A month ago the DSL line went down, and I phoned EarthLink customer support in friendly downtown Bangalore. So much for chance of getting effective support.
The topic of off-shoring is worthy of many log entries by itself. In the context of this essay, however, the only issue it raises is the impossibility of getting adequate service from Indian staff. My experience has been 100% unpleasant. The low-wage, respectful Indian employees follow and seem to believe every single thing the company has told them. They use no independent thought, and are as responsive as a telephone automated attendant.
In this most recent case, the EarthLink representative strictly followed his trouble-shooting triage instructions. He had me reboot, power off every piece of equipment in exact order, rub my belly while patting my head, and do other unnatural acts which did not remotely relate the problem I was reporting. I cooperated for about 20 minutes of the nonsense; then I asked to talk to a supervisor. Of course, none was available. Since I was unwilling to continue down the illogical triage tree, the representative said he would have a second-level engineer call me back.
I didn’t wait for the call — good thing, too. It never came.
In a peak of consumer self-righteousness I dialed the 800-number of the cable company, RCN. Still hot from my waste of time with Bangalore, I jumped on the RCN representative who answered the phone and demanded to know where he was located. Some place in New York state. He said the tech support were elsewhere in the building. No, they didn’t use any services from India.
I signed up.
I also switched one of our two home phone lines to RCN, and shivered with the thought of how SBC/Pac Bell was likely to screw up the cancellation of service for 1/2 of our house.
On the scheduled day at the appointed hour, the RCN installer arrived at our house. He got our very fast cable Internet service up and the phone switched over. There were some minor problems. The most important was that the forwarding of no-answer/busy calls to my cell phone was not set up for a day. Even so, my trouble calls to RCN support were answered by English-speaking, American-sensibilities-understanding competent staff.
I had figured a day or two of work would be lost fighting the change-over technical battles. Nope. I was working later the same afternoon. We have had no problems with the cable or phone system, and it’s been up a month. Wow.
RCN. I recommend them.