Tech Support

I believe ISPs find out my job title and spend extra support time with me just to see how long it takes for me to snap.

Something in the way I call in must say to the tier one specialist, "I work with computer systems and network equipment all day.  If possible, please speak to me as though I know nothing."

I'm trying to set up an internet account at TG's apartment.  She already has cable for free but no internet.  I volunteered to have it in my name and get it all set up.  Time Warner had a special so I called.  After paying a deposit (don't ask) we got the equipment for a self install.  It's super easy and stupid if you don't.  You get the cable from the wall to the modem, modem get your network cable to the wireless router, done.  Some times you'll need to configure your wireless but that's a different story and there's easy software for that.  The communication between the wall, the modem and the wireless should be a no-brainer, unless there's a problem.

And there usually is.  Why?  Because I work in IT, so there will be a problem.

I get everything connected and of course it doesn't work.  Laptop sees the wireless, but gets no outside connectivity.  (I hate saying "I don't have the Internet" or "I can't connect to the Internet."  It's semantics but it drives me nuts.  Sadly it's the only thing even level 1 support people understand.)  I'm unable to reach outside addresses.  After doing the regular troubleshooting on my own I call support.

First thing is they can't find my account.  I'm already tweaked about the connectivity, now I'm double spiked about the account info.  Finally they are able to find it and it's because a different phone number was listed.  I called from my work number and despite giving them my cell number as the MAIN ACCOUNT number, they put in my work number anyway.  Okay, sorted, no problem.  Now let's look at this problem.

Can see your modem from where you are?

I'm going to stop and say that I understand why tech support people do this.  I'm sure there's a large slice of the pie chart that leaves things unplugged, loosely connected, soaking in the fish tank, set on fire or otherwise unable to function.  I'm not them, but I don't know how to tell them without making me look like a PowerDouche 4500.  So after trying to explain my circumstance and what I've already done, I just shut up and let them read their script.

Yes I see the small black box with the flashing green lights.

Okay I've checked all the connections.

Yes it's plugged in.

No oddly after those three steps I still can't get to the Interwebs.

The first guy at the local Time Warner office here in Austin, was nice enough though I had a feeling he was on the 9pm to 6am shift for a reason.  After running 2 hours of trouble shooting (mostly involved with me rebooting my laptop, which takes 59 minutes each time) he decides it's a software problem.  It may also be the memory.  And you should try taking the battery out and tightening all the screws.


Okay thanks dude.

I give up for the night because my head hurts from all the dumb.  The next day is too busy and we aren't done till late so I don't even try.  Today at lunch I get on chat because I mainly want to find out what's wrong with my account and why they can't find it.  I had no intention of troubleshooting mainly because I didn't think anything would come of it.  I'd already resigned myself to calling for a tech to come out or just bring the modem back to the local office and get a replacement.  But, while I was on the Time Warner Grand Help Chat You Save Time, Go Fun! I decided to actually mention my problem.  Here's what follows (edited for personal information.)

