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April 13, 2005

Better News at Vonage

This weekend I had a good customer service experience with Vonage.  I’ve been complaining when I received poor service so am happy to report the improvement.

I wanted to replace my original Motorola adapters with new Linksys PAP2 adapters in order to get better audio quality (details in next post).  I bought the PAP2 adapters at Circuit City.  The documentation was clear that, in order to switch my service from the old device to the new ones, I had to call Vonage customer support.  I was dreading that phone call since hold times have been very long.

To my pleasant surprise, I was talking to a live customer service rep in less than ten minutes which I think is a completely acceptable wait time for a low-cost service.  Although the first-level CSR didn’t know what I was talking about, she stuck doggedly to her script and escalated me once she got to the right point.  Even better, there was no hold time between the first level CSR and the escalation tech.  He knew exactly what I was trying to do and had an appropriate script and procedure to assure that we didn’t make a mistake which would interrupt my service.  Fifteen minutes after I placed the phone call, my new adapters were on line and working – and, as I’ll explain tomorrow, providing the better quality I was looking for.  I’d been afraid I’d have to spend most of the morning on the project and ended up with no excuse not to do some of the other things Mary had put on my job list.

One could quibble that I should have been able to do this procedure with web-based support rather than a phone call but it is a quibble.  It is a procedure most people won’t go through.  Although I PROBABLY wouldn’t have made a mistake, the coaching by the tech was designed to avoid the kind of error that could have left me with neither my old or my new adapter working.  That would be serious for someone who had only a Vonage phone.

I have not done a scientific survey to see whether hold times are always lower now or I was just lucky; but I didn’t do a scientific survey when I complained either.  There is a recent thread on the Vonage user forum noting improvement not only in hold times but response to email requests although there are still complaints about service there as well.  It is a fact that Vonage has been hiring CSRs at a furious pace in New Jersey so it’s reasonable that there would be improvement.

In a time of rapid growth, the leading companies are bound to make mistakes as Vonage did when its growth outran its support capability.  What’s important, though, is how quickly they recognize a problem and respond to it.  Tentative kudos to Vonage on this.  I’m back to recommending the service although, to be fair, I have not tried competitors like Packet8, AT&T CallVantage, Lingo, and Verizon VoiceWing.

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