Verizon Online DSL Sales CSC-Tampa - aka DS-Hell
My best description of the DSL Tampa Sales office operation is: a complete Cluster-F*** of ongoing problems and issues of epic proportions, directly under the control of (mis) Management from every level and their ongoing comedy of completely avoidable errors. Its even been compared to a Shakespearian-like tragedy where everybody involved needlessly suffers deep and permanent grief and losses. I have never seen such piss-poor judgment and operation skills when it comes to the decisions that are made and the way it wastes company money, pisses off, frustrates and churns customers and truly erodes the inner most soul of its best employees. After several years of having the misfortune of being employed here, I feel compelled to tell of my DS-Hell experience. It is only right and just, that the public and corporate get a senior Rep's first-hand account of the day-to-day operations of this illegal abortion of an office. Please understand, this is NOT an employee gripe against the company, but a loud wake up call for anybody in Management who touches this thing that it is in dire need of a complete major process overhaul, as our survival is clearly at stake.
As you read on, you will truly be in awe of just how utterly f***ed up and out of control this ENTIRE operation is. Things are so bad that a class action lawsuit by more than 10,000 completely pissed off customers was filed in January of 2001. You can see the details of the case by going to: www.cmht.com/casewatch/cases/cwverizon.htm. Many of the problems were caused by the complete lack of foresight by upper Management of keeping up with the cable companies in the broadband race. Both this and the somewhat delayed 2001 merge of Bell Atlantic and GTE left Verizon way behind and thus scrambling to catch up. This rush is partial cause of the present day turmoil that exists. You will truly be with your mouth agape in disbelief, as I cite several examples of the Cluster-F*** in motion, it's core and how it's mass and gravity continue to grow unchecked at an alarming rate to this day.
Let me briefly cite exactly what's at the core of the fore mentioned Cluster-F*** and then further explain the examples:
1) The complete misdirection of inbound calls to the DSL Voice Portal (IVRU) system that is both known and documented by Management and their utter disregard and refusal to correct them.
2) A long history of inadequate, slow, poorly designed and error-prone ordering software, (Oasis, OLO, and SSP) as well as ongoing miscommunications to customers, once again under the complete auspices of truly incompetent and hands-off, lame-a*s IT Management and their departments.
3) Escalating, outrageously high sales quotas on both DSL, dial-up and way over-priced Linksys Routers that are not ethically obtainable within normal 8 hr. workdays and ongoing IVRU issues. Unjustifiable and wasteful ongoing mandatory overtime, mostly due to above-mentioned #1 and below-mentioned #4.
4) A long history of extremely high employee turnover due to above-mentioned #'s 1-3, as well as other obscene needs of the business management policies. This too is documented in HR records. And now the contractor-only hiring policy.
Now, let's take a deeper look into the above issues one at a time:
The IVRU DSL Voice Portal has an extensive, notorious history of frustrating both customers and employees alike to the point of near insanity. No one is spared the wrath of its relentless torture. It has always been completely inadequate at first, properly screening, and qualifying the caller and then routing them to the proper office that is best equipped to handle their type of call request. To make matters worse, it is now ALL voice response prompts, which means an even higher possibility of being misdirected. For example, a person with less than perfect English or diction can be routed to the completely wrong dept/office, depending upon how the system's voice recognition interprets the caller's voice input. So if you speak like The Elephant Man, talk ghetto, or like a true redneck, this system will swallow you whole and then s**t you out to the wrong department; most likely into Sales. There are many days when our Reps. take 20-30 calls in a row that are not sales-related. Truly guys, a major f***-up and a 4-star money-waster here!! Think about this: a properly designed IVRU should first get the customer to a main menu of basic choices, then further qualify and screen the call based upon the callers input. BY PROPER DESIGN, it should NOT let the customer GET to the WRONG place. That is its only f***ing purpose!! When you let someone advance aimlessly thru the system by pressing the 0 key and they wind up in a residential DSL f***ing Sales queue looking to get the balance of their home phone bill or to renew their Verizon Wireless Free-Up card; you have a problem Houston. Although the majority of the misdirects are external, many are also from other internal sources (other Verizon offices) that also need to be re-educated on the what/when before they transfer a customer to Sales. Historically, these people have proven to be as capable in their job function as Stevie Wonder being your tour guide during a blackout. Customers also complain DAILY about the difficulty of wading through the treacherous array of voice prompts and how much they hate to have to call in to us for anything.
