Our fax line went down on Tuesday morning. The process of getting it back up again was something of a pain, but along the way I learnt and was reminded of a few things.
Tuesday. Basically, no dialing tone on our fax line. No calls in and out. But the same line also carries our ADSL connection, and that was working just fine.
Try a new POTS filter - no go.
Test with a phone unit that definitely works - no go.
Call 10212 (my first mistake).
Wait an hour to get to report the fault. This deserves expansion. At first I waited 10 minutes for the call to be answered. But because it was an ADSL line too, the call had to be transferred - I, along with the initial operator, had to wait 50 minutes for that transfer call to be answered. BTW, the initial operator did drop by every 10 minutes or so to say that he was still trying.
Report fault. I'm impressed as I get an SMS within a minute with a reference number. However, no number to call if I wanted to follow up on progress.
Wednesday. Check if line is fixed. Most definitely not. Call 10212. Wait 14 minutes (yes - I did time each call). Try to give fault reference number, but the operator wants the line number. Confirms that a fault report is open. I ask when the line will be fixed. I'm told he is sending a request to the exchange to look into the matter right now.
About midday. Call 10212. Wait 18 minutes for the call to be answered. Go through the now standard routine of updating the operator. Apparently the fault had been assigned to a technician that very morning (more than 24 hours after reporting the fault). Request to speak to a supervisor about the delay as I wish to escalate. He says he's escalating the problem in the system because, after all, it's a business line.
3.15 p.m. Get a call from a technician asking if the line is working yet. Test line. Still dead. Technician reports that the main cable must be damaged due to a new line being installed right outside our offices (Actually, I had noticed that, but that was last week). Technician admits that a cable fault is unlikely to be the problem when I point out that the ADSL is still working. He assures me he'll check for a fault at the exchange.
Thursday. Check if line is fixed. Most definitely not.
Call the telephone the technician called me from. No reply after 10 minutes. No music, queing system. Time to move on.
Call 10212. Wait 11 minutes for the call to be answered. That was quite interesting, actually. There was a new message that the call center was experiencing exceptionally high call volumes. However the telkomsa.net email fault had now been fixed. I wonder how long the fault was and how many emails got lost. Go through the now standard routine of updating the operator. He tells me that the fault is assigned and may take up to a week to repair. I ask for a supervisor or someone from management. He tells me I must call 1023 and ask for a number. I confirm he does not know where I can call to escalate. He confirms he does not know.
Call 10217 (new business services accrding to the telephone directory. Press 2 to obtain a progress report on a reported fault. Call answered within 2 minutes. I say that I'm following up on a reported fault. He asks for my fault reference number! Now that's a first. Confirms identity.
Operator confirms that the fault has been assigned to a technician. I explain that the technician called me yesterday, but the fault was still not fixed. Operator offers to capture a message in the system. I ask for supervisor as I wish to speak to a supervisor, line manager, anyone who has any kind of vague authority over another human being at Telkom. He says there is no such person he can put me through to.
I explode. I explain that this is my business's fax line, that we cannot proceed on a single client's instruction without receiving a signed fax from the client, and that this has not happened for over 48 hours now, representing a loss of revenue of x Rands, and that my next call was going to be my lawyer as it was now well and truly worthwhile suing Telkom's sorry ass. He asks me to hold so that he can call the technician. 5 minutes later I'm assured that the technician will attend to it immediately.
Less than one hour later the first fax comes in. The line is working again.
Part 2 - My lessons learnt, on Monday. Feel free to jump in with any wisdom you might have to share on the subject in the meantime.