Ok, today I experienced that familiar “my internet connection just went down and now I have to penetrate the inner sanctum of incompetence to get it working again” feeling.
For the benefit of the no doubt thousands of others experiencing Telkom issues this and any other week of the year, here’s the approach that
- Got the immediate attention of Telkom employees able to solve my issue
- Allowed me to go from no line to line in a mere one-and-a-half hours
A bit of background:
I just moved house. The new place had ADSL, but the outbound tenant had requested a line cancellation prior to me taking the house.
To pre-empt the line being cut off, I went with said tenant to the Telkom shop to initiate a transfer of the line into my name. This seemed to have gone smoothly, with my connection and landline working fine upon arrival, but I remained sceptical, and in fact the outgoing tenant moved into their new place in Newlands, only to find that Telkom cut them off two days after their own line transfer went through.
So anyhow, last night I was online and then I wasn’t – the link light on my router went off. My first port of call was to phone my ISP (Cybersmart – a pretty reliable and clued up bunch), who promptly informed me there was no issue with them and it looked like a problem at the exchange.
This is when the feeling I mentioned in paragraph one came rushing to the fore in a tsunami of hopelessness and nausea. If Telkom cuts off an ADSL line because of a cancellation order, generally the process is to log a new line order which can take weeks, months even in my woeful experience.
Given that my business depends upon my being online, this was obviously not an acceptable outcome.
Now the first mistake nearly everybody makes when they have an issue with Telkom, is to pick up the phone. This may seem logical, given that they are a telecommunications company, but I must tell you that rule number one in my book of achieving results in this situation is Do Not Ever, Under Any Circumstances, Phone Telkom.
I went to bed and tried to sleep, bobbing on the nausea waves and trying to think of friends’ offices I could bunk at for an unknown period. Then, this morning I went directly to my nearest Telkom shop at Blue Route Mall. I was the first customer.
Upon arrival, I greeted the enquiries clerk cordially, asking as to her general health. Then I related the details and context of my basic ADSL malfunction. I then proceeded to tell her that as Telkom had effectively brought my business to a standstill, I was free to sit at her desk all day, losing a considerable hourly fee, until my line was confirmed as working again.
Of course this caught her off guard somewhat and brought on a series of protests about the Telkom shop’s scope of efficacy, ability to address faults etc. A scenario I had come prepared for. I suggested she familiarise herself with my presence at her desk and that we might share a few cups of coffee together later in the day.
Before long the gravity of my words rippled through the shop, and more senior clerks were buzzing around her desk, busily telephoning my local exchange and other places where people’s livelihoods go to be put on hold.
Suffice to say that 1.5 hours later I was back home and back online. I’m still reeling from the efficiency of it all now. One technique I didn’t think about, but that occurred to me in the shop, was to take a laptop with you and remote desktop into your machine at home. That way you get concrete confirmation that your shit is a-ok before you have to leave the enquiries desk.
Here is Telkom’s map showing all Telkom stores in South Africa.
Filed under: Telkom on August 8th, 2008