Clearly, through both input from the different depts. and proper flow-charting design, we could both better serve the customers and employees alike, while saving a butt-load of money by both first completely re-vamping and then ongoing tweaking of the ENTIRE IVRU. Once again, Management at ALL levels refuses to do this. Any local manager with a grade school diploma could easily see this by doing regular call observations and then take the appropriate action to get it corrected. Over the years, they have wasted a s**t load of money by hiring external companies to determine if there is an IVRU problem, only to come to the abundantly obvious conclusion that we are literally SLAMMED with butt loads of misdirected garbage calls. This has also been documented in a corporate-wide Service Alert in 2003. Contrary to the mental hand-job of outright lies they tell you, they can fix the problem and they f***ing know it!! It is a relatively easy and inexpensive fix as well!! It will likely be key to our future survival. It is truly f***ing amazing that we are a multi-billion dollar, global Telecommunications company and we can't properly operate an IVRU?? What a complete and total f***ing embarrassment!! At the present time, through the use of internal documented call tracking by multiple Reps., we receive 60%-70% mis-directs in the sales queue. An additional 10% or more are calls that are NOT DSL QUALIFIED or don't have Verizon local phone service and should have never made it thru the IVRU to the Sales queue in the first place!! Now your total is nearing 70%-80% misdirects!! This means that if the IVRU did it's job, we could operate the center with 50%-70% or less of the present head-count, not to mention eliminating mandatory overtime and restoring employee morale and dignity back to the office. The annual cost savings could easily be in to the several hundred thousand + dollars range as well. Why does this shameless charade go on and on when the fix is SO easy?? Just a glimpse within one section of the core of the impenetrable cluster. Everyday that they wait just pisses more and more money away. As a long term stockholder and veteran employee, I am truly appalled at Management's indifference approach to the issue.
IT and ordering systems issues and other miscues have plagued the entire Verizon Online division since day one. It all started with a an ordering system called Oasis- more commonly known as SLO-ASIS by every poor soul that's ever had to f***ing use it. This IT ordering tool abortion used to take 15-20 minutes to complete one f***ing simple DSL sales order and STILL had one of the highest rate of provisioning errors (order fallout) known to mankind. Many customer orders did not complete or got hung up with some error and the Loop Qualification was inaccurate. NX1.7, (the West former GTE ordering tool) although a much quicker and easier system for the Rep. to use, has not fared much better with the order fallout. As you can imagine, this just increases pissed off customers and churn, as well as calls to and from every d**n department to get the problems corrected and the customer their service. To make matters worse, this piece of s**t would periodically clock for extended lengths of time, or go down more than a Cajun w***e during Mardi Gras for any reason at any time during the business day. There were days when you literally sat there at you desk waiting on SLO-ASIS, (like watching paint dry) wondering what the f*** you did in your miserable life to possibly deserve this kind of s**t. Worse, yet, how the f*** could they possibly let this go on day after f***ing day?? Another SLO-ASIS loophole issue involved sinister scumbag Reps. canceling your orders that were in progress, then replacing them with their own orders to get sales credit, once again leaving both you as a Rep. and customers with that just raped, not so fresh feeling. Not to mention their regular routine of slamming customers by the s**t load!! These felon-like maggots openly laughed at and even bragged about their defiant acts of both company sales guidelines and ethics policies. Worse yet, local management looked the other way, as the more sales they got, the bigger their bonuses were and the better they looked to their direct reports. Although a few e-mails were sent out reminding of proper sales guidelines, most were either ignored or deleted upon receipt, as there was never any real threat of disciplinary action against the offenders. You then get to repeatedly re-live the emotional trauma of your rape, by watching in awe as these same thieving pieces of putrid s**t get awarded sales performance prizes ranging from hundreds of dollars in American Express Gift Checks, to Las Vegas trips as well as f***ing Jet Skis and 4-Wheeler ATVs costing over $5,000.00 each!! As a Rep, it's like living a total f***ing Freddy Kruger nightmare!! You try your hardest to make your sales honestly and truly help the customer. You endure the Vietnam P.O.W. camp-like emotional torture of relentless irates and misdirects that you can't help. You apologize your a*s off to customers daily, knowing that there's gotta be a better f***ing way to get this s**t done right the first f***ing time!! Does anybody in Management give a rat's a*s about any of this s**t?? Obviously NOT!!
