Megapath focus on closing ticket fast is hurting results
I think I can now put my finger on the biggest problem facing Speakeasy customers now that Megapath has taken over. It seems like the same sort of policies that are applied when managing a fast-food drive through are now applied to tickets of Megapath customers. Several fast-food drive through will expedite providing the order so it is provided quickly but not always accurately. With the fast-food drive through, sometimes items would be left out of an order or other items provides instead. To put it simply, both Megapath and a fast-food drive through provide quick results to requests but not always the correct result. With fast-food, you can always return to get the missing/incorrect items corrected but the additional time required of the customer is rarely taken into account by the fast-food chain. Megapath also has a system of escalation which requires the customer to jump through hoops to seek corrective action but also rarely takes into account the additional time required of the customer to do so.
I have been dealing with an on-going problem that heavy rain will cause my DSL service to go down. I was upset that it has taken 5 months for Megapath to even contact the ILEC about the problem. During the first 4 months, they would simply monitor the line for 48 hours starting some time after the rain had already ended and then would close the ticket without taking any corrective action. While I found this frustrating, it had been pointed out to me that Megapath policies in handling my issue where partly a reflection of policies passed down by the ILEC. I think Megapath is mostly to blame for it taking over 5 months to decide my case was worthy enough to seek assistance of Tier 2 support, I do have to concede that part of correcting problems with the DSL service involves the ILEC and it's policies.
However, Megapath billing policies do not involve the ILEC. This is an area in which Megapath should be in complete control and not be attempting to scape-goat on another company for any failings. If it is the policies of the ILEC that are negatively impacting the technical support aspects of Megapath (which didn't seem to be as much an issue with Speakeasy), then at least Megapath should have it's chance to shine when it come to how it handles billing ticket.
Instead, the policy of being quick and polite for handling ticket rather than accurate continues to show through. It is my belief that Megapath has already selected to initially reject two of my refund requests on the basis of undisclosed policies rather than adherence to their own published terms of service.
First is the issue of Megapath dispatch fees of $150 when there is no problem found at all. I was told by an agent in billing that it has been a long standing policy that if there is no problem found at all then it is bill-able. I was also informed that I should get any statements which contradict that policy to be put in writing. It is the policy of Megapath technical support to never provide in writing any statement regarding Megapath billing policy since the billing department should be the one to provide such things. I have had a pending request with a billing supervisor named Donald to get written clarification regarding this. He had requested that I be patient, which I believe I have been. But in the four months it has taken him so far to research the issue he has failed to return any calls requesting any form of status update.
Megapath Tier 2 technical support continues to periodically state that it would be helpful in proceeding forward if [I] could approve another on-site dispatch and that a lot could have happen over the last 4 months. I agree that a lot could have happen but a Megapath billing supervisor getting back to me has not been one of them. Technical support will even go as far as to explain there is a list of billable codes that an on-site tech can close a ticket with and there exists no billable code for when no problem is found. However, they have not been able to provide that in writing so per the advice of Megapath's own billing department, I have not been able to approve additional on-site dispatches.
Despite this, some progress has still been made on improving my DSL service. It was acknowledged that there was metallic noise on the DSL circuit even when the DSL modem at my location was unplugged. Eventually, the where able to get a temporary cross-connect on a different DSLAM port which improved the situation. However, when it came time to switch the cross-connect to a permanent one, the Service Deployment team (which I will just refer to as SD), they disconnected service towards the end of the week, plugged me into a bad DSLAM port and then requested proof there was not problems on the customer or ILEC side which was causing the DSL to not come back up. They continued to scape-goat up to the point that they simply left for the weekend and made no further attempts for the next 64 hours to restore service. Finally on Monday they rushed in another temporary cross-connect to restore service.
While Tier 2 support acknowledged how frustrating the way SD had handled the situation, they let me know that I could at least get a SLA credit from the billing department for the down-time they caused. I passed on to the billing department the request along with the ticket # of the open monitor with tier 2 which was tracking all issues with my DSL since mid-December. For this outage, billing department saw fit to credit my account for the time.
