Bits from Bill

Technology thoughts leaking from the brain of "Bill Pytlovany"

Friday, January 11, 2013

Verizon FIOS Listened To Me on Twitter

When I switched to FIOS Internet in 2009 it was cheaper & provided higher upload speeds which weren’t even available from Time Warner. It was an easy decision to switch from Time Warner to Verizon FIOS. While not having a physical store seemed like an issue my experience over the past few days proved Verizon FIOS is determined to be #1.

If you don't want to read my entire experience just take my word. See if FIOS TV is available at your location. If it is, order it and be prepared to bring all your Comcast or Time Warner equipment back telling them to suck it.

Unlike FIOS for the Internet we weren't the very first FIOS TV install in our area. FIOS TV is completely digital which means all TV's require a box. Time Warner currently still sends analog channels so TV's without space for a box would work for lower channels. We stuck with Time Warner even though as a TiVo/cable card user I was forced to use an extra, flakey adapter because Time Warner used something called Switch Digital Video even though the government said they were supposed to wait longer.

Eventually, Verizon FIOS TV came out with a standard definition digital box that was small enough to fit behind the TV's in the kitchen and over our bath tub.

So we made the switch from Time Warner. Even though we called TW and told them we would be switching they refused to offer a better deal to keep us as a customer. They obviously didn’t learn how to keep customers during the relationship with America Online. They waited until two days after I returned all our DVR's before they called asking how they could keep us.

Our initial FIOS install did have some serious problems. I didn’t help that we don't have a typical media household but even after I had prepared a long blog post, Verizon did enough to make us happy.

This week we switched to an amazing new TiVo XL4 which instead of two cable cards only needs one for its four tuners. That meant I could use one from the TiVo I was replacing and return one saving us $4 a month.
Activating the new cable card was an easy process I could do over the phone without even speaking to a human. Everything went ok except of course for some reason the HBO channels didn't get the proper activation signal.
So I called and spoke to a human who was helpful and stayed with me until all our channels showed up. He wished me a Happy New Year and at my request forwarded me to the department that could send out a postage paid box allowing me to return the cable card I no longer needed.

The next lady was extremely personable (maybe too much) and quickly arranged for a free postage paid return kit. I figured while I was talking to real people and getting help I'd ask about getting an upgraded router that supported 802.11n. That would give us faster wireless speeds over our current 802.11b/g router supplied free by Verizon. She thought since I was a good customer it might be possible and she connected me to a tech she thought would help. He wasn't helpful at all and told me I had to go online. I had a bad feeling and knew I'd be tweeting about him.

So, I went online, searched and poked around. I even tried their Windows program called In-House Agent in hopes it might have an option to replace my router. Unfortunately, the In-house Agent gave me so many JavaScript errors I couldn’t use it.  Most people wouldn't see these errors but as a JavaScript programmer they kept popping up.

So, I did what would have eventually been a source to vent my frustration and share my experience. I Tweeted a short explanation about my FIOS experience.

In under 5 minutes the phone rang. It was Troy calling from Verizon. All he'd say was that he heard I had some problems reactivating my cable card and he was doing a follow up to make sure I had a positive experience. Troy did the one thing that all consumers request, he listened. Not only did he listen but he understood every step of the process I had experienced. He even understood how TiVo and FIOS TV worked together. He understood why I would benefit from a new router and knew about MoCA technology which I only learned about last week.

Troy found the router I needed. He gave me some tips to help me set up all my wireless devices since the new router would require all my devices would need to be updated with a new SSID and passcode. He let me know Apple devices would be case sensitive and that I should change the router password from its default for my security.

He arranged to overnight my router so I'd have it by Friday. He apologized because if it had been before 4 PM I'd have it the next morning.

So, for all of you who ask me tech advice I recommend switching to Verizon FIOS if it's available in your area. I'm told Time Warner is now charging people a monthly fee for a router.  As my grandson used to say, “That's dickulous.” I haven't even mentioned how the video quality is better with FIOS, the additional channels or any of the other reasons I've told people to switch in the past. 
As promised, my friendly UPS man delivered my new router today. On the bottom, my current ActionTec router provided by Verizon. Apparently, it’s so old they told me to keep it and not bother sending it back. On top is my new Actiontec MI424WR Rev. I. Apparently, this revision is only about a month old so it supports the most features available. Not only will I have 802.11b/g/n 2x2 WiFi, it supports Gigabit Ethernet, has 1.2GHz ARM CPU and supports the new 1.1  MoCA®(Multimedia over Coax Alliance)

It looks like my timing was just right to start the 2013. I’ll admit my rant today is based on just one experience with their customer support. It may not always work this well but if you haven't already guessed, I'm sticking with FIOS, TiVo and definitely Twitter. You should too.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Bill,
Very interesting to hear that Verizon listened to you, and why you changed.
I had the same problem here in Australia with
For several years I wanted ADSL...was told, "No ports available", month by month, waiting. I had to use a'wireless USB'(15g per month, and an extra account for a land-line phone)
We moved house half a kilometre to a new unit. Telstra..."No ports available". Even though 25 people/neighbours had ADSL, so I contacted IPrimus, an Aussie server, opened an account, connected to ADSL with 500g per month download allowance, plus no phone line rental, free local and interstate calls..
I rang Telstra, closed my account, when they asked why I said, "I have an account with another company." The reply, "There is no ADSL in your area." and not even a call to ask why they lost a long-standing clien. IPrimus, a gift card of $100.00 to say thanks. and Aussie techs (not Indians overseas) with a great support division.
Kind regards and thanks for Scottie.
John D Lord

2:18 AM  

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