Finally, after years of administering punishing pain and torture to both customers and employees alike, Management realized that SLO-ASIS needed to be dumped like yesterday's retched turd (summer, 2003) and gave us OLO, or commonly known as the 1-Step Tool. This next IT blunder was faster at taking orders, but gave more order errors and fallout (as it had to update into SLO-ASIS) then its slow predecessor and pissed off even more customers and Reps. In Jan. 2004, as they slowly transitioned towards the mid-April, 2004 release of SSP, both these systems were hosed regularly if not daily. I can clearly remember in mid Jan. of 2004, when the f***ing Einstein-like genius of IT took down SLO-ASIS from 8:45 A.M. til mid afternoon on 9 consecutive business days. This means that during the busiest times of the day when you needed to use the system most, you were completely hosed. Does this make any business sense to anyone, anywhere?? And remember, they're not just crippling our one office. This system is used by other Verizon Online Depts., like Billing and Tech Support as well as Verizon local CSSC Reps. in every state that was former Bell Atlantic territory from Maine to West Virginia!! This affected literally thousands of employees. Don't you think that in most normal companies, they would schedule this s**t to be done after business hours?? Not these f***ing lame a*s retards!! How dare we ask them to come in on weekends or nights to get the upgrades done!! Once again Management watched it go on all day, every f***ing day!! And do you know what the Management solution was?? Our Section Manager (on her way to the snack machine) would waddle through the floor with her farm animal size a*s barking out commands to take paper orders. Way to go lady!! You ARE a modern day genius and a living f***ing legend!! Problem there, is that she doesn't give us down time to put the paper orders in!! And unless you come in at 7:00 A.M. on you own time you can't use the system anyway, so you're condemned to trying to squeeze your paper orders into the system during the day, either between calls, while you're on hold with other departments or on your breaks. By comparison, a dental root canal procedure would be more pleasant.
As of mid April of 2004 we started to use the latest IT ordering problem child called SSP. Although SSP is very fast and helps the Rep. get the orders in quickly, it still hoses way too many orders. Worse yet, it leaves fallout orders in a Pending status for weeks, or months until ultimately the customer calls in irate and wants to know where the hell their order is. There was a period in May 2004 where we left over 4,000+ customers in limbo, hanging by their genitals in this pending queue. Once again, in true Management fashion, they send out a scripted service alert telling us to let the customer know that the orders will be completed as soon as possible, with no service ready date and that an offline team, with no ETA, is working the orders. How completely f***ing weak and ambiguous is THAT?? To compound this insanity, literally f***ing thousands of our customers have had their DSL service disconnected in error(for no apparent reason), due to some sort of internal system f***k up, that the retards at IT have not resolved yet to this day!! Is it any wonder why we have incredibly high customer churn and the American public f***ing hates Verizon like Osama Bin Laden?? As of today, the pending problem still is a major issue and SSP clocks way too much and gives a s**t load of error messages, once again thwarting both the sales and provisioning processes. I still have orders pending for weeks, if not months after submitting these to IT to be corrected!! Clearly, this entire ordering platform was never thoroughly and correctly beta-tested before it was brought online for use. Management should be crawling IT's dyslexic retarded a*s daily until the problems are corrected rather than distributing some vague bullshit band-aid solution script to read to our customers!! It is f***ing unimaginable that we can both do business and treat our customers this way!! These poor people deserve an honest answer of when they can expect service. Customers have choices and if we can't seem to get it done, they WILL go and HAVE gone elsewhere.
