Wednesday, July 12, 2006

One of these days I'm going to give myself a fucking heart attack

I arrived in the office bright and early this morning only to notice that we had no email access and no internet access. Just like that, without warning. After a flurry of calls to the Singapore IT guys and anyone else who could possibly help, we were finally informed (by the beleaguered IT guy who had to rush down post-haste with his handphone ringing like crazy) that it is OUR SERVICE PROVIDERRRRRRRR.

To protect the self-admittedly guilty, I'll not mention the name of our service provider (what's green and slow?) but really this has happened enough times for it to become ridiculous. Of course we did not get any call from the ISP informing us that our network was down. Maybe they were hoping we wouldn't notice. One of our staff called to ask and after some discussion, we were informed that some of their lines are down, and this may affect some customers. For how long? For some time. How much time? Cannot tell because our engineers are trying to fix it. How long is a fucking piece of green string? I don't fucking know.

After an entire morning of getting calls from clients and having to explain that we were defeated by technology, I finally tried calling Sta.. I mean, the ISP, themselves to get a clearer answer. After listening to repeated "We can't tell you how long it will take to fix the problem", I finally started screaming "So you can't tell me if it will take hours, or days, or weeks, is it? Like the last time this happened and it took a week to fix, and you couldn't even tell us how long? You haven't told me anything I couldn't have told myself, sitting right here, talking to nobody except myself. Self, how long will the computer be down? Self says, I don't know. It could be hours, or days, or weeks. I think they're trying to fix the problem. So it'll be fixed when it's fixed!!! Ho ho ho!!!"

To be fair to the person on the line, she actually heard me through and finally said "We can't tell you how long it will take to fix the problem." before telling me she'll get "someone" to call me back. (of course no one did)

What does it take to get through to them. We do not expect a goddamn miracle. I just need to know roughly when this can be fixed. So that we know whether to send people home to work, or not. And if it's not fixed by tomorrow, whether we should get people to work from home. Plus we have at least a definitive timeframe to inform the clients and fellow colleagues in other offices. So we don't look like we're sitting on our hands here.

By evening, we were back online, but no one had provided any explanation or (gasp!) an apology. I finally called our "Dedicated Customer Service Officer" to ask what happened. Not sure. Will it happen again? Dunno. What do we get for business interruption? Nothing. Your contract says very clearly that we are not liable to you. Well thanks missy - do you think that people who are stupid enough to sign up with Sta.. sorry, [ISP] are also too stupid to read the contract and must call you to read it for them?

Jesus Christ. Finally, I just asked her how much additional money we could possibly pay for better service. Is our plan too cheap and therefore we get all these service interruptions and non-answers? Are we in arrears or something? Do we consistently pay late and therefore service levels have to be reduced? Tell me, what kind of super el-cheapo plan are we on, when an email from SINGAPORE to someone else in SINGAPORE can get held up for days because an undersea transmission cable off JAPAN is damaged? [When we called them about that interruption, we were informed that the ISP had sent their ship to go and repair the cable, but it would take some time because it involves sea travel. Can you beat that??] I fucking LOVE these people. I LOVE THEM.

Just to demonstrate ridiculousness, and also to see if I'm overreacting, the next time a client asks "When can we receive your advice?", I'll say:

"I don't know. We are looking into it. Our partners are trying to resolve your issues. You'll receive your advice when we send it to you. Also, please note that by the terms of our engagement, we are not liable to you for anything. Thank you for calling and have a pleasant evening!!"


At 3:23 AM, Blogger gremlin said...

the glory of singaporean service. I sooo miss that. It's like each time I have to make a call to a local bank from here and IF, I so luckily get put thru to a live person, he/she inevitably interrupts me as I'm speaking, misses everything I say, makes me repeat everything thrice over, does not understand me notwithstanding, "ha?"s me a trillion times - till I lose it. I hate them. we all hate them.

At 11:23 AM, Anonymous kierra said...

oh... i hate them! i had to scream every single word at them when i see nothing on the tv screen. their table tv sucks too.

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