Good Idea. Horrible Implementation

Monday, June 20 2005

As I write this I’m on hold with the fifth technical support representative at Vonage I’ve been passed to in a single phone call as they try to figure out why when people call my Oregon phone number they end up talking to a particularly disgruntled guy in LA who’s tired of taking my calls. This alone is a bad problem, but it gets worse.

The first person I spoke to at Vonage tech support was in India, and knew enough English to tell me they couldn’t help me and needed to transfer me to tech support (which I was diligent in picking from the automated menu in the first place). That person was obviously American, from the deep south. She knew enough English to tell me she couldn’t help me and said she needed to transfer me to tech support. The next person who answered the phone was in India. The pattern is getting pretty clear; I’m a buck that’s being passed across the planet because I have an atypical problem (I would assume, heaven help Vonage if I’m incorrect).

It’s really a shame, because I like Vonage for a lot of reasons. The price can’t be beat. They make use of an industry that I like to support in one way or another. They totally snub major phone companies that charge insane prices for something that is now a relatively simple operation (and for the most part, use the same technology as Vonage).

And then they go screw it all up by having terrible customer support that. As I finish this blog entry, I’m waiting for a call back from Vonage customer support, and I fear it’ll never happen for a particularly aggravating reason: he said “Can I have you cell phone number so I can call you back in a moment, my connection is bad”, though it was likely mine. I gave him my cell phone number, and he said “I’ll call you back at 502 740 9432” and immediately hung up, even though the number he repeated back to me had the wrong area code, and 3 of the remaining seven numbers were completely incorrect.

I will probably cancel Vonage tomorrow if I can’t think of any compelling reasons not to.