBrent / February 26, 2004 5:52 AM PST

I'm with all of you...

I call for tech support, (all too frequently,) and 60% of the time I know a lot more than the people answering the phone...

I have also had a Line Tech from my Cable provider tell me that he has similar problems at at his own home (with things like DNS look-up and resolution,) and the cable company refuses to acknowledge these types of problems. This started to get really bad in May of 2003, and coincided with the addition of filtering on the servers. I am secretly told its and FBI thing for tracking terrorists etc. Which is probably why they won't acknowledge the problems. (I live in Metro Washington DC.)

They do look for the lowest cost employees but worse, they are instructed not to acknowledge some types of problems at certain times.

They usually tell me my second $125.00 dollar modem or second $100 router have gone bad, (both are 9 months old and are protected by a commercial APC Back-UPS.)

Even my local cable representative says that they are having problems and it is not my system or network.

It does get frustrating... but there is nothing I can do except grit my teeth and wait until the internet comes back up in a few minutes, (or hours.)

I don't think we can beat city hall...

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Re:Do they know what they are talking about?
by Eandka / February 26, 2004 6:37 AM PST

Usually, my ISP tech support is quite good, although it took me three tries recently before somebody figured out why my new e-mail account wasn't working-
apparently, my ISP doesn't allow addresses
which begin with a number. Whether or not that's true, the account starting working immediately I added
a letter at the beginning.

At least no one suggested I remove the battery
as someone at Dell did recently; or tell me I had
to wipe the hard drive clean and re-install
everything in order to get scan disk working
again in non-safe mode. Good thing I didn't
listen because scan disk started to work
again without any action on my part. Eandka

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Re:Do they know what they are talking about?
by daii / February 29, 2004 12:46 PM PST

i upgraded my connection,to me i could not see any difference
tech support"you are connecting to a slow site"
two and half months later no connection
"the problems at your end"
ten days later it turns out that they forgot to tell the phone company of the change in line speed and when they switched me on there site to the new speed it switched off the connection
bearing in mind that i had been paying for the higher speed all this time they gave 7 days credit.
they have the apprentices answer when you first phone and they go through a set proceedure,if they cannot fix the problem then they refer to someone more qualified.
i suppose it keeps the costs down as the majority of people contacting them would have a simple problem

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Re:Do they know what they are talking about?
by jmsmith / February 29, 2004 2:38 PM PST

I have called several times to my ISP Server for help with problems. I am running Windows XP and DSL High-Speed Internet. I found my technical support people to be very informative and helpful. They also send out an e-mail following our phone discussion to outline what procedure was taken to solve the current problem I was having in case I have the same problem in the future. jms

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The truth about cats and dogs...
by aas88keyz / February 29, 2004 3:55 PM PST

Where would this forum be w/ out the other side of the fence? I work with Technical Support for a major broadband isp not mentioned. I am not here to neither defend nor offend.

First things first. Due to FCC regulations and certain city councels our region support is obligated to answer the call w/ in a certain time frame before fines and penalties are assessed. Understandable, fair enough. The resolution: Get them off your phones. 550 seconds average talk time. If we go over that time after a certain length of time we will be walked to the door immediately, no questions. This has been proven to be more than a threat on many occasions over the past month.

That was the ouch for corporate america. Now onto a related issue. We recieve an average of 65 calls a day. The job required atleast 2 years experience, a communications cert, and 3 months in training (including 2 weeks on the floor). We are paid reasonably well for our experience. Of those 65 calls a typical day will be seen as follows:
-10 calls power cycling cable modem
-10 calls power cycle router and cable modem
-5 calls potential outage
-5 calls schedule field tech/non phone resolution
-5 calls email client configuration
-10 calls spyware/adware/spam education
-20 calls request for non-communication support

We also have a contracted call center that supports our overflow call volume. 15% of our calls are supported by a multi contract center. Those employees are paid per call. By their notes in the account I don't expect them to have anywhere near the education/experience.

