We all have been there. Your internet starts acting up and your not sure whether it’s you or them. Most service providers have standby customer care agents or support teams that respond to your queries. The steps to finding the solution to your problem often involve finger-pointing, ping pong and playing blame game.
When you call that customer care helpline, your service provider usually will deny the problem is on their end, then you get angry as a result. A heated argument follows suit usually with the customer speaking on a higher tone. Then once the customer cools down, both parties start negotiating peacefully. Depending on whose fault it is, one of you will be very upset and then finally accept the final output. They are called the 5 stages of grieve and loss coined by psychologists.
Whether you knew about that pattern or not, here at some of the most common responses you’ll hear from your customer care help desk;
It works here. How’s that possible
I’ve rarely heard from any customer care agent that instantly admits that the fault is theirs. Usually help desk will instantly put the blame on calling customer even without investigation. Unless you are Google or Facebook, no single organization can claim that their systems are always working perfectly fine. And this is not to say that the problem is never on the customer’s end either. However, serious customers always thoroughly do their checks and only call help-desk as the last resort. So there are good chances that the problem is with the service provider who in most cases might even be aware of it, but just chooses to deny. As a customer, stand your ground, have your facts and push on.
Check your background Apps
This is usually common with complains about suspicious data usage. When your data runs out so fast and there’s no good reason to explain why, your service provider will assume something in the background is eating up your data. Before you call customer care, make sure you don’t have Windows auto updates running or Anti-virus updates because these take a lot of data. On mobile, make sure automatic app updates from the App stores aren’t running. Also make sure backup services such as Google photos, Whatsapp aren’t set to automatically upload your photos to the cloud once you take them or receive them from your contacts. Otherwise, your service provider will be right to claim that background apps are the cause of your data usage.
Clear your cache and cookies
This is a classic one. I bet its listed in one of those customer care training manuals. Cache is a temporal storage that your phone or computer uses to store data that you have previously accessed in order to speed up your browsing. Browsers usually store web pages and images in cache so that when you hit the back button, it simply reloads from your phone local storage instead of requesting the same data from remote server. Cookies on the other hand are small files stored on your phone or computer that contain session data specific to certain sites your visit. If you ever visit a site and login form is auto-filled for you, that’s and example cookies working for you.
So this temporal data stored on your computer or phone sometimes (but not always) causes unexpected behavior. Your phone browser might display an old webpage from cache instead of serving a fresh one from the website for instance. Usually you can test this inconsistency by loading the page on a different browser or clearing your cache.
However Cache and Cookies are not the reason why your internet is off.
Uninstall unnecessary Apps
This is unusual but sometime customer care guy will ask you to uninstall unnecessary Apps. Not that it helps the situation that much but you’ll be asked anyway on the assumption that uninstalling these not-so-important apps might free up some computing resources — Storage or Memory — from from your computer or phone. We think it’s definitely a good hygiene to do this, perhaps you might remove some stray App that might be causing issues even though unrelated to your internet issues.
Turn off your Anti-virus
Another classic one — Anti-virus. Even though we are aware that sometimes your Anti-virus software can stand in the way of you posting your photos on Instagram or Facebooking on a lazy Saturday, it’s not conclusive enough for your internet link going dark. Your Anti-virus might illegitimately block certain websites or port numbers denying your the ability to browse the web. But just to be on the safe side, make sure you are using Legit Anti-virus software such as Kaspersky, Windows defender, AVG or Norton Antivirus. Also make sure it’s regularly updated.
Restart your phone or computer
Your clueless customer care agent will most definitely rush to recommend that you immediately restart your phone. If you are using the same phone to call, I don’t know how communication between the both of you will continue! I usually don’t follow this instruction until the agent gives me very good reasons to do so. And I mean really good reason. Restarting my computing means interrupting my workflow which in the middle of a busy working day isn’t something am willing to even think about.
But as naive as it might sound, restarting your computer or phone usually (although not always) magically solves issues. Computers are complex, no body has explain why this happens and neither can we nor your customer care agent.
Reinstall your operating system or flash your phone
If the worst comes to the worst, you’ll be asked to re-format your hard drive and re-install your Operating system. This is like pulling out the nuke codes. Boom, Armageddon itself. If you have to re-install Windows, then your issues are bigger than simply not having internet access. We recommend you call up someone more technical to look at your phone or computer before such drastic measures are taken. Backup of data prior is a must. But please don’t flash your phone or format your computer just yet because your internet is off. Your service provider might be seriously pulling your leg.
We are having technical issues
Aha, finally your service provider might be brave enough to acknowledge fault their end and good enough to let you know. These days that happens through either Twitter or Facebook channels. Technical issues happen everywhere unless you are Google or Facebook of course. When your provider is brave enough to communicate this to you, kindly give them a thumbs up. Not everyone is honest. Ask for time when the issues will be rectified and please be patient. But if your provider is constantly having technical issues, it’s time to think about alternatives.
Our engineers are working on it
Okay great. Send virtual Hi5 to those Engineers who have sleepless nights trying to restore services back online. Someone might have accidentally deleted an important file on the system, or maybe database crashed overnight or natural disaster such as an earth quake destroyed critical component of the network. Good companies constantly give updates of what’s going on. Seacom Ocean Fibre for instance got cut, and as a result there’s internet service interruption in some parts of Kenya as we speak. Engineers are working round the clock to rectify the issue. Kudo to those Engineers.
Try again, it should work
This is the best message you’ll receive from your provider. This usually happens after hours, days or even weeks of back and forth between you and customer care support team. If the problem was on your end, a good support team will tell you want the problem was and how to mitigate it in the future. If the problem was theirs, they will first apologize and then still communicate in brief what the problem was. Good service provider will compensate you back for money or time lost. When Safaricom’s M-Pesa last week went offline for 3 hours, Safaricom promised clients Free transactions for the next 24 hours. That’s just awesome.
Whether the problem is the customer’s or the service providers, communication and understanding are the key ingredient of solving issues.
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Our engineers are working on it