Wednesday, April 19, 2006

A BlogMad... "Hic-Cup". . .

Verizon UPDATE: I went to the Verizon store, and fortunately for me, Erwin was there. First, he offered me a 'loaner' phone until my renewal date, then, he went one step further and reviewed my account. Once he'd done that he said, you can upgrade whenever you're ready... It turns out the 26th was the day I got my last phone, so I could have upgraded two months ago!!

Once again, when I actually got to talk to the right person, I find my faith in customer service restored. So now I have a loaner phone, and we'll go in and revamp our accounts later this week.

Now here's the original post.

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That's what they're calling it... this 'corruption' that ate my Blogmad account...

Yep, that's right, the user name, password and the account, blog statistics etc... all gone, or so they claim. According to the front page of the site they have backups from ‘about’ 20 days ago... 20 days!!! WTF is up with that? Even my piddly web sites are backed up daily as part of the fees my hosting service charges... they do backups at Blogmad once a month??

I've emailed them, but I'm expecting no good news... if they've lost the info... they've probably lost me as well... too much time and effort 'building up' my internal 'BlogRank' to have carelessness wipe it all out...

Of course this is but a ‘part’ of, one of those weeks....

Just when you thought…

Everything was finally running along as smooth as silk, a little drama gets inserted, just to keep things ‘interesting’.

My cell phone died at some point on Monday night… as I was driving to work on Tuesday morning I realized I’d forgotten to tell my wife something and tried to call… nothing… Nada… zilch… then I notice the phone is ‘searching’ and has dropped ‘off the network’…

I thought, no big deal, it’s done this before, usually it’s an ‘upgrade’ issue of some sort… so I dropped my wife an email when I got to work, and asked her to call Verizon for me.

The tech folks at Verizon confirmed my belief that it was an upgrade issue and gave us instructions…. They also said, “…if that doesn’t get you connected, you’ll have to stop in to one of the Verizon centers” to get it resolved”… The instructions to fix it, didn’t, she took the phone to the store, I called last night, their verdict… the phone is DOA.

Ok, not all bad… I’m using my wife’s cell in the meantime… so I ask if I can get my “New in Two” upgrade credit now, instead of in 8 days… the answer,

Her: “No, let me give you the tech support number…”
Me: I’ve already called them, it was tech support who suggested I bring the phone to the store.

Her: Sir they would not have said that.
Me: So, you’re saying I made it up?

Her: Let me give you their number.
Me: I have it (read it back to her from the call list) and I’ve already talked to them

Her: well they can send you out a replacement if the phone is still under warranty
Me: I’m 8 days from the end of the contract, how could it still be under warranty

Her: Oh, then it wouldn’t be

Me: So… why don’t I just ‘renew’ my contract a few days early
Her: We can do that, but you can’t have the $100 off

This cycle repeated with slight variations about 4 times… until I said:

Me: “I’ve been a Verizon customer since Verizon started!... It’s only 8 days… do you really want me to go elsewhere to get a new phone and service provider?”

Her: “I’m sorry sir, we can’t do that… and Sir, no other carrier will give you $100 off on a phone…”

Me: “Really… you wouldn’t want to place a real money wager on that, would you? “


I ended the call… and I’m headed over there shortly… but I find myself wondering…

What happened to:

“If you have a problem, call us and we’ll make it our problem”

… or …

“You’ll have the power of the Network behind you” ???

Then, If that wasn’t enough there’s the “Oh shit” factor of the week…

What am I talking about?. . . More drama… Work this time… No... not personal drama, but a little professional drama. Nothing like something that could interfere with your ability to pay the bills to keep life interesting!

There’s been an executive decision, at the company I’m under contract to, to get out of one particular aspect of their business. Not an unusual business decision, as this type of thing is done every day in companies all over the world.

This particular decision though, leaves a number of the developers, systems and business analysts and some managers with jobs that will no longer exist once the exit is complete.

Kudos to the company, in that their primary focus is on reassigning existing employees into other jobs throughout the company. The first on the ‘gone’ list will, of course, be the contractors. This is, in my mind anyway, how it should be.

Despite the fact that I think the company should be commended for looking for ways to retain all full time employees first, and that it is the right thing to do, that decision still leaves me feeling very vulnerable to the “Thanks but” meeting.

I’ve mentioned in many posts how I believe this is an extremely well run company, this is just one more example of their commitment to their people, their belief that it’s the employees that make everything ‘work’.

If I fall under the axe, I know I’ll be disappointed. This has been one of, if not the, best contract I’ve ever worked. I’ve learned a ton about an industry I knew little or nothing about a year ago, and along the way I've built some interesting and useful applications.

Above all though, I’ve actually felt appreciated. Those of you who stop by here and are contractors know, it’s pretty unusual for a company to make a contractor ‘feel’ appreciated. I’ve gotten several letter (emails) of commendation, from my manager, as well as from the folks she reports to.

I know that these same folks are doing what they can to see that I’m still there when the dust settles, but, the stone reality is, they can only do so much.

I’m thinking I need to have a chat with my ‘contract house’, let them know what’s going on and see what they might have in the works, just in case.

It’s been a very interesting week so far… and this is only about half of it…

Anyone have a cell phone carrier they really like? I may just switch regardless of the final result at Verizon… At least I can make that decision for myself!!

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17 comments:

Dizzy Ms. Lizzy said...

Bill,

Actually, we have Verizon, and they have been pretty good for us. So guess we won't be any help there . . . sorry . . . :-)

Steve sent you the link to the NHRA posting by email. Check it out . .

Liz

Bill said...

Liz - Got it.. and fired off an email to them.. we'll see what happens. I'm hanging w/Verizon.. after all if they hadn't given me that loaner, I would have missed Steve's call!

Joe Fiala said...

