Four Phone Calls, Nine People, and Facebook Required to Get New Phone Installed in Ava

by Michael Boyink /mike@douglascountyherald.com

My task?

Get a landline phone installed.

Existing house. In town. Phone jacks already on the wall.

Easy peasy, right?

Not so much.

My first hurdle was figuring out who to even call.

Being new to Ava, I didn’t know who the local providers were.

I turned, as usual, to the internet.  Searches for “phone service in Ava, MO” returned no obvious answer. Most of the links were to websites that aggregate offerings to different providers and promise to find you the best deal if you would just enter a zip code.

So I tried a few. But the results mostly wanted to sell me internet service, not phone service. I didn’t trust them.

I just wanted a simple, basic, landline phone. No bundle. No voice over IP. No computer dongle required.

I resorted to asking co-workers who the local providers were.

Turns out – as you probably know – there’s just one.

I don’t mean to name and shame them.

So let’s call them “DecadeConnect”.

Now for the second hurdle – getting DecadeConnect to my house.

I called them and gave them the address. The rep murmured, clicked a few buttons, and regretfully told me they didn’t offer traditional landline service to that address in Ava.

I hung up. Then wondered. Did they have the updated street names for Ava?  I figured out the old address and called back. 

Sure enough, landline service was now available.

I answered 32 questions, explained the new street addresses, authorized a credit check, promised a cheek swab, and was (finally) able to setup installation the following week.

That day came and went. I was not contacted by DecadeConnect, and the house phone wasn’t yet working.

The third hurdle presented itself – getting customer service from DecadeConnect.

I figured I’d just call them and see what happened. I found their customer support number, called, and dutifully answered the automated system by punching in my new phone number, account number, and last four digits of my social security number. 

After a short wait, a human rep picked up the call.

He asked what my issue was. Then he asked me what my new phone number, account number, and last four digits of my social security number were.

Then he transferred me to a different department. 

Who asked me why I was calling. Then asked what my new phone number, account number, and last four digits of my social security number were.

Then she transferred me to a different department. 

Who asked me why I was calling. Then asked what my new phone number, account number, and last four digits of my social security number were.

This happened twice more. New person. Same questions.

Then I had to answer a phone call and, in the process, dropped the call with DecadeConnect.

I sat there, fuming. Why can’t one person take my call and get the answers for me? And if you have to transfer my call, why can’t my issue and information get transferred as well? 

That popular definition of insanity came to mind.

Looking at the DecadeConnect website again, I noticed they had a Facebook Messenger option for customer service.

I’m not a huge fan of Facebook. I’d love to be off of it entirely, but between work and family, it’s a necessary evil. 

Figuring it couldn’t be any worse than the phone call with DecadeConnect, I contacted them on Facebook.

One person answered. And yes, they asked what my new phone number, account number, and last four digits of my social security number were.

We quickly got through some tests and then scheduled another technician visit. She let me know different options based on what they found.

All of this happened as I was working on other things. I didn’t have to shut down my world to sit on a phone call. I didn’t have to repeat myself four times in 20 minutes. 

After we setup a technician visit, she promised to follow up in a couple days to make sure the issue was resolved.

I’d like to say the rest of the interaction with DecadeConnect was trouble-free. But alas, Ava seems to be the uncharted wild west for these guys. 

The day before the appointed time, a tech called me looking for the house. I gave him directions. And never heard back. The technician that came on the appointed day had to be physically led to the house.

But once there, at least he finally got our phone service working.

But – to their credit – a few days later the DecadeConnect rep messaged me on Facebook to ensure I had gotten service connected.

It seems like calling a telephone company would be the best way to resolve customer service issues. But phone-based customer support is tolerable at best, and maddening at worst. 

If a company offers a social-media based support option – take it!