Other inexcusable IT embarrassments have been information being communicated to customers that is either misleading, inaccurate and/or completely erroneous on both the Verizon Online (VOL) website or through direct mail in the form of letters, phone bill inserts or post cards. Let me just touch on a few of these, so you can have a better feel of just how deep and wide the festering disease of incompetence has penetrated.
In a corporate service alert distributed on 8/4/2004, IT erroneously sent 75,000 letters to existing Verizon Online DSL customers that stated Remove 1 VERIZON ONLINE DSL CUSTOMER, indicating that their DSL service was being cancelled. How can 75,000 letters being sent out to customers possibly go un-f***ing noticed?? Well, in the famous words of Johnny Knoxville: Welcome to Jackass!! How many desks and offices must it cross before somebody might question the wooden pallet load of 75,000 f***ing letters passing by?? Not to mention the cost each letter 37cents x 75,000 letters = $27,750 just in f***ing postage alone!! And what about the fallout when these poor people call in, pissed off in a panic, wondering how and why their service was being cancelled?? How could anybody in IT possibly let this happen unnoticed and then do absolutely nothing to stop it!! Who IS driving this IT bus??
Through another corporate service alert dated 7/23/04 another inexcusable IT mishap was documented involving the Verizon Online ordering website that occurred from 7/8/2004 7/23/04. It impacted approximately 4,700 customers that had placed online orders for DSL service. The customers were mistakenly shown as being Loop Qualified (DSL available) in error, as DSL was NOT actually available. The problem here is that it took IT 15 days to realize that this had occurred before any one even noticed. How completely f***ing weak is that!! Some of these poor people had been waiting for literally years to get DSL, only to have their genitals teased to the brink of orgasm and then left in a blue balls- like state of frustration, as they later found out that DSL was actually NOT available. To compound this total f*** up, there was also a free after rebate promotion for a Linksys wireless router going on during the same time period. Many of these eager souls, placed their order for that too paying by credit card, only to later find out that it was all a cruel joke. They got their routers right away, but no DSL equipment or service. And where do you suppose these customer calls were sent?? You got it!! To the Sales Dept!! Where we could do absolutely nothing to help these poor people, only to transfer them to our cancellations group (Retention) to credit them back and apologize for this shameless embarrassing IT internal f***-up.
Other IT ongoing errors involve current Verizon local phone customers being sent erroneous information by mail that they are now pre-qualified for DSL, when in actuality they are not. The problem here is that IT sends large bulk marketing to everyone within a certain area where DSL is available within their Central Office (CO). However, not every customer within that CO is loop qualified (electrically capable) for DSL. Here again, IT drops the ball for not accurately qualifying these poor folks in the engineering database before sending them letters. Worse yet, they can't even provide an estimated time frame for availability, which is completely unacceptable. Once again, leaving our customer perception in the toilet of a public rest room.
Although too numerous to cite here, a long notorious history of IT f***-ups have occurred and I mention these few only to demonstrate both the scope and diversity of the ongoing problems that exist and how it truly impacts EVERY aspect of the business. To me, IT f***-ups are both our biggest threat to the future of this company and by far the predominate root cause of the majority of the Cluster-F*** of problems that they spawn. Those responsible at every level should be held accountable for all their ineptitude and demonstrated ongoing indifference regarding these types of issues. There are truly NO excuses or valid justification for ANY of this.
