Saturday, 27 September 2014

As Happy As A Cow


in a meadow full of juicy clover.

That’s me.

A week ago I needed to check the internet consumption on my iPhone. Vodafone told me I was nearing my monthly limit and would have to pay extra for further use.  Investigation was needed. There’s this handy app called ‘My Vodafone’ but, somehow, I couldn’t download it. Vodafone promised to help. “You’re not fully registered”, the chap said. “You need to be fully registered first, before you can download the app”. 

Not fully registered? I’ve used the phone for nearly a year and paid the monthly bill by direct debit.

The chap accessed my phone (with my permission), fiddled and faddled, registered it and downloaded the app. “Fine,” I said, and “thank you very much.”

Very quickly I noticed that internet access had slowed down to almost a standstill. Mysteriously, my IP address had changed to an unrecognisable set of figures. More investigation. More Vodafone chaps. Three of them, in fact, each taking about an hour to tell me they couldn’t help. Over several days.

If you are anything like me you will know how I felt. Lost, injured and insulted, confused; like a patient coming round from an operation to find that the surgeon has forgotten a foreign object in her innards; furthermore, a surgeon who has no idea how to remove the instrument.

Then I thought I’ll ring Apple Inc. They’ll know. Three hours later the new iOS 8 was installed on my phone but the interloper IP address remained obstinate and immovable. Thanks for trying, kind and patient Tiger in Kentucky. I had a lovely time chatting with you throughout but, in the end, you had to refer me to Alex, iOS Senior Advisor, who took me through the whole process again; sadly, again without success.

Overnight I had an idea: switch off everything, disconnect all Apple gadgets as well as the router, leave the lot to stew for an hour and reconnect them all at the same time. As an amateur with a colourful imagination I thought the four of them could encourage each other to whoosh along the same wifi path and come up with a single address between them. Preferably the correct one.

It worked.

So what, you may say. We’ve all been there. This is boring.

But now comes the extra special bit, an instance of Customer Service which is pretty much unheard of in the UK.  A day later, Alex Tanner, the iOS Senior Advisor, rang all the way from Kentucky to find out if my internet access had been restored, and, if not, he was offering to get in touch with talktalk, my broadband company, himself.  I couldn’t even find a talktalk helpline!

Luckily, there was no longer any need. Instead, I asked Alex to help me install iOS 8 on my iPad, which he promptly did.

In the US you may be used to such service, as a UK citizen I am certainly not.

So, thank you once again, Tiger and Alex, all the way over there in Kentucky in the offices of the Apple helpline.

I am glad to say I am back in the Land of the Connected.



39 comments:

  1. Aggravating! Thank goodness for Tiger and Alex.

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  2. Usually we get fairly decent service unless we are talking with Comcast Cable Co. But that is still exceptional service even for here. Welcome back. Sorry, I must throw darts at Comcast at every chance. They are really that bad.

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  3. Before we got our cable out here I had a land line installed so I could be connected. dial up was slow but better than nothing. glad you got it all straightened out. unplugging is usually the first thing I try when problems arise.

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  4. Oh that is tremendous news! I'm often amazed at how much can be accomplished by just unplugging the whole mess and reconnecting it. You are so lucky to have gotten such good help. It can be spotty, at best. :-)

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  5. Friko, your phrase, 'Customer Service which is pretty much unheard of in the UK' certainly rings a bell with me. And it's getting worse. Glad you got lucky in Kentucky and everything's back as it should be.

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  6. Customer Service? A rarity here too. To the extent that when I come across it I pick myself up from the floor and write a thank you letter to the company.

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  7. Everyman (or woman in this case) wins the day once again! I think you got lucky with Alex as I am sure service is not always so attentive across the pond. But what a great ending, back in the land of the connected, content like the cows....grazing happily once again :-)

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  8. What a nice story! I am always The Most Appreciative Woman In The World when somebody helps me with a technical issue, especially if they're friendly while they're doing it.
    My hat's off to you for being so smart in unplugging everything, letting it all steep, and hooking up again. This made me laugh, because I know just how you were thinking: "I thought the four of them could encourage each other to whoosh along the same wifi path and come up with a single address between them."

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  9. When in doubt, pull it out. It is the answer for many problems.

    iOS 8 has been replaced with iOS 8.2. The former caused a lot of problems.

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  10. Good for you! Actually, I did get good service (although I had to wait a bit) from the Apple store in San Antonio when I went to them with a problem with my I-5 not making any sound. They replaced the phone and downloaded all my stuff from the "cloud". Then a strange thing happened in that it wanted me to put in my voicemail password. I had never put one in, but had to get in touch with A T & T for that part (software). It's finally all working again, after probably many hours of just messing with it.

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  11. Yes , it's definitely always worth disconnecting and then trying again . It seems to be the online version of taking a deep breath and clearing one's mind .
    Well done !

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  12. Well, my favorite part of this is you, after all else had failed, doing the equivalent of kicking the car to make it run. (Don't you sometimes wish we could still do that sort of thing, and it would work?) Very glad you are connected again, and that those folks in Kentucky were good to you!

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  13. Sorry for your dilemma, but glad that it was finally fixed. I will say that the few times we've had to go to Apple to get a problem with our iPhone fixed, it was done fast and efficiently.

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  14. Neat story and neat ending ... but especially the turning off for a bit part ... works with people as well most times ...

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  15. well we dont always get that here either...funny our service usually comes from like pakistan...i wonder how you got someone in the states...even i cant do that...ha

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  16. In Canada the customer service is terrible. It is usually outsourced to India.

