Finding this entire situation to be completely asinine I wrote a letter to the Human Resources rep for the Pasadena, CA office. I received a rather bullshit email in response. Merrick's signature includes his email address and phone number. I have decided to include his reply to me in its entirety. As such, if you feel this is a load of crap as well you might want to drop him a line. If you are an Earthlink customer, let him know how it makes you feel as a customer to know that people who attempt to report problems are treated as such. Following is the entire correspondence, original typos and everything:
Up until last Thursday, Feb 21, I was a temporary employee working as a Tech Support Rep in the New York building. On that day my assignment was ended because
of an incident that occurred on the Sunday before, Feb 17. This incident has been filed with the TAC staffing Reps and is available if you contact Veronica in the
TAC office in the New York building.
I encourage you to read the incident report yourself but I will attempt to recap it here. I did ask Veronica for a copy of the report but she said she was unable to provide it to me.
The incident occurred when I received a phone call
from a customer informing me that Google was broken.
After speaking with the customer for a while I found
out the customer was in fact referring to the Google
branded search that had recently been implemented on
the PSP. I tested this on my PSP and had a co-worker
verify he could also reproduce the problem on his PSP.
In fact, through out this entire ordeal, everyone who
I asked could reproduce the problem.
When I informed my supervisor of this severe outage on
the PSP he told me to file a bad PSP form. This is the
form that would be filled out if a customer was unable
to login to his PSP or his PSP had been corrupted.
This did not seem like a logical place to report a
nation wide outage, especially because there is a 24
hour turn around on bad PSP reports. I did not find it
reasonable that the Google branded search would stay
down for up to 24 hours for no reason other then the
correct department did not know about it. To add to
this, in a later conversation with the floor manager,
I was informed the team at the NOC that deals with the
bad PSP is not even open on the weekends. This would
add even more time before NOC would even become aware
that such a problem existed.
I told my supervisor I felt this particular problem
demanded a non-standard solution because of its
caliber. At this point I was told "We are grateful for
your enthusiasm, but at this point we have done all we
can do. Continue to submit bad PSP forms." I returned
to my desk and continued taking phone calls.
Later, I returned to my supervisor and asked his
permission to report this problem to the bridge. I was
granted permission to speak to the bridge on this
issue. I informed the bridge of the outage and they
checked the NOC status page to discover this issue had
not been reported yet. I was told by the bridge that
the only available recourse was to submit hundreds
upon hundreds of bad PSP forms, in effect swamping the
NOC and then someone might do something about it.
Again, I felt this to be a rather bad solution to this
problem. I asked the bridge if it would be possible
for me to directly contact the NOC and inform them of
this problem and I was told it was forbidden. I again
returned to my desk and continued taking phone calls.
After taking a few phone calls I returned to my
supervisor and informed him I felt portions of the
CV&B, the 14 Deadly Sins, and the Call Center Tenets
were being broken. At this point my supervisor pulled
me into a meeting and informed me I was making a big
deal out of nothing and that I should return to my
desk and continue taking phone calls. I continued to
state that I felt the CV&Bs had been violated and
something should be done to correct this situation as
quickly as possible. My supervisor then informed me
the meeting was over and left the room.
I returned to my desk and continued taking phone
calls. The very first phone call I received was from a
customer who was very close to irate. He told me his
computer was broken and he thought he had broken it.
After speaking with the customer for around 5 minutes
I was able to figure out he was indeed referring to
the Google branded search on the PSP. This customer
was not very good with computers and only understood
how to get around the Internet by using the search on
the PSP. I informed the customer we were having a
temporary problem and we would get it fixed ASAP. This
customer was frustrated because he believed now there
would be no way for him to use the Internet. As a work
around, I set this customer's home page to
www.yahoo.com so he would be able to search and use
functions similar to the PSP.
I continued taking more phone calls until my next
scheduled break. When my break time came around I
visited the office of the floor manager so I could
tell him what was going on. I told him what was going
on and this is when I was informed the NOC team that
deals with the PSP was not available on the weekends.
We discussed the mater for around 20 to 30 minutes and
I attempted to inform the floor manager of why I
thought this was so important, which I will outline
After the meeting I returned to the phones where I
finished off the rest of the day and returned to work
on Monday and did not hear one word about the
incident. Fortunately, the search on the PSP was
working again and I hope I had at least some part in
getting it repaired.
Then on Thursday I spoke with Veronica and she told me
my assignment was over and I was not to return to
work. This left me slightly confused. I completely
understand that my actions led to my being the
equivalent of fired but I am not completely sure why.
Here is my reasoning in this ordeal.
