How to NOT Create a Passionate User

I apologize in advance for ranting. In my last post I talked about signing up for DSL. I signed up with SBC and was looking forward to being able to do the things that dial-up doesn’t allow me to do. Open videos and audio files of online conferences in particular. All the laptops in the house work wireless and we have no problems with connectivity with them (though the speed is nowhere near what I had been promised). I still cannot connect with my PC desktop.

I’m reasonably sure that the problem has something to do with a setting for a network card and I have searched for a solution. I have talked to a few friends who are very knowledgeable and tried their suggestions.

Last night I gave in and called tech support for SBC/ My experience with dealing with organizations on the phone has not been stellar so I had put it off and I really wanted to figure it out myself but my family would like things working before I go to Austin next Tuesday so I bit the bullet.

The first person I spoke with was polite and walked me through everything I had already done and a few things I had not. None of those things worked and she told me that the problem was something on my computer and I would have to move up to level 2 of their tech support. I was put on hold for nearly 20 minutes and when the level 2 tech support came on line the very first thing she told me was that she could offer me a one-time support package for $99 dollars or I could join for 6 months for more. I have never even gotten connected and they want me to pay more. What??? My answer was polite but firm – I will try to figure it out myself and If I can’t I will cancel my service.
If I was able to get connected easily just by following the directions that came with my modem I would be extolling the virtues of SBC right now. I would be talking about it on my blog, telling my friends – even offering to help them get set up! I would be a “passionate user” and viral marketing would be happening as we speak!

I get excited when something works well. I will promote it enthusiastically. Now my conversation would go something like this:

“I wish I could tell you to switch to SBC DSL but even though I was told on the phone that it would cost me the same amount as my dial-up each month, and even though I was told the speeds would be much faster, and even though I was told that the installation was simple and that there is 24 hour tech support my wireless speed is not anywhere near what I was told and the installation is not working and to get an answer from SBC would cost me a 100 dollars.”

Not exactly the kind of review to make you want to run out and switch is it? The reason I took so long to make the switch was twofold. One reason was cost. I couldn’t justify the extra expense. The second reason was I like being able to go down the street and actually speak face to face with a person if I have a problem with their service. I’m thinking seriously about switching back.

I like to solve my own computer problems – if you want me to be passionate about your product make it tricky enough to use that I have to go looking for some answers but simple enough that I can find those answers and have a “yippy – I did it!” experience. I don’t mind working for “it” but I want “it” to be attainable and hopefully teach me something in the process. Don’t leave me angry, frustrated, and feeling taken advantage of. I spent three hours searching and will search some more today. I have not dropped my dial-up service so if I can’t solve the problem my family will just have to limp along with slow speeds.

Everyone has stories about dealing with large companies and this is not my first experience. This is just the first time I have thought about it in these terms.

If I have a good experience with technology I not only adopt it, I talk about it, I look for groups of people who are also enthusiastic and who have stories, comments, and tutorials for making it even better. I join the fan club! I am a newly converted MAC user and when someone has a PC I mumble under my breath about how they should buy a mac. Several years ago I learned how to use PaintShop Pro and joined user groups and learned from tutorials and even wrote a few of my own. When I started reading blogs I wanted one of my own and even did a staff development presentation for teachers to spread the word about how and why blogging in education is a good thing. Word of mouth is a great way to advertise and in this age word of mouth becomes word of computer – we have the venue to communicate a piece of information to a larger group at one sitting. Now I’m searching for forums that deal with other peole having similar problems.
Next week I will attend a conference on technology with about 8000 educators. If any of them ask me what I use at home to connect to the internet I will probably mumble something and NOT tell them to switch to DSL.