Escalating and unrealistic sales quotas and other management issues are now at an all time high. I don't want to dwell on this section too long, but I do want to give you a clear view of just how skewed and out of touch these f***ers are with reality.
Let's start with July 2004 DSL sales quotas: first they want you to sell about 323 DSL units this month. Now lets break that down: you have approx. 22 selling days to do this so you need to avg. about 15 units a day to meet your quota. Problem here again is the huge call misdirect and order fallout issues. On most days, you are lucky to get an avg. of 13-15 DSL qualified calls out of the approx. 60 calls you answer. Of those you'll sell about 12-13, with maybe 1-2 being a follow up. That means that you'll avg. about 11-12 per day after all the ordering system IT f***-ups which = approx. 253 sales per month. The conclusion: you finish the month at about 79% of quota. So as you can see, even if you sold every one of the DSL 15 qualified calls, (beyond a Superman-like feat) after order fallout, you couldn't possibly meet this quota honestly and ethically without slamming customers. Next are the overpriced Linksys 802.11B wireless and 4-port wired routers. The wireless units competitively sell for an avg. of $39.95 after rebate in many major electronic stores. Other equal brands like D-Link and Netgear sell for $19.99 - $29.99 after rebate. The Verizon Online price is $99.95. A 4-port wired cable/DSL router competitively sells for $10-$20, after rebate. The Verizon Online price: $79.95. Holy s**t!! Who the f*** in their right mind would possibly buy any of these things from us, when we're 3-5 times or more the price of the rest of the f***ing populated planet?? And our quotas on this piece of s**t are at 74 per month for July and 90 for August!! That means that you'll need to sell 4-5 per day to make quota, especially after people read the f***ing Best Buy or Circuit City ad and find they've been a victim of router rape by Verizon and then return what you had to sell your a*s off, for them to buy!! And to top it off, for the last 3 months, we've been advertising the s**t out of this thing free after $99.00 rebate. So, now more than ever before, customers don't want to spend the $99.95 for it at all!! Great time to skyrocket the quotas guys!!
Next item is about close ratio. First, lets give you Management's calculation method, then, I'll apply some 5th grade math of my own. Management says that they define your close ratio as your total daily DSL sales divided by the total # of calls you take daily; i.e.: 14 sales divided by 60 calls = 23.3%. Here's the actual close ratio: 14 sales divided by the total number of DSL qualified customers whom you pitched (15) = 93%!! Do you see how totally f***ing skewed their methodology is!! This is nothing short of a complete insult to your intelligence!! They're holding you as a Rep sales accountable for every d**n call that you get, including the s**t load of misdirects that THEY drive right in to our center!! If you have an a la carte router or dial-up sale, they are NOT counted as a sale and furthermore count against you for close ratio!! Can you see how totally f***ing twisted and absurd both their math and logic is?? Their 25% ratio alone tells you that they acknowledge approx. 70-75% misdirected calls. Worse yet, they coach you if you're consistently under their bullshit 25% close ratio rule. This leaves you dizzy, scratching your head in a Twilight Zone catatonic state of disbelief, as your true close ratio is d**n close to 90%!!
The next departure from reality involves you being sales quota responsible when you're on vacation. So that means that if you have 3-4 weeks of yearly vacation, YOU, as a Rep must meet your ENTIRE monthly quota; even though you're not even in the f***ing building!! Anyone with the common sense of a seedless grape could clearly see that this is impossible. Not these F***ers!! If you start to fall behind on quota, they'll put you on an action plan to improve your poor performance. Another classic example of the true Cluster-F*** in motion and it's warped view of reality.
Ongoing extremely high employee turnover has always plagued this office as well. It is the fourth and final component that completes the Cluster-F***. The synergy of ongoing problems and complete frustration will ultimately lead to your unavoidable surrender here. It already has for literally the hundreds if not thousands of the willing, yet doomed souls that have passed and continue to pass through our doors.
