post by Stephanie Nelson
I apologize in advance for the length of this post. But to make my point, you kind of need to know the whole story…
My Windstream saga started on Friday, August 30. I work from home most days, so a steady, reliable Internet connection is a must for me, since a good 99% of my job is working in various social media outlets. That Friday afternoon, my Internet was going in and out, but since we’d never had an outage of more than an hour or so, I didn’t call customer service about it.
Saturday morning, however, our Internet was completely out. My partner called customer service, did the troubleshooting, discovered there was a problem with our modem and set an appointment for Thursday. Since I was standing there, I mentioned that Internet-based marketing businesses can’t run really well without an Internet connection. So that customer service lady told us the ticket would need some time to show up in the system, but if we’d call back the next day and have the account changed from a residential account to a business account, we’d be eligible for the priority business appointments, and she could see there were plenty of those open on Tuesday. (No service calls would be done on Monday because of Labor Day.)
So bright and early on Sunday morning, I got up and called Windstream’s customer service again, just as we’d been instructed. I got a rep named Mark. I gave him the whole spiel about troubleshooting being done, needing to change to a business account and get a priority business appointment for service. Blah, blah, blah. Mark was quite obliging and nice as he told me only the business department could handle that and he’d try to connect me. When he came back, he let me know that the business department was closed because it was the weekend. I paused for a minute, wondering why we’d been told to call back that day if the department that had to help me would be closed. I guess I was quiet for too long because Mark piped up with, “If you can just call back tomorrow, we can get you all set. And I see there are plenty of business service appointments on Tuesday, so it shouldn’t be a problem to get you into one of those.” Knowing the next day was Labor Day, I said, “Tomorrow’s Labor Day. Are you sure the business department is open? I really don’t like to have my time wasted.” To which Mark responded, “Oh, yes ma’am! I’ve already confirmed that. They open at 8am. And they can get you into one of those Tuesday appointments as soon as your account is switched over.”
Monday morning, I again woke up bright and early, got a little coffee so I’d be coherent when I got my account switched to a business account and got that Tuesday appointment, then set to calling Windstream…again…the third time in as many days. This time I got a fellow named Stuart at about 8:15am. I went through the whole story…again. And again, I got the news that he’d try to connect me to the business department. Guess what happened when he came back. The business department was closed for Labor Day! I did my best to remain calm as I asked why Mark had told me differently. Of course, Stuart didn’t know. But again, if I could just call back the next day, they could get my account switched over and get me into one of those Tuesday appointments that were still open.
Tuesday I called again, having cleared my calendar for one of these elusive Tuesday business appointments I’d been promised all weekend. Through a series of connections and disconnections and transfers, I ended up with Britney, then Tammy and eventually Mrs Robinson in the business department. Mrs Robinson got to be the one to raise my rates for transferring to a business account. But it wasn’t by much, and if it would get me into one of those Tuesday appointments, I would take it! When the switch was complete, I gave Mrs Robinson the run down on why I’d switched my account. Naturally, she couldn’t help me, but she would transfer me to the department that could. She said there might be a problem with dispatch putting me into one of those appointments because they might still see my account as residential, but if I would just give them the order number for the switch (which she provided), that should clear up any troubles.
As she transferred me back, I was disconnected again. So I called AGAIN. And I again got Britney. I went BACK through the story with her, and she told me there was nothing she could do to help me. I explained that Mrs Robinson told me she might say that and offered the order number. She replied, “I can SEE the order. Dispatch says you’re not a business customer yet.” We went round and round for a few minutes between “Mrs Robinson said…” and “I KNOW that, but I can’t do anything.” I asked to get a manager involved, which got the response of putting me on hold then coming back to me with, “Yeah. My manager said I was right. There’s nothing we can do.” I broke down into sobs so hard that I couldn’t even speak, so I got off the phone…and took to Twitter. My first tweet said:
“.@Windstream Done all you’ve asked, got rate hiked in process, & STILL can’t get my mktg biz back up til Thurs? NEVER had such bad cust svc!”
AK* from the @Talk2Windstream handle responded, and after a series of tweets, we got me scheduled for an 8am to noon appointment for Wednesday…or so I thought.
Noon Wednesday came and went with no Windstream tech. So I took to tweeting every 15 minutes the status of my Internet service, my marketing business, the joys of being a small business owner with “nothing better to do than wait.” There was virtual silence from from AK at @Talk2Windstream, though she did weigh in more often once I think she realized I wasn’t going away. The tech finally showed up at 3pm, and was done and gone by 3:15, to which I tweeted:
“3:15. @Windstream tech is done and gone. All that lying and runaround for 15 minutes. Want to be thankful, but…”
Probably not the nicest tweet I could’ve sent, but was as nice as I could muster in the moment. But then, after 6 minutes, I got this:
I’m sorry. Who are you, @WIN_Connects?!?!? And why are you jumping in on this conversation, telling me you’ve moved my appointment a day ahead, when I’d been told be 4 people in 6 calls that it’d be fixed on Tuesday?!?!? (If you know me, you know there were some expletives thrown in there, as well.) This lit me up, so I started tweeting to this handle, asking this person to explain him/herself. To date, there’s been no response from this handle. I only got a response when I tweeted:
“Looks to me like @Windstream should get the snotty intern off the @WIN_Connects handle & fill the spot with someone who knows social media.”
The response was from my trusty buddy AK at @Talk2Windstream. She said she was sorry I felt that way, but asked how my Internet service was going and if there was anything else she could do. I responded that my service was fine, and she could help me get answers about the lies I was told since @WIN_Connects had gone silent. I then sent a second response letting her know that I’d have been done with this after the tech left if it hadn’t been for the snotty tweet then silence from the Connects handle. Her response? She didn’t even know why the Connects handle had tweeted me in the first place!!! But she did add that she’d passed along the info about my being told the problem would be fixed on Tuesday so it could be investigated. I promptly thanked her for being the only person at Windstream to follow up on what she’d said.
So did social media come to my rescue? I’m still undecided. The appointment did get moved up from what had been set up on the original call. But it didn’t help meet the promises made by all those other folks. And it did add a generous amount of stress to my holiday weekend + the day or two after.
And if you’re wondering how I managed to limp SBN Marketing along for 5 days with no Internet service? All I can do is send my thanks out to the universe for (a) an iPhone with an unlimited data plan and an app that make that phone into a hotspot, (b) a GENEROUS friend that offered her home and wifi as my office and (c) restaurants and coffee shops with free wifi.
* I’m assuming AK is a guy. I have no way of knowing this for sure.
UPDATE: AK reached out after this post originally went out. She is a lady named Amanda, so I have updated the post appropriately. She also mentioned that the tweet from @WIN_Connects was incorrectly sent from that account, and that has been corrected as well.
** If you want to see the whole string of tweets, they went out from @StephanieNelson. The drama started Tuesday, September 3 and lasted through Thursday, September 5. You won’t have to search hard for the tweets. That was most of what I sent those couple of days.