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  17. I know nothing about iphones of any kind, but when installing new things on my laptop, it always tells me it will have to shut down and restart to complete the installation. It's a pity iphones don't use that message, it would save people a lot of angst.
    apart from new installs, if I log on and things aren't working right, I shut it all down and start again an hour later. It works.

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  18. Good to know you are fully connected again, Friko! Alex and Tiger probably like to know they were successful in their attempt(s) to help; I know I would want to know if I was working in support.

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  19. Brilliant Friko, you found a creative solution. Good for you, and how encouraging to hear about people who really want to help.

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  20. Hahaha ! that happened to my friend who was near a nervous breakdown after all the explanations etc she got, and I simply did the same as you, I disconnected everything, even took the battery out of her laptop, and then put everything back. The motto of these technicians is : Make it complicated when it's simple ! Now you can continue to graze peacefully on your Vodaphone pasture ! Apparently it's the same in all countries ! And if on top you are a woman and in a vintage age, they anyway take you for retarded ! When I walk through the computer, Iphone etc section, I can see on the salesmen's faces "what is she doing here, she should look for household appliances" !

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  21. Hi Friko - I need to download the IoS 8 - but now I think I'll wait til I get back .. so I don't mess anything up ...

    Sometimes people amaze me .. and they can be so helpful .. but wonderful you had Alex from Kentucky - help you out ... and follow-up, which is even more impressive ...

    Beautiful weather we're having ... and stunning countryside you gaze out on ... enjoy your walks with Millie - cheers Hilary

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  22. Tiger and Alex should get a big raise. I have found TECH people to be so nice, patient and friendly. I am most impressed with the follow-up and think they deserve a grateful letter from customer to Employer. I know its their job, but this fellow went the extra mile and ACTUALLY DID A FOLLOW-UP. Really, very nice. Our TECH people in the sales areas round about here are just wonderful and also go that extra mile - its called good business sense and it works, for many and many more customers return. I'm glad your phone is up to par and all is good. Over this way I would say "Happy as a Clam in the Bay Of Fundy". ha,ha

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  23. No, we're not used to that service over here. I'd say Alex should get a raise! But I do know the frustration of spending eons of time on the phone with someone about Internet. (I have a stupid phone. I pay as I go and hardly use the cell.) But the Internet -- now when THAT goes I get a little crazy (and the last two weeks were pretty bad!). Let's just say that you have MUCH better service with Alex than I ever had! And good for you!

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  24. You found people who helped you, it's great Friko. I think you were enough persistent speaking with Kentucky.
    Well done!

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  25. I have had my share of frustration with electronic devices. Fortunately, my husband is handy even patient with plugging and unplugging.
    Do you wonder how complicated it has all become?

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  26. Good customer service restores one's faith in mankind. A little bit. What really made me smile in this post is your thought of the devices encouraging one another as they were all plugged in at the same time.

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  27. I've had the same problem with my Samsung and Verizon. But I'm not as persistent as you are. I spent an hour with Verizon -- I think it's a little better now, but it's still not fixed and there's no way I'm going to waste more precious time trying to figure it out.

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  28. Such a wonderful tale, and I'm so glad that the boyz in our hood could help you out. When I had a ghastly problem a few weeks ago that couldn't be helped by plugging and unplugging (it was their server that was being recalcitrant) I had to go through three perfectly nice gentlemen until I found one I could understand. You haven't lived until a tech person hangs up on YOU!

    With no smart phone, no router, no tablet or wi-fi, things stay pretty simple around here. I'm neither a technophobe nor a Luddite. If I find I need another gizmo, I'll do my part and buy in. But there are fewer tech-headaches with fewer devices. Thank goodness your's all at getting along, now!

    All of my photos were at stake, so I had to persevere. Finally, it all got worked out.

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  29. and WE are very glad to keep you around!


    ALOHA from Honolulu
    ComfortSpiral
    =^..^= . <3 . >< } } (°>

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  30. It all depends on which company you contact. We have good and we have crummy. It's really a toss of the dice.
    I loved your solution, BTW. Clever. ;)

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  31. Friko, I've enjoyed reading both your post and the comments.

    As someone whose working days always involves imaginative customer service, I rejoiced that your Kentucky connections were so helpful to you. But...even better to see how You, dear Friko, actually solved that pesky issue by a multi-appliance reboot. Bravo.

    Please do be on the lookout for an email from me...now that you are all connected again.

    xo

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  32. Last I heard, my old corporation Verizon owned Vodaphone. They better take care of you!, I love Apple, but the company doesn't have its own network that I know of. Sounds like you are having network problems.

    BTW, for years, we called our telephone service Ma Bell for a good reason. The stupid Democrats busted up the old company, but it has almost reassembled itself as Verizon. Free Enterprise makes the world go around, not stupid government regulations.

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  33. Do send this post to Alex's boss - let them all know the extra mile is worth it.

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  34. Hurray for coming back to the land of Internet.

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  35. Hello Friko,
    Nice of you to drop by even though I've been a very lazy blogger myself of late! I may love Ireland best but for customer service the US is tops. I think they really believe here that it is their job to make the customer happy. Calling a few days later to see if everything worked out for you is quite common. Of course we also have frustrating times where you'd like nothing better than to shoot the person who is "helping" you and throw the offending device out the nearest window!

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  36. Caching up with you and sorry to hear of Millie's problem -- I hope it will self correct like your iphone.. And re happiness -- I find it lurking in the oddest places . . . and most of all in the dolce far niente moments.

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  37. Wow - that IS pretty impressive customer service!

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  38. Amazing customer service! Friko=good karma, WWW=bad karma. Obviously.

    XO
    WWW

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  39. What a nice guy, that Alex! Sometimes customer service is awesome like that here in the US, and sometimes it's not. It depends on the company and the employee, really.

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