Final note: Everyone has a resolution
(my opinion--and only my opinion)
It is understood that we are free tech support. It is also understood that not all tech support is free. We are communications specialists though most of us do have an extensive computer and mac background. Sympathy creates oversupporting. oversupporting causes high call times. I am a oversupporter. I am on a probationary period for extensive call times. If it continues I will lose my job. Though there are many elements I see one major resolution. ISP Techs supports ISP issues. This will lower call volume, lowering the cost of contracters, and develope more training and education centering on communication issues.

Please support your local ISP Technicians (ok...atleast some of them) by following this request. If you do not have an internet connection call your ISP. Contact your OEM if you have any of the following issues: virus; antivirus; adware; spyware; firewalls; home networking; installing printers/scanners; software training/installation; system restore; reformatting; back-ups; how does the computer turn on, cable channels come in fuzzy on monitor, mouse is chasing cat, blue screens of death...

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Thank you for that one.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 29, 2004 9:14 PM PST

It's been my experience as well that "other" issues cause call for support that shouldn't be directed at the ISP.

Your reply was refreshing to read and clearly you would get points if this forum had such a system.


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Re:The truth about cats and dogs...
by Malkavian / March 2, 2004 11:28 AM PST

I have to agree on both sides of the fence as well. I have been on both sides of the fence and have had people call asking software related questions to the ISP support people and then the customer gets upset because your not qualified to answer the software question. Some actually believe that all computer support is inclusive, just like all government agencies are interconnected and share information. I'm here to tell you, this is not so. I've work tech support and now I work for the feds.


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Re:Do they know what they are talking about?
by amigadude / February 29, 2004 9:05 PM PST

I really don't think so. I signed up for the Netscape ISP program. I was having problems accessing my e-mail account. I had to use a workaround in order to check my e-mail at Netscape?s ISP URL because I could not do it through the Internet Explorer browser which automatically launches upon activation of the Netscape ISP toolbar. Making a new personality in Netscape 7.1 helped to alleviate that problem. I contacted Netscape technical support with regard to Internet Explorer launching. Unfortunately the answer caused me a waste of time on something that was not the right solution.

As I explained to the tech support guy I do not have a designated browser because of the bad experience that I had with IE launching whenever I would click on a URL from my Netscape browser. I explained that I know that IE loads with Juno or Netzero and that's a given.

Anyway to make a long story short he gave me a toll call telephone number for tech support from Microsoft for help in reconfiguring IE. Wrong answer. I canceled the Netscape ISP account.

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Re:Do they know what they are talking about?
by pekes2 / March 1, 2004 12:19 AM PST

I have Netins ( Iowa ) and there are times that problems arrise, sometimes of my own doing. The Techs have been able to talk me through every time and sometimes if they were not busy went through and helped me understand my PC better.

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Re:Do they know what they are talking about?
by jhnpawl / March 1, 2004 6:55 AM PST

With my ISP, they, charge $1.98 a minute for "so called help". I had a problem that I could resolve, though, I generally resolves 99% of my own probles but this time I figured what the heck I would spend a couple minutes and same myself some frustration. Some two hours later after having been, placed on hold while they asked others for help, they finally came up with I needed to format my Hard Drive, which was totally wrong. After I hung up disgusted. I went ahead and methodically diagnosed the problem and ellimated one area from another and found the solution.
Managed to forget about the call until I got my bill. $237.60. Needless to say I won't ask my ISP for any phone help and thats for sure. All I can say is "Buyer Beware"

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Re:Do they know what they are talking about?
by GordonAyes / March 4, 2004 2:05 PM PST

I've had pretty good luck with Tech Support at Comcast about my ISP for cable internet connection. I've had a LOT of contact with them for several different reasons, & there have been several confusions with getting hardware line repair (the connections out from the pole to my house), but the people I have talked to on the phone has almost always were polite, knowledgeable, and cooperative.

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