But as I said before, in a rush to get service back up, my service was once again on a temporary cross-connect. After two weeks of service, SD once again disconnected me right before a weekend. Again, at the end of the day they went home and made no attempts during a 64 hour period to restore service. Then on Monday they restored service.
Again, Tier 2 acknowledged that the situation was frustrating and again they let me know I could at least get a SLA credit so it wasn't like I was paying for the time I was down. However, this time Vanessa H let me know I have looked and checked tt [redacted] and you ahave already been given a credit of 17.55. We cannot issue any more credits for this tt. It should be noted that Megapath Tier 2 support requested that I not open additional technical support tickets. They wanted any problems documented in the open monitor ticket they started in mid-December. I had been honoring this request. And now it appeared as a result, it was Megapath policy I would even have to pay for time they where not even providing service to me.
But was that really Megapath policy? No where in the Terms of Service or the related documents including the Service Level Agreement document did it say there would only be one credit per ticket. It did say that outages needed to be documented in a ticket with technical support to get a credit, but did not say it could be the same ticket as one that already had resulted in a credit.
So I got in touch with a new billing department supervisor, Heather. I let her know about the lack of adherence by Megapath billing tier 1 with following Megapath terms of service along with my still pending request of clarification on the dispatch fee policy. She promised and confirmed that she would call me back in 5 business days.
On 6th business day, I called to check the status and was told to expect a call back in 2 hours. After 2 hours, I was told she left for the day. On the 7th business day, I was told not to expect a call at all from her as she wasn't going to be in.
Next, I was forwarded on to Fred. He couldn't clarify what exactly Megapath's dispatch fee policy was other than point to the website which says:
End-User may report service problems resulting in a technician dispatch. If the problem found is not one for which MegaPath is responsible, End-User will be charged for the cost of the visit. Examples for which MegaPath is not responsible include, but are not limited to, faulty inside wiring that is out of warranty, faulty End- User provided equipment, faulty out of warranty equipment, and any work done per End-User request.
How exactly that covers the long standing policy of charging the fee when no problem was found was not something Fred could explain. He also could not quote any section of over 100 pages of documents that the Terms of Service refers to which covered the policy of one SLA credit per ticket. Instead, he felt this was just common knowledge. But it wasn't even common knowledge of the Megapath Tier 2 support team which knew everything was going into a single ticket and still stated that I should be able to get a credit. It also does not seem to be an industry standard among Internet transit providers.
But Fred explained that my case fell into a grey area and Megapath has supervisors to address these grey areas on a case-by-case basis. Then I was juggled over to Joe who reiterated the grey area excuse. But neither could explain why adherence to ToS should be a grey area. Joe also reiterated the availability of the supervisors to handle this on a case-by-case basis. But could not explain why adherence to ToS should be a case-by-case issue.
In terms of availability of billing supervisors, Megapath does not make supervisors available when you first call the billing department. A billing agent requires you to prove that your situation justifies a supervisor and then decides if a billing supervisor will call you back. Once the supervisor does get around to calling back, you are then ask to reiterate what you already told the billing agent. It is a time consuming process that I do not feel should be required just to get Megapath to adhere to their over 100 pages of ToS related documents.
But Fred ask me to concede that each of the billing agents have always been polite. Sure, in much the same way that the almond flavor of cyanide might initially seem pleasant to some. The end result is still undesirable.
Megapath needs to stop focusing on closing tickets quickly and work instead on being accurate in it's handling of tickets. The current situation results in a Megapath tax in terms of the additional time required of the customer to get Megapath to refocus on the correct course of action. The current methodology of scapegoating regardless of it is on the ILEC for what is actually problems at the DSLAM or grey-areas when the word of the ToS provide none is not an acceptable business practice and is hurting the Megapath brand name.