Jennie Jones:    Thank you for contacting Time Warner Cable. At the end of our chat you will be given the option of taking a brief survey. My name is Jennie. Please give me a moment while I access your account.
Jennie Jones:    Hello!
Jennie Jones:    Thank you for waiting.
Ben_:    sure thing
Jennie Jones:    You would like to know whether we provide service in your area. Correct?
Ben_:    No, I would like to make sure my account exists.  I signed up for service, got a self install kit, and it doesn't work.  When I call or email for support, I'm told my account doesn't exist.
Ben_:    So I'd like to find out why, maybe get an account number, and possibly set up a trouble ticket.
Jennie Jones:    Thank you for the information.
Jennie Jones:    I understand your concern.
Jennie Jones:    It'll be my pleasure to direct you to the right support in order to get this done for you.
Jennie Jones:    Since, I belong to the technical chat support for Time Warner Cable video services, we do not have access to check the status of the new order for the services.
Jennie Jones:    I would appreciate if you would contact our sales team at 512-485-5555 or 1-800-418-8848, as they are specially equipped to handle this type of request.
Jennie Jones:    The working hours are from, 7:30am - 9pm Monday -Saturday and 9:45am-9pm on Sundays.
Ben_:    So you can't look up my account?
Jennie Jones:    Let me try once again.
Jennie Jones:
May I know the account holder's full name, please?
Ben_:    Ben Rollman
Jennie Jones:    Thank you.
Jennie Jones:    May I have the complete address associated with the account, please?
Ben_:    (address)
Jennie Jones:    Thank you for the information.
Jennie Jones:    May I have the PIN on the account?  The PIN is a 4-digit number that was selected by you and it allows me to authenticate that you are an authorized account user. You are required to provide your PIN for all issues needing account information.
Ben_:    (pin) (by the way, it's not pin number)
Jennie Jones:    Thank you for the verification.
Jennie Jones:    Your account number is (numbers).
Ben_:    excellent
Jennie Jones:    I appreciate your patience and understanding.
Ben_:    Is your support for only TV?
Ben_:    You said video.
Jennie Jones:    I mention, Cable video services, which means cable service.
Ben_:    Okay, not road runner then, right?
Ben_:    Not that it matters, I wouldn't be able to chat with you if we started troubleshooting anyway. :)
Jennie Jones:    May I know you need assistance with which services?
Ben_:    When I call the local number, are there options for tech support?  Last time I called the local 485-5555 number I was then transfered to Austin as though I'd called a HQ number.  But I just called the local number.
Ben_:    Sorry, I have a cable modem, I'm not able to connect from multiple devices.  I've called a couple times and have been told it's a software issue.  It can't be.  If you have it, I could use some upper level help.
Ben_:    So, internet services.
Jennie Jones:    Thank you for the information.
Jennie Jones:    It seems that this issue needs to be escalated to National Road Runner support. We will transfer you to that support group.
Jennie Jones:    One moment please, while I connect you to our National Road Runner support.
Jennie Jones:    Again, my name is Jennie.  Thank you for chatting with Time Warner Cable.  We value you as a customer and are here to assist you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Jennie Jones:    Please wait, while the problem is escalated to another analyst
Irina:    Hello! Thank you for choosing Road Runner Internet Technical Chat Support. My name is Irina.How may I assist you?

(This is where I begin to worry.  I'm connected on my laptop via Clear, which is a little USB device that picks up a WiMax signal.  Before you ask, I only have one, so TG would have to wait till I'm not using it for her Mac and the Playstation would never be able to get it, hence the need for Time Warner.)
Ben_:    Hi Irina.  I have a new account, self install kit.  Cable modem, Netgear wireless router, PC MAC   PS3.  So far I'm unable to get online.
Ben_:    I've gone through some local connection configurations and tests and I'm left thinking it maybe a DNS issue or something wrong with the modem configuration.
Ben_:    The last person I spoke with said it was likely a software issue, but two of these devices connect to other wifi locations just fine.
Irina:    I understand that you are unable to access Internet connection , am I correct?.


Ben_:    Yes
Irina:    Thank you for confirmation.
Irina:    I am sorry to know this.
Irina:    I'm more than happy to assist you.  To get us started, I'm going to need to verify some security information and then we can move on to understanding your setup.  We will need to perform some troubleshooting steps together, and I'll be running some tests on my end.  Feel free to ask questions along the way.
Irina:    Before we begin, please provide the following three pieces of information to verify your account and to document this interaction for future reference:
1. The account holder's 10 digit telephone number. (xxx-xxx-xxxx)
2. The account holder's Full Name (First and Last)
3. Please tell us your name.


