I fired Speakeasy today. They had been my ISP for the last year and a half or so. For the most part I’ve been happy with them. Uptime was never a problem, nor was bandwidth. However, the customer service — which along with their liberal terms of service was what I originally hired them for — took a huge nose dive when I tried to move my service to my new home. Here’s a brief timeline:
I fill out the form on Speakeasy’s web site to move my service from my old home to my new home. Later on in the day I receive an “Out of Office AutoReply” from the person presumably responsible for setting up such a move. The response suggests that he’ll be back on the 23rd
The first scheduled date for my install. At some point between 8:00am and 12:00pm they’ll be sending somebody over to hook me up. When this doesn’t happen, I go down to the coffee shop, check their on-line status form and discover that my install had been postponed. How I was supposed to know this while at home, without internet service, waiting for the installer is beyond me. It’s worth noting that Speakeasy never used the up-to-date contact phone number to call and let me know that the install was off.
The reason stated for the delay was “too many white spaces” in a form going between Covad — Speakeasy’s line provider — and Verizon. When I called in to see what was up, I was given a number for an “install coordinator” who would, I imagined, coordinate the install.
Install, part two. I go in to work and learn via Speakeasy’s on-line status form by the middle of the day that once again, and for the exact same reason — white space for Verizon — the install isn’t going to happen. It’s re-scheduled for Friday. Once again, no phone call from Speakeasy.
Third try, third cancel. Again I learn of this through the on-line form and not proactively from Speakeasy. I talk to somebody at Speakeasy who tells me that they finally cleared up the issue between their subcontractors and, honest, somebody will be by next Tuesday to get it installed.
There are two installs scheduled today. One is a regular phone line installed by Verizon. The other is the dedicated line for the DSL connection. (I didn’t have a land line at my old place, and for the sake of simplicity I elected to just move my service rather than move and change it.) At the end of the day there’s a note in the door from Verizon saying that the phone line is in and that Covad should have no trouble doing the work to get the DSL line in.
A quick trip to the coffee shop reveals that Speakeasy’s on-line status page hasn’t been updated. I call to find out what’s up, this time a little ticked, and am told that Verizon hadn’t gotten back to them and that they probably would first thing in the morning. They had better.
Sure enough, there’s an update around noon saying that the final install will be done on the 22nd. That’s a full three weeks after it was supposed to be done, which is nuts, so I call in and ask if it couldn’t happen sooner. It turns out that they usually give their clients time to plan the install dates, which is why they pushed it so far out. I’m allotted an earlier time later on that week.
At home again doing the 8:00am – 12:00pm thing. At 11:30 the Covad guy shows up to work his magic, and within ten minutes he tells me that Verizon never did install the second line and that he can’t do his work.
Waltz. Tango. Foxtrot.
I call Speakeasy and get all manner of “we’ll open a ticket with Verizon.” We explore some other options and come up with 5-7 business days as being the earliest that they could get me up and running. In 5-7 business days, I could get less expensive yet higher-speed service from somebody who hadn’t been jerking me around for the last three weeks, so I tell them to cancel my service.
Things like this happen all the time. You can’t hire any service without there being some sort of glitch. There are several things, however, that make this a fireable offense. First and most damning is that not once did Speakeasy call me to let me know that they weren’t going to do what they told me they were going to do and indeed what they had me agree to stay home from work to let them do. That’s crazy. They had a contact phone number. It was up to date. There was no reason for them not to use it. Missing a deadline is bad. Missing a deadline and wasting somebody’s time is awful. Shame on you, Speakeasy.
Next is that every time I talked to somebody at Speakeasy the attitude I got was “we’re sorry, but really it’s Covad/Verizon’s fault.” You know what? I don’t care if it’s Covad or Verizon’s fault. I’m not paying Covad or Verizon. I’m paying Speakeasy. If you’re screwing something up — and if subcontractors you’re paying are slipping, you are indeed screwing up — it’s your fault. Own up to it.
Finally was just the number of slipups. Any one of them I would have let slide, and indeed did let three blown deadlines go. All four of them together, on the other hand, are pretty hard to ignore. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me won’t be fooled any more than four times in total.
So now I’ve hired DSLExtreme for about the same price and double the speed. Their install estimate? 5-7 business days. But they’ve blown four fewer install dates than Speakeasy so far this year, so they get the nod.