I'm with you on the BlogMad foul up. Sheesh! Grrr! Arg!

Bill said...

Joe - I had like 400+ points in the 'bank' and had finally worked up to the rank of 'Great'... it was really a disappointment to see that happen... and there was no real excuse for it except a lack of proper planning... a real shame.

I'm sorry you got scrambled up in the mess too.

Dizzy Ms. Lizzy said...

Bill,
I just checked my BlogMad account also - - I have to sign up again. I keep getting the error message that my login is invalid.

SO - - back to Square One, I guess . . . . *sigh*

Technology - - ain't it GRAND?? :-)

Bill said...

Liz - Sorry to hear that... technology is grand, the way it's implemented however... often leaves a bit to be desired!

The only bright spot is that most of the other blogs were effected as well... misery does love company!!

I hope you're all back in line soon!

Lorna said...

I would be banging my already flattened head against some major bricks---how do you sound so calm?

Bill said...

Lorna - It's either, that I've come to the realization the life is too short to let things bother me too much... or the alcohol... I'm not sure which... but I might just have another beer! :)

Dizzy Ms. Lizzy said...

Bill,

I find that a nice glass (or three) of wine can make it SO much better . . . :-)

Firehawk said...

Bill,

We can be pleasantly surprised at times, but the sad fact is, customer service has gone the way of the dodo bird. For one thing, it's not always the rep's fault. If you don't empower a representative to "bend" a little for special circumstances, then they really can't do much for you other than state the rules. In addition, it's very common to meet a salesperson who has absolutely no knowledge of the real concepts behind what he/she's selling. Remember the days when you could go into a shop and get meaningful advice from the salesman? Gone. Now, people in sales are just displaced individuals who didn't make it in another field, often as not. They don't think of sales as a career, just a job. Jobs, as anyone can tell you, don't engender any pride. You go. You do what you have to do. You come home. No extra time, no extra effort is expended.

On the subject of Blogmad and backups, that's pretty poor practice. Once a month backups, or even once a week, when dealing with other people's important data, are not going to cut the mustard. Sorry you lost your stats, man.

As far as cell phones, I'm a babe in the woods. I've avoided getting one with every fiber of my being, and will continue to do so. I think I've only ever talked on one once. I'm probably considered a total caveman, especially since I work in the tech field, but I just don't want to be "within reach" when I'm out and about. I hope you find a good service, however. I'm sure that your particular job requires that sort of constant ability to communicate.

You've said many times how much you like your current contract position, but again, you've illustrated how tenuous those positions are. I suppose it's the price you pay for free agency, that uncertainty about the next month, and the one after that. I'm sure that you'll land on your feet, however.

Bill said...

Liz - and... anything more than three can sure take it all to a different (not better) level.

One or two... maybe three :) Can definitley smooth over a rough day.

Firehawk - I actually was very close to just giving up the phone as I rarely use it, except to return important calls when I'm away from a 'land line'... Unlike some guys I know, who've wired their phones into their helmets... I do NOT want to talk to anyone when I'm out on the bike!! Or fishing, working in the shop, mowing the lawn, or just hanging out talking with friends.

You're just exactly right about a lot of folks in sales... there are exceptions of course and I love to run across a pro when I'm shopping, but many in the biz, are, like you said, just doing the j-o-b.

You hit the customer service problem square on too... It's rare that there's any 'empowerment' in those positions... or many thanks... It's usually ticked off customers, and little they can actually *do* about it. Every once in a while though I meet someone in CS for who, it's not just a job... and they take pride in solving problems... I think a lot of companies would do well to rethink their service policies.

Your right about the job... it's both fun, and tenuous...the Yin/Yang thing... the higher the up, the lower the down, or so it seems at times.

Regardless of how it turns out... I'm still happier than I've been at work in a long time!

Thanks for stopping in!

Trevor Record said...

In regards to carriers: I'm using Rogers and it seems to be just fine. I don't know if you have that out in your kneck of the woods, however.

Flash said...

I just upgraded my Verizon phone and got their new RAZR. It's a sweet little piece of machinery there.

Though I do get in trouble with the camera part of it...

And I hate to say it, Verizon has given me no problem what so ever.

Bill said...

Trevor - Thanks, I think you're right though, I've never seen Rogers in this area.

Flash - I feel the same about Verizon.. I didn't want to change, and the RAZR is exactly the phone I've been looking at.

Thanks for the info, I'm just glad they came through in the end!

Comfort Addict said...

Bill,

I'm sorry that it was such a rough week. I lost my Blog Mad account, too. Since we get 50 credits for disclosing our profiles, though, I look on this as a bonus.

I, too, had an interesting Verizon experience. I had switched to Cingular a year ago because Verizon cheesed me off by suspending our service while we were on vacation (they mistakenly applied our payments to someone else's account). After a year, I got tired of Cingular's crappy reception and dropped calls and switched back. The Verizon guy on the phone totally mishandled my order. I finally straightened it out with a different guy.

Good luck on the work thing (I hope that you avoid the axe).

Bill said...

CA - Man, I was just glad it was over!! Sorry you got caught up in all of that too.

I does boil down to the people.. this guy Erwin (the manager) just has it all handled...

I've had several other carriers in the past, Verizon, hands down, has the best coverage (for me)... and they had a 'No Roaming charges" plan when no one else did... not as big a deal today, as it was say 5 years ago..

Thanks for the well wishes bro.. If I get the Axe... I just hope something nearly as good comes along!

BlogMad Support said...

Hello Bill, I would like to apologise for any inconvenience the DB crash caused you. If you e mail us at support@blogmad.net telling us any details you can remember regarding your account we can re instate both your credits and surfing rank. However depending on when you joined you may have to register again.

Please accept our apologies for any in convenience you experienced.