First, the Core Values and Beliefs that I felt had
Now I will discuss which of the 14 deadly sins I feel
- We are frugal. We guard and conserve the company's
resources with at least the same vigilance that we
would use to guard and conserve our own personal
The broken PSP was going to result in many customer's
calling into the Technical Support numbers only to
waste the valuable Technical Support time. Not only do
we have the time of the employees that would otherwise
be spent helping customers with problems that exist on
their computer we have to also look at the money that
would be spent on these customers calling into the
1-800 numbers. Also, advertising on the PSP is a
leading source of revenue for Earthlink. How many
customers are going to have their home page changed to
something else leading to even more lost revenue?
- We feel a sense of urgency on any matters related to
our customers. We own problems and we are always
responsive. We are customer-driven.
This was my attempt to own this problem and provide the customers excellent service. The Google branded search was just recently launched and also happened to
be very high profile. I felt this function being
broken not only provided the customers with bad
service but also reflected very badly on Earthlink as
And finally the Call Center Tenet I attempted to
- Give lousy service--busy signals, disconnects,
downtime, and ring-no-answers.
Obviously having the search that many customers reley on being broken is not excellent service, it is beyond poor service, and more like lousy service.
- Make internal procedures easy on us, even if it
means negatively affecting or inconveniencing the
I believe this entire situation could of been solved
in less than an hour once the correct department had
been notified. The disconnection between the NOC and
Tech Support lead to many customers receiving lousy
service when they should of been receiving excellent
- Poor coordination across departments.
This is an example of the poorest coordination I have
ever seen. Again, one phone call should of been able
to clear this problem up very quickly.
- Rely on dissatisfied customers to be your service
The NOC page had not been updated with the outage at
any of the times I had checked it or even when the
bridge checked it. I doubt the NOC even knew the
problem existed until the next day and even then I
doubt it came from the bad PSP reports.
- Creativity - I know I must abide by the rules, but
not die by them. Each interaction is unique and may
require a unique resolution.
I am sure many people wonder why I would of gone
through all this trouble. The answer is I am committed
to customer satisfaction and experience. As you can
ask any member of my team (Power Shift 1 in Pasadena,
Supervisor George Ito), and especially Tony and
Anthony who have personally reviewed my progress, I
always try to give the customer the best I can. It
also bothered me to watch the resources of the company
get wasted on a problem that could be easily resolved.
I believe in Earthlink and want to help it as much as
possible. As the company continues its search for
profitability I believe each and every aspect that can
save the company should be researched.
In closing, I regret that I will not be able to
provide the Earthlink customers excellent Technical
Support anymore. I would very much enjoy getting my
job back so I can continue my quest to not only make
Earthlink better but so I can better myself and grow
with the company. I started Earthlink so I could make
a difference. I intentionally took the job with
Technical Support so I could learn about the company
from the very bottom. Attached you will find my resume
which will demonstrate that I have many years of
experience not only as a salesman, but also as
Technical Support, as well as Network Operations and
designing and programming large scale information
systems. I wish Earthlink the best of luck and I hope
it pulls through.
Here is Merrick's wonderful response:
Tyler, I appreciate the time & effort you put into this document. I researched the circumstances surrounding the end of your assignment. Though unfortunate, EarthLink HR is comfortable with the decision.
However, I have forwarded your customer service concerns to TS Management. I
want to make sure they are aware of your observations.
Thank you again.
Merrick P. Dresnin
Unsatisfied with this response, I crafted another:
I appreciate your response :) I still do not
understand, entirely, what I have done wrong in this
situation. While I understand Earthlink does not have
to accept me back as an employee, no one has taken the
time to explain (or even mention) what I have done
wrong. I am a young man and this was my first job in a
large corporation. I attempt to learn from each and
every situation, however, so far, I have not been able
to learn much from this experience.
Was it wrong to voice my concerns to my supervisor,
the bridge, and then the floor manager? Was it wrong
to contact the floor manager directly? Perhaps I
rubbed someone the wrong way when I said I felt the
CV&B had been violated? Are there some circumstances
Can you please take just a few minutes and explain
where exactly I have gone wrong. It will help this
young man in the future.
This is the last e-mail I have received:
Tyler, Since you were a TAC employee, it would not be appropriate for me to
discuss such issues. As their former employee, it is for them to address (or
not address) your situation. I have cc'd Veronica on this e-mail.
About 4 hours later I got a call from Veronica. I again asked her for a copy of the incident report. She told me she was going to check with her boss and see if she would be able to give me a copy of it. I still have not received an answer on that issue. I also asked Veronica what I did wrong. She informed me she did not have any idea.
I am sure most of you will suggest I contact an attorney and file a wrongful termination suit. Unfortunately, I was never a full employee of Earthlink. Officially, I was an employee of TAC working on contract with Earthlink to provide temporary services. Earthlink terminated my assignment and I am left with out a job.
I am actually not bitter or mad at this entire debacle. I actually find it rather entertaining. However, Earthlink does generally want to know why it is doing so badly and it's customers are unhappy over all. Hopefully, if this situation can be made public some one at Earthlink may catch wind of it and they might begin to understand what is going wrong.