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Thread: Lessons from a Telkom line fault.

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Lessons from a Telkom line fault.

    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.

    Day 1.
    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).

    First steps.
    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.

    Day 2
    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.

    Day 3.
    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.
    Last edited by Dave A; 01-Nov-07 at 10:10 PM.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Well I see no-one jumped in with their own ideas. But here is what I learned:
    • If it is a business line, call 10217. For anything related to Telkom. Do not call 10212.
    • Follow up vigorously.
    • Make sure they understand the size of the problem to you.
    • Do not underestimate the power of "Wrath from on high."

    It was that last point that struck me most, although pointing out that calling 10217 is the better option will hopefully save you a lot of frustration.

    Essentially there was no real effort to solve my problem. And this is quite a challenge to overcome when dealing with corporates in general. We're dealing with the underlings who do not have much power and all to often, it seems, even less motivation.

    So the trick is to get them motivated.

    Perhaps both I and the call-centre operator both new that there was little prospect of a successful lawsuit against Telkom over the issue. But he was not going to get the summons, was he? And someone was going to have to look at what happened before politely apologising for my ordeal, but in terms of section x, subsection y of Act who cares and some scrap of paper signed by me which, when read in conjunction with standard terms available upon request, I could not hold Telkom responsible for my losses.

    And the last thing any underling wants is for some boss from on high pulling out the magnifying glass and scrutinising their lives.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    Blurock (28-Aug-12)

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    Email problem
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    This works: get the numbers [home/ business/ cell] of the most senior manager in your area. If after 24 hours you have no physical result, nor an update of some sort, call your new freind - direct. Harrass him/her. Top-down escalation is by far the preferred method here.

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    Diamond Member tec0's Avatar
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    They say a picture is worth a thousand words, Well I think my Telkom problem must be seen...

    Now please note it has been like this since January this year...

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Telkom.jpg 
Views:	256 
Size:	72.7 KB 
ID:	2799

    Telkom just don't give a damn


    and no it is not a fake photo...

    steps I took,

    • Fist step: Log a fault...
    • Second step: Follow-up every weekday for 1 month
    • Third step: Follow-up once a week for 1 month
    • fourth Step: Give up after 5 months...
    peace is a state of mind
    Disclaimer: everything written by me can be considered as fictional.

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    Diamond Member wynn's Avatar
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    Errr! get a fax to email account!!! there are ones you can send via email as well, speak to Nigel Hamilton
    "Nobody who has succeeded has not failed along the way"
    Arianna Huffington

    Read the first 10% of my books "Didymus" and "The BEAST of BIKO BRIDGE" for free
    You can also read and download 100% free my short stories "A Real Surprise" and "Pieces of Eight" at
    http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/332256

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    tec0 (28-Aug-12)

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    Diamond Member Justloadit's Avatar
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    If you are on ADSL, you still need a Telkom line.

    With the terminals exposed like that, when ever it rains, you get this constant crackling on the line, which also affects the ADSL upload due to errors in the data.
    Victor - Knowledge is a blessing or a curse, your current circumstances make you decide!
    Solar and LED lighting solutions - www.microsolve.co.za

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    tec0 (28-Aug-12)

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    Diamond Member tec0's Avatar
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    My line is "dodgy" I sometimes wonder if Telkom is not making a point that they actually don’t want my business/money anymore? and is hoping I would leave them?
    Sad thing is I do pay line rental for that mess it is sickening….

    Sometimes the phone will just ring and ring and no one is calling... Or intermittent problems where the line just goes dead and then it comes back on again.
    peace is a state of mind
    Disclaimer: everything written by me can be considered as fictional.

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    Diamond Member wynn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Justloadit View Post
    If you are on ADSL, you still need a Telkom line.
    You can get a cellular modem direct to the nearest telkom tower?
    "Nobody who has succeeded has not failed along the way"
    Arianna Huffington

    Read the first 10% of my books "Didymus" and "The BEAST of BIKO BRIDGE" for free
    You can also read and download 100% free my short stories "A Real Surprise" and "Pieces of Eight" at
    http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/332256

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    A client complained (I am not in IT) that none of their wi fi computers could access email, but their cabled computers could. This through the same router no less. Telkom confirmed the problem and claimed it was a "National email" problem and claimed "our technicians are working on it."

    I happened to drop in 7 days later and was amazed that they still had no email service on their wi fi machines. It was at this stage that they told me that Telkom confirmed it only affects the wi fi machines and not the cabled machines. Despite not being an IT person, I can still smell brown stuff when it is around.

    I examined the settings on the wi fi machines and found they had been setup with some interesting DNS ip numbers ... after setting them to auto needless to say the problem was resolved.

    Now I wonder if Dave's "the telkomsa.net email fault" was perhaps what the technician was referring to.

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    Had my line converted to an ADSL last monday, but only plugged the router in on Friday. No DSL signal, so started phoning back and forth to Telkom and my ISP. Telkom tech came to see me monday morning - played around a bit at the shop and exchange and eventually found out is was my alarm that was causing the problem...which is something I should have checked

    But thumbs up to telkom, it is a bit hit and miss at their call centre though.

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