I suddenly love my… ISP

People, including me, tend to make a big deal of bad stuff and not of good stuff, so I sometimes try to do the oposite. Recently my internet connection was slow, very slow. Several weeks passed and I’ve got really angry so I did complaint, expecting to be ignored. I wasn’t ignored, I’ve got an awesome reply:

Dear Mr. Fernandez

Thank you for contacting us.

I’ve checked your connection for factors that might lead to the service impairment you complain about and this is what I’ve found so far:

– your cablemodem passed all our tests, it shows no sign of wear and should therefore work perfectly
– the signal quality of your connection is very good
– our network has enough capacity to deliver the data rates of your subscription plan. In the evening peak hours there might be a reduction in bandwidth (Best Effort)

This was all I expected as an answer. Just them telling me there’s no problem. But they went on:

According to the information I have so far you might be using a Netgear router between the modem and your PC. Please keep in mind that a router may reduce your bandwith depending on several factors.

That’s true, I have a crappy cheap consumer cheap switch/router and they know it. Is their modem informing them? I don’t see another way for them to know. Interesting.

Please attach your PC directly to the cablemodem and perform a few reference tests on http://hsi.cablecom.ch . Should the results show a reduced bandwidth please send us these results by clicking on the “trouble ticket” link on that page and fill out the form.

Oh! They have their own measurement tool. Of course it measures only their own connection, so if my access to them is fast, but their access to the internet is slow, it’ll say my access is fast while for practical porpoises it’s going to be slow. It’s still good that we can find where the problem is.

Please also make sure that no other programs using the internet is running when performing these tests. The statistics of your connection show a very high upstream : downstream ratio – you seem to be sending up to twice as much data as you are receiving (your utilization of thelast four weeks: 190 GB sent, 85 GB received).

I’ve uploaded 190GB? Holly crap! I didn’t know. Of course an ISP have that data, but the fact that technical support has access to it and that they use it to tell you what’s going on it’s amazing for me.

This might be due to a badly tuned peer2peer application (emule, kazaa, bittorrent, etc) or due to some server application running in the background. To get the full Downstream bandwidth you will need to have at least 500kbit/s upstream bandwidth left. Most peer2peer applications allow you to limit the upstream – we recommend to set this threshold to 2000kbit/s with your current subscription plan.

During the tests any peer2peer activity must be disabled (we recommend to have them switched off for at least 5 minutes before you start the test).

This is where they went way beyond their duty. They’ve explained me how to configure my bittorrent client. If I’m using my connection wrongly it’s not their problem, except that it is, because even if it’s due to my ignorance, I’m perceiving their product as bad. This kind of mentality, “if the user believes we are bad we are bad” is what makes companies like Google and Apple so great and successful.

And actually, this part of the answer probably helped me find the issue, which was not bittorent: backups. I have two programs constantly backing up my machine, constantly uploading everything to various servers on the web. One of them tends to misbehave and use as much bandwidth and processor as there is, leaving nothing to the puny humans.

Once we have received your test results we can continue the analysis on the issue.

Yours sincerely,

Markus *******
Customer Service

That was awesome! Thank you Cablecom.

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One thought on “I suddenly love my… ISP

  1. Very well said. Well run companies realize what matters is not that technically their offering is good but that customer’s experience of their product is good. Unfortunately very few companies put this principle into practice.

    “A survey of 15,000 ‘faulty’ devices by mobile data provider WDSGlobal found 63 per cent of the one in seven new phones which are returned have nothing wrong with them.” If 14% of your customers return your product because they think it fails and then you think 63% of those returns “have nothing wrong” that is a sign you don’t have the right mindset. Unfortunately you have the mindset of the overwhelming majority of companies.

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