The Verizon Solution To Reducing Support Costs

verizon
A little more than a week ago I noticed periodic lags streaming video to the TVs / laptops /tablets in my house. Prior to this, I was a happy Verizon FIOS customer, even being one of the first in my neighborhood to sign up for FIOS years back. Before calling support, I decided to do some simple troubleshooting. I ran pings to several locations on the internet, confirming the streaming issues directly correlated to packet loss. While the overall packet loss averaged about 6%, at times it jumped as high as 40%, particularly in evening hours. Performing a ping on each hop in the traceroute from my house to the hub in New York City, I was able to isolate the packet loss to a single router in Boston (130.81.29.252).

With this information, I called Verizon support and patiently followed instructions as a Verizon support representative made me perform what I like to call Stupid Router Tricks (i.e. reboot, reset, wait three minutes, rinse, repeat). After running the various tests, he concluded the issue was not related to my home router and arranged a callback from their escalation team.

Two days later I received this automated call from Verizon (paraphrased):

"This is Verizon calling about the recently reported trouble with your Verizon service. If the issue has been resolved, press 1. If the issue has not been resolved, press 2."

After pressing 2, I found myself waiting 20 minutes in a support queue. When I finally gave up waiting and hung up the phone, I learned the next day my case had been automatically closed.

The next day I opened a new case and gritted my teeth while another Verizon support representative made me perform more diagnostics. Eventually he too concluded we needed to escalate the issue, and arranged another callback. Two days later while driving in the car, I received another call from Verizon's automated phone system. I fumbled for the phone knowing that if I missed the call, the case would again be closed. I managed to answer in time, waited another 20 minutes, and spoke with a representative who agreed to work the issue and call me back. The following day I received this call:

"This is Verizon calling about the recently reported trouble with your Verizon service. If the issue is not been resolved, or you have other questions regarding your service please call us back to speak with the representative. Thank you for doing business with Verizon. Goodbye."

This process has now been repeated two more times, each time requiring me to open a new case, and each time resulting in an automated system randomly calling me back. Failure to answer = case close. Failure to wait 20+ minutes to talk to a representative = case closed. Successfully answering and waiting for a representative who agrees to call you back = case closed.

I'm sure there is an executive in Verizon who has reviewed metrics like time to close and number of cases per representative, and concluded this new automated callback system has substantially increased efficiency. In my case, Verizon has closed four cases for me in less than 1.5 weeks, each case open for no more than three days. Unfortunately my video still lags and I have 6 % to 40% packet loss on my internet traffic.


Update June 5: Verizon has decided_ that even though the issue appears not related to my home router, they need to send a technician to my home. We setup an appointment for Thursday and hung up the phone. Today I received an automated call from Verizon requiring me to call them back and confirm my appointment or it will be cancelled. ;)_

Update June 6: Tech arrived on-site. He tested my "speed" and said everything looked "fine." My wife asked: "Is speed the same thing as packet loss?" He said, well, not really, but: "I'm not technical." He left committing to having a network technician call me back.

Update June 7: The below message came from Verizon's automated callback (apparently this was my network technician calling back):

"Hello, this is Verizon calling. The problem was found in your home. Please contact us if you have any questions. Thank you for doing business with Verizon."