Saturday, January 20, 2007

Cell from Hell

"Unfortunately the system cannot process your entry, please try again later -- goodbye!"

This is the msg I got while trying to leave Doc some voice mail on his cell. Not that his mailbox was full, or that there is a preference for higher ARPU calls (since Doc and I have the same service from VeryHighZone). Just the equivalent of a fast busy, or translated into human communication: "go away while we deal with people who are paying us more". This is what customer relations has devolved to. Most people don't think about what is going on in these circumstances, but essentially two customers are being denied service that was paid for (not exactly cheap either!). I can only assume that because calls from other carriers generate more revenue, they are given priority over "in-house" calls.

We would never accept this from other business relationships: imagine getting your monthly magazine delivered only every other month, but still getting the full bill for renewal. Something tells me most people would be on the phone to the billing dept. But we quietly accept missed calls, dropped calls (there is a spot on HWY101 that drops my calls without fail), and numerous other outages or failure to deliver services paid for. And yet we pay significantly more for our phone bill than most other communication services! What bothers me most is that this may be where we are headed with the Net, if the carriers have their way. The walled garden approach is not only about keeping paying customers captive, but essentially holding them captive to other walled gardens in order to extract more fees. In this case it's called peering.