[thelist] This ISP has got the idea!!

Seb Barre sebastien at oven.com
Wed Oct 18 15:54:59 CDT 2000

At 01:17 PM 10/18/2000 -0700, you wrote:
>>yet they can barely find the power button on their machine, let alone 
>>understand that the modem uses the phone line to connect to the Internet,
>how do you learn, but by doing?

Exactly, but not by spending money BEFORE you know how.  Would you drop 
your kid in a car and tell him to go on the highway and just "figure it out 
as you go" so he/she can learn how to drive?   I think not..

>>or how a browser works.
>how DOES a browser work?

Sorry, let me word this differently.  "What is a browser, what's it 
for?".  I was referring to people who didn't even understand the concept of 
surfing web pages.

>>   Many of them expected us to give them tech support for their whole 
>> computer, or TEACH them how to use the Internet once they signed up.
>Many ISPs provide these services (particularly the latter) via free 
>classes it's a "value added" service.

We didn't.  It wasn't advertised, promoted or implied anywhere.  And I'm 
not talking about classes, I'm talking about someone calling up tech 
support and trying to monopolize an agent for an hour or more to ask him 
for explanations on things that aren't reasonable.   If you watch a show on 
TV and you want to know where you can buy something you saw on TV, do you 
call your cable provider?  If you can't figure out how to program your VCR, 
do you call the cable company?

>>WE should be holding his hand all the way and guide him throughout the 
>>entire Internet..  yep.. that's what we should do.
>it's called "customer service."

No, that's called teaching a course.  Customer service is providing help 
and information within the scope of the service we offer.  ISPs aren't 
content providers, they are access providers.  Therefore, if something goes 
wrong with the access, we will help you.  If you can't figure out how to 
navigate through cnn.com, or where to download that little screensaver you 
saw on someone's screen at work, that's not our problem.  And you'd be 
surprised how many times we _did_ help people out with things like that, 
but there is a practical limit to how much you can help someone before it 
becomes a problem, and for a clueless customer to hog an agent for an hour 
while other customers wait in the queue is unacceptable.

>At this point I should say I've never worked in tech support and I do hear 
>it's the job from hell.  But if you can't remember the last time a 
>computer made YOU feel stupid, maybe you've been doing this so long, or do 
>it so well, that you are unable to be sympathetic to beginners.

That clears up alot.  One of the first things you have to understand is 
that you must look at the global picture.  Like I said earlier, what makes 
more sense, spend an hour on the phone trying to get some guy to understand 
the basics of the Internet, when he could easily pick up "The Internet for 
Dummies" or take a Saturday course, or spend that hour helping 10 other 
customers fix their email clients or troubleshoot their TCP/IP because it 
got wrecked when their kid installed TweakMTU and broke the connection?  I 
think it's obvious.  Don't get me wrong, I'm a really helpful guy, and I 
can sympathize that the Internet can be very intimidating for non-technical 
people or people who are trying it for the first time, but if that person 
doesn't take the time to figure that out BEFORE they spend money, or take 
their time and expect to understand everything from day one, then that's 
their fault and they get what they deserve.

>The fact is that the Internet is important, it is not an exclusive club, 
>and if an ISP wants new customers, it will have to figure out what to do 
>about new users.

And on that same note, each user who wants to get onto the Internet should 
understand that it's not the easiest thing to do, and that they should be 
prepared to have to spend some time learning from appropriate sources.  Any 
time you decide to commit yourself to something, you should understand what 
you're getting into BEFORE you do it.  That's one of the biggest issues I 
have with the world in general.  People seem to be unwilling to take 
responsibility for their own actions or mistakes, arguing that someone 
should have warned them or protected them from harming themselves.  Hence 
the excessive amount of warning labels and safety measures in place in 
today's world, as everyone fears lawsuits from people who fail to properly 
evaluate things before they go ahead with it.

>>I've heard customers say things that would make you cry, and I've had to 
>>listen to countless customers bitch at me because THEY didn't do their 
>>research, and they expected everything to just work perfectly the first 
>>time without any involvement or research by them.
>I've had my ISP insist that I couldn't get mail because I didn't have my 
>preferences set correctly, when in fact the problem was on their 
>end.  I've had my site go down and the guys are at their other job and 
>can't be reached by phone.

That's a separate issue.  We never did that.  If our service was down, we 
were straight-up about it.  Always.  I've dealt with that while I had ADSL 
through Sympatico, and I know how frustrating it feels..  You get no 
argument from me there.

>>hordes of people that are rushing to the Internet like lemmings to a cliff..
>You think people should be given some kind of intelligence test before 
>they're allowed to dial in?

Yes I do actually.  Just like people have to pass a driving test before 
they can get into a car.  Funny you should bring that up.  Maybe not an 
intelligence test, but some kind of maturity and ability test.  Of course 
that's just a tech support pipe dream, but oh well.  =)

>>  It's all about pandering to your target market.
>I don't know about the word "pandering," but otherwise, I agree.

I hold a very low opinion of marketing and advertising..  I tend to demean 
it whenever I can.

--- -- -
Seb Barre - sebastien at oven.com
OVEN Digital Toronto
Work: 416-595-9750 x 222
Mobile: 416-254-5078

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