In October of 2003, Verizon Management employees were offered a Voluntary Separation Package aka a VSP. At that time we had about 110 Sales Reps. on the floor. 62 of the 110 (over 56%) chose to take the VSP, proving both the fed-the-f***-up and completely hopeless employee sentiment of this intolerable and unbearable working environment. For many, it was the ultimate out a chance to be finally be free of their relentless misery, get about a years worth of pay and benefits and then flip this f***ing place off in the rear view mirror one final time on your way out of the parking lot!! To cite a more extreme example: this July, we hired on a new Sales Coach from the leading global wireless phone manufacturer. Clearly this speaks f***ing volumes about this entire sham and complete horror show of an operation.
Make no mistake, all the turnover here at this office is completely due to all the above fore mentioned items I cited. Every one of these things truly makes this entire experience like wallowing naked daily through a cesspool of raw sewage. To cite another more extreme example: At the end of July, we hired a Sales Coach from the leading global wireless phone manufacturer. Although capable, his tour abruptly ended in less than 1 week, after being bulldozed by the Cluster.
Another by-product of the high turnover is the invoking of mandatory overtime. This means that once again you are anally penetrated against your will to endure 1-2 hours of daily torturous overtime for months at a time until Management can hire some new victims. They justify this sham as a due to the needs of the business issue. In reality, its just one more mental hand-job of lies, deception and utter bullshit to cover for their own obvious ongoing incompetence. Management now hires contractors only (non-permanent employees). The vast majority of these misfits couldn't hold a permanent full time job in most working environments, yet we choose to hire them anyway just to fill a seat. On some days, as you walk through the building, it looks more like a best of Americas Most Wanted ghetto reunion, rather than a serious place of employment. Besides that, most have no related experience and further complicate and contribute to the existing state of turmoil. As the new recruits come on the job, they then have to re-align (move) Reps. to balance the different sales teams. So, with the constant hiring, firing and quitting, you often have to move your desk/seat several times yearly to a different location. This causes a Chinese fire drill state of confusion, leaving you scrambling to get situated at you new workstation only to find that you can't even log-in to the network to get on the phones and get your work done. And if you do ask for help, like getting your e-mail set up, odds are our local IT f***ing pros will take a week or more to get to you. Let me give you a better actual example of this: in 2003, due to some IT f***-up with Lotus Notes, (Verizon's s**t e-mail program) several Reps were without their e-mail for six f***ing weeks before anyone of these retards could figure out the database/id's had crashed and needed to be rebuilt. No other modern company on this planet would find that acceptable.
Another inexcusable office policy is that of employee releasability. This means that if you do happen to find another job within the company, local Management has the discretion of the if/when you can be released from purgatory to start your new position. Many of these poor and deserving employees have been held back for 90 days or more. Some of these people were then passed-up for the promotion, as the hiring manager needed to fill the position a lot sooner. So besides controlling your everyday miserable piss ant existence, they now have a firm, sinister and unyielding death grip on your entire future. Once again, leaving you as an employee completely hosed, knowing that your chance of both promotion and escape from your hell-like sentence has slipped through your hands. Hence the nickname for this place: DS-Hell. Kudos to f***ing Verizon Online for being the first company to bring the Hotel California concept where You can check out any time you want, but you can never leave to it's best employees. Where else can you be given super human goals to achieve and yet be micromanaged and treated like such a kindergarten child??
On behalf of the company, from a Sales Rep who truly cares, I want to deeply apologize to any and all of our customers for the inexcusable and shameless Cluster-F*** of problems that Management has caused us all. But we as employees on the front line, like you our customers are mutual victims of their relentless and repeated acts of unlubricated sodomy.
Until current Management is either replaced or figures out that they need to get in touch with reality, watching this place run for the dwindling number of us Bruce Willis-like Die-Hards who remain here, will truly be like watching a monkey f***ing a football.