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May 11, 2011

Dear Verizon call center

My voice mail randomly bailed on me, and after much Googling and forum snooping, I still couldn’t get it to cooperate. I couldn’t log in, and no one could leave me a message. So, I went down to the Verizon store, intent on giving the (very friendly) folks there a piece of my mind. I walked in, my fantastic iPhone 4 held out before me like a broken-winged bird, and handed it to the first available person with a name tag. “Doesn’t work,” I said. “The voice mail’s wonky.”

The representative took my phone, pressed the home button on it, and thoughtfully frowned. “So, you can’t log in,” she said. “No one can leave you a message, that sort of thing.”

I nodded.

“Is this a recent thing?” she asked.

“Yep.”

“As in, it used to work and now it doesn’t.”

“Ah, yep.”

Then, poker-faced, she tapped it three times with her index finger. “Here you go,” she said, handing it back to me.

I was stunned. I expected the problem to be complicated and the route to the solution tortuous. I had spent all that time, after all. “What did you do?” I asked.

“Call forwarding was turned on. Star-seven-three.”

Now, this wouldn’t have been a big deal, had I not, in addition to Googling and forum snooping, spent nearly an hour on the phone with a (again, very friendly) call center representative the night before. But I had. “Do you see this sort of thing often?” I asked the representative.

“Yeah,” she said. “Daily.”

I pressed the sleep button on my phone, shoved it in my back pocket. “Shouldn’t someone tell the people at the call center?” I asked.

“We have, like a thousand times.” Then she smiled. “Anything else?”

“Nope, thanks.”

The only logical reason I could think of for the call center not knowing about this phenomenon was that their documentation process was so complicated that a simple case like this one was not easily incorporated into their knowledgebase. And of course this brought to my attention the fact that there really needs to be a clear avenue down which technical support can pass on information to tech comm (see Sarah O’Keefe’s post about this: Pitting tech comm and tech support against each other).

And lastly, I also thought of how much money Verizon must have lost on my (literally) thirty-second fix.