Author Topic: To Technology Companies: Here's How to Save TONS of Money  (Read 4452 times)

precisonline

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To Technology Companies: Here's How to Save TONS of Money
« on: August 28, 2007, 02:43:06 PM »
I just lost a half day of my life.

Over the weekend, for whatever reason, my wireless access point decided it had pretty much had enough.  Without warning it just started behaving badly and made it clear that it needed some attention.  (Weird, my dogs are like that also..)  Figuring that maybe I could get by with a firmware upgrade, I went to the D-Link website only to discover that the device was discontinued and replaced with a newer model.  Now, I'm not entirely certain what precipitated me to do so, but sometime in the past few months I had purchased that newer model and had it sitting in a box ready to be installed.  So I figured "hey, I have the only upgrade available, so why not?" and proceeded to remove the old AP and replace it with the new one.

The installation was far from smooth, but after several hard resets back to factory defaults, reconfiguration, firmware upgrades, and a couple of Native American chants that were printed on the box (yes, I'm making that part up) I finally got it working... Well, almost.

One particular feature that I appreciated about the old (dead) unit was the ability to filter out websites.  My internet connection is shared by the entire family, including a couple of impressionable young men and I figured it a good idea to block a few choice sites that my kids might otherwise choose to investigate in the dead of night.  Certainly it doesn't protect from all of the internet slime, but I figure cutting off a few of the big spigots would certainly be a useful step in the right direction.

Well, it didn't work.  After following the instructions listed on the manual, the online manual, and the tips printed right there on the configuration screen, it just didn't work.  The blocks are defined, but OH MAN are the sites NOT blocked!

I sent an email to D-Link tech support telling them I bought this unit, upgraded the firmware, configured it, and everything works but the website block.  This morning, I get an email back from them telling me to upgrade the firmware.  UPGRADE THE FIRMWARE?  Did I not already cover this in my original request?  There is no more upgrade for the firmware!

That aside, the reply email says that if this does not solve my problem (hello?) I should call this 800# for additional support.  Here's where things got interesting.

After pushing a couple dozen numbers to navigate the phone forest, I got some guy on the phone who sounded pleasant enough.  His accent is pronounced, but not prohibitive, and he asks for the serial number, model number, firmware number, phone number, and a couple other numbers that I don't recall right now, then proceeds to ask me to start checking connection issues to figure out why my network connection doesn't work.  I stopped him short to tell him that my network connection does in fact work, to which he replied (in a noticeably irritated tone) "So what IS your problem then?".

I explained that the website block does not work, and he proceeded to step me through the script of what to check, where to navigate, and was genuinely UPSET that I had changed the password and LAN IP address of the access point.  Excuse me, but changing those settings is networking 101, dude.

After 30+ minutes of following his script and confirming every setting imaginable, it still didn't work.  So he puts me on hold for another 20+ minutes and when he comes back he asks "are you connecting wireless to the access point?".  Well, yeah, it's a WIRELESS ACCESS POINT, that's kinda THE point, isn't it?  He then attempts to tell me that the website blocker only works if you're wired directly into the WIRELESS access point!  Now, this D-Link unit has a 4-port hub on it so just to humor the idiot I just happened to have a wire sitting there ready to go and hooked it up, and ... no love.  Problem persisted.  He then tells me that there is nothing more that he can do, and if I still have problems (LIKE THAT WAS IN QUESTION?) I could call customer support and then he hangs up on me.

So the process begins again.  I called the number and found myself back into a phone forest where I had to select a series of choices (in the right sequence of course) to speak to a human being.  Finally, I get a guy who tells me that I clicked the wrong number somewhere in the phone forest which made me take an unexpected right at Portugal and I needed to talk to someone in technical support, likely in some other country.  Incidentally, the first guy I talked to was technical support... <sigh>

After several more minutes of waiting - I had actually forgotten I was still on the phone - a more familiar accented person joined the line and asked me what's going on with the unit, and I explained it to him the same as I had before.  He thought that maybe downgrading the firmware might be a solution, but he wanted to check with someone else before we try that.  Okay, I'm cool with that.  But that led to another 10 minutes on hold.  When he finally came back, he said that the firmware downgrade would likely not work, and based on my input, apparently that feature doesn't work.  So if I want to block websites, he recommended, I could use NetNanny or some other dedicated website blocker because the D-Link simply wasn't going to do it, and he couldn't tell me if it would ever be fixed in a firmware upgrade.

<big_sigh/>  I will never buy D-Link again.

Okay, so overlooking the fact that half of my day was wasted on an issue that has no resolution, also consider that I effectively wasted half a day for three other individuals.  That had to cost the D-Link company something.  If I'm merely one out of thousands who they sold this turd to, I can just about imagine that their technical support lines are jammed to the brim with unhappy customers.  And that MUST cost them a fortune.

The traditional American solution to this has been to hire offshore resources who can read a script at pennies on the dollar, rather than hiring anyone who has a clue about the unit.  Well, my friends, this isn't working, it hasn't been working, and there's no sign that it'll ever be an effective solution to an onslaught of support calls.  No, if you want to save tons of money on support - and here's my big point:

REDUCE THE NEED FOR SUPPORT!!!

All it takes is to do the job right the first time.  This crap about releasing a turd to the market and letting a separate support organization deal with the fallout has to stop.  It's costing everyone a grave amount of time, money, energy, and stress, and frankly, life's too short to deal with all that.
« Last Edit: August 28, 2007, 02:54:51 PM by precisonline »
-Kevin
Accidents "happen"; success, however, is planned and executed.