Ben_:    (number)
Ben_:    Ben Rollman
Ben_:    acct (number)
Ben_:    PIN
Ben_:    SSN (last four)
Ben_:    (Address)
Irina:    For some reason I am not able to pull your account details, may I have any other phone number that is registered with RoadRunner?
Ben_:    Try (work number)
Ben_:    You can't look it up by any of the other info I gave you?
Ben_:    I'm worried that TW's inabilty to find my account is somehow related to not being able to get online.  As though the account is inactive so tht modem hasn't been provisioned.
Irina:    I understand your concern.
Irina:    I regret this inconvenience.
Irina:    Please provide me with your Modem Mac id.
Irina:    It is a 12-digit number starting with  00  located on the back or side of your cable modem (the small box with the flashing lights). If there is more than one MAC ID listed we will only need the C-MAC, CM-MAC or HFC-MAC number specifically.

^ that's unedited BTW, the parenthetical phrase was all hers - the small box with the flashing lights.  God, my mistake ma'am.  This whole time I've been troubleshooting my toaster. 

Ben_:   (mac address)
Irina:    I am sorry to inform you that I am unable to locate your account with any of the information you have provided.
Ben_:    Then how do I have the equipment?
Irina:    Let me explain it to you.
Irina:    The issue you are facing is because your 12-Digit modem MAC address is not registered with our Road Runner local office.
Irina:    This process of getting your modem MAC address registered is called as modem provisioning.
Irina:    There is nothing much to worry about. I will provide you with one more alternate solution.
Irina:    You need to contact our local office and get this modem MAC address 001BD7FFABE6 registered with them over phone.
Irina:    Also I will provide you a ticket number, so that you will not have to explain the issue again.
Irina:    Can I provide you the number to call them?
Ben_:    Is it 512-485-5555?
Ben_:    And yes please, a ticket number would be great.
Irina:    The number for the department is 866-701-3588
They work 24x7.
Ben_:    Okay.
Irina:    Kindly hold on for a minute.
Irina:    Please make a note, your ticket number for this session is:RQST00079368472
Irina:    Just provide them the ticket number as I have put in special notes instructing them to do the needful and documented your chat against the same number.
Irina:    You can always visit http://help.rr.com for online FAQs to get more help and knowledge about the products and services offered by Road Runner.
Irina:    Is there anything that I can help you with?
Ben_:    Nope, will be calling immediately, thank you for your help.
Irina:    Thank you for contacting Road Runner Technical Chat Support, again my name is Irina, we value you as a customer.
Irina:    Analyst has closed chat and left the room

I know that was long, but it goes to show that a) I wasn't a dick b) I had given them all the information I had, including the steps I'd taken to solve the issue and c) that I kinda know what I'm talking about.  In the end it didn't matter, I'd have to make another call.

So I called the number Irina gave and I end up with an automated system.  After not finding my account again, I'm transfered to a technical support member.  I use the "call you back in X minutes" option and they do call me back.  I get Amanda who also can't find my account.  She then says, after I give me address, "Austin Texas?"

Yeees...as opposed to...?

"Oh honey, you're in a South Carolina call center."  She apologizes profusely and tries to find the right number.  The 485-5555 number?  I ask.  No, here's one, 202-bla-blah.  That's not Austin, I say.  Oh, well then yes the 584-5555 one.  Okay I said, but I'm worried.  I called that one the first time and they couldn't find my account either.  Okay, she said.  Let me just transfer you there.  The call doesn't go through and I have to call back.  So I call the local number and get Bob.

Bob was the man.  After all this, he asks what the problem is and I say, "I need to have my modem provisioned.  It's not letting any traffic out."  Bob's on it.  Okay, can you power it for me?  (That's tech for turn it off, wait ten seconds and turn it back on.  See, he already knows.)  I do, he sends a configuration file.  I power it again.  He says he can see it but it's not behaving.  He sets up a tech visit.  I say I can bring the modem to the office and swap it out.  "Yeah, but I'd hate for you to waste your time if it's something in the line and not the modem.  I'd do the trouble call and if you DO take it back and it works, just call and cancel."

Bob's the man.

The sad part is, after all this, the only person that didn't have a survey follow up was Bob.  Everyone else made damn sure I had a venue to tell them how unsatisfied I was.

Carry on.

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