It�s been 3 weeks since Partners & Levit moved into
its new offices � and 3 days since we�ve had access to phones, fax, and the Internet.
It�s eerie for a service-intensive organization to be out of touch with its clients, suppliers and friends!
The problem: Verizon, a company that claims to �make progress every day.�
Everyone at Partners & Levit was excited about moving into our new, hip, downtown loft. We all came together as a team, having planned every step, day-by-day, for 3 months prior. Verizon was given our order for service 9 weeks before the big move.
As moving day approached, we confirmed our installation date almost daily. We�d heard about the nightmares suffered by other companies: It wasn�t going to happen to Partners & Levit!
Verizon showed up to install our connections the Thursday before our scheduled move. When the installers who arrived asked the elevator starter where they could find the telephone room, they were directed to a closet on the first floor.
The Verizon installation team instantly left.
When we followed up the next day to make sure our phone and Internet connections were ready, we learned they weren�t. The installers had advised their office our construction wasn�t complete�and just left!
That sent us into a tailspin. Office construction was complete! Our office manager and I got on the phones and spoke with Verizon�s Customer Service (ha!) Department, Ivan Seidenberg�s office (certainly Verizon�s president must care) and any other Verizon employees who would listen. One �helpful� Verizon manager suggested we file a complaint with the Public Utilities Commission.
We received a letter from the commission a few days later asking that we call back in two weeks if the problem wasn�t solved. Wow�the government couldn�t even help. We were shocked!
We opened for business in our cool new quarters isolated from the world. One of our lines was forwarded to a cell phone making some communication possible, but staff fought over it like mother lions protecting their cubs.
We had to keep our calls short. Hey, what if Verizon called with exciting news about our �expedited� work order!? We were all teenaged girls waiting for the handsome president of the student council to call.
Verizon never called us. We called them, though, several times each day.
Different departments gave us different messages: �We�re on it!� �Tomorrow.� �We�re having a meeting about your installation.� �We�re sending a team to install a box and drop new lines!� �I don�t see any work order in my system.�
Great. We�re working with a communications company that can�t communicate.
Verizon offered the agency hope every day. They also pulled the rug of hope out from under us daily.
Ivan Seidenberg must be an evil man, secretly watching us on huge plasma screens in his high tech tower laughing loudly as we toiled without his valuable connections.
Or maybe he was on the golf course totally oblivious to our suffering. We�re sure Mrs. Seidenberg raised her son to have empathy and pathos for those less privileged than he.
Then again, maybe not. Perhaps he was the middle child of a middle-class suburban family who got his big brother�s hand-me-downs�and didn�t feel as loved as his baby sister.
Who knows? Who cares!? For two-and-one-half weeks he let us go without�and never showed an ounce of concern.
That is, until last Monday. Two friendly installers appeared at our door. They were here to rescue us. They came to connect us with our clients, suppliers, friends and�the world!
They got busy immediately. They ran wires, snipped them, pulled them through conduits, stapled, hammered�and told us they were going to leave.
�Can we make calls now?� our office manager asked.
�No,� said the one who could talk. �Another team has to come in to hook you up.�
�Do you know how to hook us up?� she replied.
�Yes, but that�s not on our work order,� he explained. �But here�s the telephone number of our department manager. He�ll send a team right out.�
Sue grabbed the number from the friendly tech, eeked out a smile and grabbed the cell phone from an art director�s hands. She confidently dialed the secret number, put the phone to her ear and listened.
One ring. Two rings. Three rings.
It seemed to ring forever. Sue hung up and tried again. No answer. The friendly technicians weren�t so friendly, after all!
A less personable installation team appeared on Wednesday. Though they made it clear the installers before them screwed up, the building was unsuitable for wiring and people like us are unworthy of a connection through Verizon, we had limited telephone and internet service by the end of the day.
We had a reason to rejoice!
Since then I�ve heard a myriad of similar stories from a number of business owners who�ve lived through similar nightmares. Clearly, for all the romancing Verizon does within the small business segment, Verizon hates small business.
The affable James Earl Jones tells us differently in Verizon TV spots. But he�s just window dressing for an incompetent monolith staffed with heartless hacks.
Verizon�s product doesn�t deliver the promise made by its advertising. At all. One bit. Whatsoever. That�s why I hate Verizon.
Learn more about the importance of your product delivering its promise. Call me, Mark Levit, at 212.696.1200.
Mark S. Levit