Friday, August 10, 2007

Remarkable Calm Despite TeleBlend Snafus


Given all the challenges new VoIP provider TeleBlend has faced since deciding to make a major play as a continuity provider for former SunRocket customers, including at least one significant service outage in the first couple of weeks, there isn't much squawking by disaffected customers in the blogosphere. It's somewhat odd. For an operation that jump started itself fast, and then had to transition customers from another provider, there were bound to be transition problems. Billing issues here and there, administration portals not displaying real time data, password issues or adapter resets were almost certainly to be expected.

Having worked at start up operations where we had to support Cisco networking gear, Nortel phone systems and the circuits to support them, I know what it is like when all the systems are not fully baked. And, in fairness, there is simply no way TeleBlend was going to have its back office fully baked before stepping right into the customer support morass.

I'll be willing to bet, however, that I've encountered more software problems setting up a new Vista PC than most SunRocket customers have had getting their transitioned services to work.

Maybe customers are more unhappy than they appear to be expressing. If so, we'd like to hear about it. But we aren't hearing all that much. Which might simply mean most users might have encountered a glitch here and there, but that service for the most part is working the way it was before.

The adage we are fond of repeating is simply that customer satisfaction and loyalty do not correspond all that well for mass market communication services. Happy customers will desert. Conversely, it is well worth noting, somewhat unhappy customers will not necessarily churn. I wouldn't say I am happy having to use Vista. Neither would I say I am ditching Windows for a Mac, though I have been considering it for at least a year.

Maybe I'm just not hearing what is going on in SunRocket land. But I am neither surprised there have been porting and support issues, nor concerned TeleBlend will fail to get its operational processes in enough order to support the services and price points it has chosen. How much support can a user really expect for a $12.95 a month service? That's no slam on TeleBlend; just a recognition that price points that low will not allow for much support infrastructure.

Still, I have been surprised at the relative calm, despite all the difficulties.

11 comments:

Fred Pitts said...

I am a former SunRocket customer now with Teleblend, and I have not been able to receive calls for the past five days! I can call out--at times--but I receive no calls. I have placed a ticket but have received no word. I will not be around for long.

Gary Kim said...

Thanks Fred. Ping me if you want to be interviewed. garykim.denver@gmail.com.

Bill said...

Fred,

Would you please send me your number at billsupport@teleblend.com. I will look into this early in the day today. We do apologize for any inconvenience you may be experiencing. And I appreciate that Gary has taken the time to share openly the difficulties involved here. TeleBlend certainly acknowledges the potential for transitional errors is high especially when more than 60,000 lines have moved to TeleBlend during a three week period. We thank all of you for coming and we will continue to work with your best interest in mind. Our engineers and those of our carrier partners are working as one team to assist as many customers as quickly as possible.

Marc said...

It's far from calm. Gary, you have a great column, but clearly the chances of even a small percentage of affected Teleblend customers reading the column is remote. I, too have been without incoming calls wince Monday--the "drop dead' date for Sunrocket subscribers to move. When the transition started, the problems started.

Fred O. Pitts said...

I am now eight days and counting without incoming service. Bill and I have exchanged a couple of emails, but I am still without service.

Fred O. Pitts said...

Nine days and no word from Teleblend.

Anonymous said...

I have no incoming call since I joined Teleblend on July 21, 2007. Since that time I have made many phone calls to customer support plus various email and online tickets at their site. Complete exercise in uselessness! Technical support does not return calls, Supervisors don't return calls and the service I have received in a word sucks. They have even backed away from indicating any date that they could say either we can fix it or not. Gary, you are sadly mislead if you think this company will get it's act together, if you don't believe me just call customer support and ask them any question. A recording would work just as well! Charles

greg said...

i switched from suncrocket to teleblend end of july .Everything was fine for the first week and after that i stopped receiving incoming calls. i opened support ticket and called the customer support and the problem still hasnt been fixed. anyone know of any other VOIP's ?

Gary Kim said...

packet 8 is a small business-focused provider; there is always Vonage; Lingo and at&t CallVantage gets good reviews from people who have it. And depending on what features you want, the cable companies offer "digital voice" that is actually powered using VoIP, but only offers the older telephone features. If you use find me-follow me; simultaneous ring and other features, cable voice won't be interesting. Also, it sort of depends on what you do with VoIP. I assume you are not looking at global calling from a mobile phone (Mino for BlackBerry, for example). Obviously you can use Skype or Jajah for global calling as well. You might take a look at GrandCentral if you are interested primarily in unified messaging.

Charles said...

Forget packet 8 is my advice, Since sunrockets' demise I have tried them all and the winner for me is Via Talk. It worked with very little fuss behind my router and is the closest deal to the sunrocket package. Did you attempt to port your number? If you did that is why your incoming calls are gone. Vonage)? What a joke took 4 hours with tech support to get to the highest level of tech support which lands you in the USA from the Philippines where they could not even diagnose a simple problem with their router. The advanced tech support in the US agreed with me sent me a re-conditioned piece of gear and I had to return both for the same problem. BTW if your number did get ported you will not be able to get it back by yourself Teleblend will have to do it. Good luck, Charles

Anonymous said...

I'm on day 3 of no inbound calls. So far I've reset the "Gizmo" and verified the correct ports are open.

This is the last time I go w/o service (seems to happen every 4-6 months). I'll be switching Monday if I can't get calls by then.

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