Black Friday, Bleak Monday – How newly purchased smart bargains create a flood of calls to ISPs

2 Mins read

Did you see the deals on Black Friday? Wow!

One could build a veritable smart home on the cheap. New smart speakers. A complete, connected surveillance system. Even a smart doorbell that shows you who is standing at the front door. All at unbelievable prices. 

So, by the by, we buy and buy. We come home with all sorts of connected treasures that are certain to improve our family’s digital lifestyle. We can’t wait to open all the packages, configure all these new IoT devices and enjoy the new smart-home services they will offer us. Life is great and about to get better. Black Friday is wonderful! 

Then, reality sets it. 

After spending the weekend, de-boxing, configuring and trying to get everything to work together, the results aren’t so good. The new speakers are having problems working with the smart TV. Older cameras are not able to integrate with the new ones. The smart doorbell is suffering from intermittent operation. 

This scenario is repeated all over the country. Thousands upon thousands of Friday smiles turn into embarrassed frowns as the weekend proceeds. By Saturday, the anger is tangible. By Sunday, dads and moms are throwing up their arms in frustration. By Monday morning, ISPs are flooded with irate subscribers who hold their routers responsible, who blame the WiFi and who threaten their ISPs with churn.

It is indeed Bleak Monday for frustrated subscribers and Customer Care centers. 

Human agents are overwhelmed with subscriber accusations and claims. All the agents can do is respond with the traditional remedy of: “Unplug the router, count to ten, plug it back it in, wait until the green light goes and let me know if that clears up your problem.” After all, ISPs have limited visibility into the home. They have no idea what devices just got connected, where in the home they are located, what their bandwidth requirements are or what communication protocols they use. In fact, the only remedy at the ISP’s disposal is the lame battle cry of: “Replace the router!”.

How can Customer Care help the subscriber who bought speakers that use a communication protocol that is mismatched with their smart TV? Or if the new cameras are incompatible with the old ones. Or if the new doorbell is too far from the router to receive adequate and steady RF signal? Customer Care agents can’t see those devices, let alone their operational difficulties. The only rabbit in the ISP bag of tricks is to suggest a router replacement and that just isn’t going to hop. 

The promise of a new router for free might assuage the subscriber for a couple of days, but what happens when the new router arrives and is implemented? All the problems will remain. Bleak Monday will degrade into Terrible Tuesday and Worse Wednesday. The customer will become ultra-upset at the ISP’s incompetence. The threats will be flying. 

And the replaced routers?  As in 80% of the cases, upon receipt in the ISP’s lab, they will be found to be fully functional. The time-consuming and costly router exchanges were all for naught.

Bleak Monday, indeed.

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