Great experience with Verizon Wireless tech support

Most of the posts I see about experiences with various wireless services' tech support departments are negative, so I thought it was in order for me to post about a positive experience.

I recently purchased a Verizon XV6700 Windows Mobile 5.0 phone. Most of my experience with this phone so far has been less than stellar; I usually have to reboot it multiple times per day, and it tends to crash at very inconvenient times. I think I have that problem licked; it seems to be a memory leak related to Outlook's IMAP support. Setting my IMAP account to no longer automatically check for email has made the phone much faster and more stable.

This morning I started getting prompted for a username and password when the phone tried to connect. The username and domain given were from my work VPN so I thought it was trying to prompt me for that, but the errors I was getting seemed to indicate there was something wrong with the EVDO (wireless modem) connection. Eventually I noticed that the heading on the credentials prompt was "Data Network Connect" which is not what it usually says for the VPN.

I figured the phone had suddenly lost my EVDO credentials, so I went looking on Google for the correct credentials. I found something that looked right and tried that; no luck. Same error. I tried a few others and eventually decided to bite the bullet and try Verizon's tech support. I searched around on their tech support web site and didn't find anything related to the modem credentials, but they had "If this doesn't work, call this number and choose this options" displayed on the bottom of the solutions pages, so I called.

The announcement indicated they were having a large volume of calls due to a "technical outage," and later said that my wait would probably be around 7 minutes. After around 4, Austin answered the phone. I explained what was happening and what I'd done. Rather than have me check a bunch of irrelevant settings like I expected, he sent me directly to the connection settings that I thought were wrong. He walked me through putting in the correct credentials and had me try to connect. He figured out pretty quickly I knew what I was doing and didn't try to force me through a specific script; he didn't even find it necessary to tell me to use Internet Explorer to get it to try to connect.

After having me try doing a soft reset on the phone again (which he also knew he didn't need to explain how to do because I'd already told him I'd done it before calling him) and checking the settings on their end, he had me create a new connection configuration, which seems like a very reasonable troubleshooting step. That didn't work either. Then spontaneously everything started working. Rather than dump me right then, Austin had me turn the wireless off and then back on to make sure I could get reconnected again, then gave me a few suggestions about what might have been wrong that satisfied me.

Overall, Austin was very polite, asked the right questions, and figured out what my level of expertise was very quickly. It was very clear that he knew what he was doing and if he was following some kind of script or flow chart he was very good at navigating it; if it was a script then I hope whoever designed it makes a lot of money.

Actually, none of my (two or three) experiences with Verizon Wireless technical support have been bad, though I did have one not-so-great experience with customer service when I was trying to activate a phone on a different number than I'd ordered it for. They bounced me around to different numbers several times before I talked to someone clued in enough to figure out what I was doing wrong. My one pet peeve is that the support people are trained to apologize, which I was trained never to do when I worked in tech support; customers want empathy, not sympathy. But right after apologizing they tell you that they can help with the problem, which is exactly what I want to hear, at least when it's true, which for me in the case of Verizon Wireless tech support for both the data and voice network it always has been.

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