making changesPosted: March 21, 2011
Over the last few months our DSL Internet speed had gotten extremely slow. We've always been in a marginal location for DSL, but things had recently gone seriously downhill. I work from home most of the time, and Terry works strictly from home when she's not travelling. The slow speeds had an effect on our productivity. In the evenings when we listened to KCSM online we were constantly having to restart the player. Some evenings we had to shut it off entirely and listen to something else. Podcast and Great Courses downloads were painfully slow.
We decided we had to do something. We were constantly getting mailings from Charter cable advertising television, Internet, and phone bundles. So I called and spent a while on the phone with a very friendly and helpful Charter representative. It took me a while to convince her that we did not want phone, but when I explained that we had four lines (our home line, my business line, plus Terry's business and fax lines) she finally got the message.
I had called on Saturday. We were pleased that they were able to install on Tuesday. The installer showed up over an hour after the end of the installation window. But once here he got off to a good start, running a new line for the Internet router in my loft. He obviously ran out of steam, though, because after installing the upstairs television properly, downstairs he just ran a cable loosely around the living room instead of installing a new outlet. But by this time it was after 4:00 pm and he had been there for more than three hours. I pretended I didn't see it and signed the paperwork. The other issue was that he didn't have a DVR, and we had ordered DVR service downstairs. Didn't he even look at his work orders at the start of the day? In any case, I thought I'd call the next day and get this all worked out. That's where Charter customer service became impressive.
He had not been gone ten minutes when the phone rang and I got an automated phone survey from Charter. The last question was, "Were you happy with the installation?" I punched the response for No. I was asked "Do you want to speak to a representative?" I punched the response for Yes. I was transferred to a Charter customer service person. I have to say that I love talking to Charter's call center. It is somewhere in the South, and the people there are most pleasant to speak with. The woman was quite helpful and said someone could be out the next day between three and five to wire the downstairs outlet properly. Then she put me on hold to ensure that a DVR would be available. She got back on the line and said that there would definitely be a DVR on the truck the next day. I was happy. I got on the treadmill.
While I was on the treadmill the local Charter contractor called and told Terry that they could be there in five minutes with the DVR. Terry asked if they could take care of the wiring as well. They said they certainly could. It was fifteen minutes, but so what.
The service man started by running a new cable for the outlet on the correct side of the room. (Why the original guy didn't do that at the same time he ran the cable for the Internet, I have no clue. They follow the same path.) I finished on the treadmill, and after I got out of the shower Terry and I swapped placed so she could go upstairs and take a bath. The doorbell rang and another guy from the Charter contractor was there. He was obviously a supervisor. He apologized and took pictures of the loosely strung cable with his iPhone. He then went outside to help the other serviceman.
It was after 7:00 pm by the time they were done, but they had done the job right and had done the job well. By the time they left the house Charter had two very happy new customers.
So now we have fast Internet which delights us no end. (Speeds can vary greatly, but we knew that going in.) We have cable TV instead of DirecTV satellite, and there are some trade-offs there, but trade-offs we can live with. More on those trade-offs tomorrow.