Home > Uncategorized > Verizon Wireless Twitter Support Screw-up

Verizon Wireless Twitter Support Screw-up

Note: This rant is purely my opinion on the matter. It’s also a bit of a rant, so beware!

Backstory: A few weeks back Verizon Wireless finally released the OTA (Over-The-Air) update to Android 2.1 (Eclair) for Droid Eris users. Verizon had been promising this update to users for months and months, but never coming through. Slowly, leaked versions of pre-release software came out. There were three versions in total, and all of them improved upon the previous. These leaks were extremely popular with the various Android communities (read: the hardcore fans) on the web.  They installed these “leaks” and reported bugs, tested features, etc. In practice, these leaks provided great beta testing for Android 2.1.

Fast-forward to a couple of weeks ago. On May 12th, Verizon announced that 2.1 was finally ready to be released OTA to Droid Eris users. Most users had no an update was even going to come out. One day they just unlocked their phone to find a message saying they needed to install the update and reboot. However, for the various Android fan communities out there, it was a joyous time. People were celebrating the news, despite the fact that Verizon announced that this update would roll out slowly over time.  This meant not all users would get it right away.

Quickly, users with the leak flooded Verizon Wireless’ support account on Twitter (@VZWSupport), with questions about the leak and the OTA. For nearly two weeks, up until the VERY LAST DAY of the rollout, users were told that leakers would get 2.1, and to not worry. For two weeks this was the standard reply to anyone asking whether or not they will be able to get the official software in place of their leaked software. These responses stayed the same throughout the two weeks, up until Sunday where @VZWSupport sent a very definitive tweet stating that users on the leak WILL get the OTA. Here’s a screenshot of the tweet in-case it gets removed:

Notice the response to @PhishChica.

Monday rolls around. The final day for the OTA upgrade. Users on the various Android forums start getting antsy. Nobody with the 2.1 leak has gotten the update, despite the reassurances given by @VZWSupport. Then, the truth finally comes out. @VZWSupport sends out a tweet apologizing for previous information, but leakers will not be getting the OTA of Android 2.1.

Now, don’t get me wrong here. I am not upset about not getting the official 2.1 release. The leak version I have is completely identical to the OTA release in every way I can possibly find. Same numbers, software info, features, bugs, etc.  I’m not upset about leak users not getting the OTA. In fact, I knew this was coming all along. We took the risk with unsupported software and it bit us in the ass, plain and simple. Anyone who expected otherwise has not been in the smartphone software game very long.

No, what is making me furious to the point of spending over an hour creating this masterpiece before you is the fact that we were flat-out lied to by this support staff. It was obvious that they really had no idea what was going to happen with leakers and the OTA. It appears that they assumed it would work. This is fine, they had reason to think it would all work out. However, you do not go into a public forum and give definitive answers like the one above. A more appropriate response to this issue is this: “We have every reason to believe that leakers will get the OTA, but we cannot be sure because the leaks are not official software.” Or, better yet, the classic: “I am unsure of that, but I will find out and provide more information when I can.” Either option would have been respectable, instead they chose to reassure users with questions and doubts that they would get their coveted update.

Then, on the very last day, the change their story and go into defensive mode. A horde of angry users bombarded the account with questions and statements of disgust. All @VZWSupport could do was claim that they never promised an update and that users were mistaken. But wait, didn’t I just post a screen shot of that same account saying users WILL get the update? It didn’t say maybe, should, supposed to, or any other vague wording. It said WILL. The word will is a very definitive word. It means that something is promised or imminent. As a matter of fact, here is the dictionary definition of the answer (taken from Dictionary.com):

am (is, are, etc.) about or going to: I will be there tomorrowShe will see you at dinner.

Or better yet:

am (is, are, etc.) determined or sure to (used emphatically):You would do it. People will talk.

Oh, and here is the screenshot where @VZWSupport claimed they never promised anything:

It seems to me like they were simply in P.R. defense mode. They got caught lying to customers, and had to put some spin on the situation and deny their previous claims. Eventually they did apologize for their mistake, but only after they spent an entire evening being hounded by users who were irate. However, the way that this situation was handled, from start to finish, just shows how unprofessional some of the staff members at Verizon Wireless are when dealing with customer questions. It’s not uncommon to walk into a Verizon Wireless retail outlet to ask a question, only to be given a made-up answer by an under-educated staff member that doesn’t want to sound ignorant (or upset the customer). Now, it appears, that their Twitter support staff is equally as bad.

In the end, this could boil down to one of two things. First, it could have been a huge miscommunication. If this is the case, then it means that the @VZWSupport staff are incompetent and any information from them should be taken with a grain of salt. Worse case, they flat-out lied to users for two weeks straight, only to change their story on the last day when most of the hype over the OTA had died down. If this is the case, then obviously this group of staff is not to be trusted. It also means that people should be losing their jobs over this. It is a huge breach of trust, either way, and I would not be surprised if users started demanding more credibility from the support staff that they depend on.

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On a related note: Another Twitter user (@braddyg) has a very good write-up on this issue, so go check out his response here.

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