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An Open Letter from a Frontier Communications Employee

Stop the Cap! received this unsolicited letter from an employee working at Frontier Communications about how the company has been running the business and treating their customers.  We’ve been able to independently verify enough of this letter, by talking with other Frontier employees, to highlight it for our readers. 

Frontier Communications is a long way from its progenitor (and namesake) — Rochester Telephone Corporation, which operated locally with excellence for 100 years.  Rochester Tel changed its name to Frontier Communications as it sought to abandon its image as a basic phone company.  It was later sold to Global Crossings, which later sold it to Citizens Communications, which decided to adopt the Frontier name itself.

I work for a major well known utility company and I feel ethically compelled to inform someone that there are practices within my company that are being done without consideration for the consumer. My employment there has extended well over three years now and I have been turning a blind eye to what they call ‘customer service.’ I believe that I have the duty to expose some of these inner-workings to the public. I work for Frontier Communications.

I do not want to be named nor am I going to divulge any names of my fellow employees. I will give details about some of the misinformation given to customers, issues with systems that cause billing problems, and a few other known issues that upper management continues to overlook.

Recently there were a few groups of employees force-fed training on Frontier’s newest [customer support] systems. It was crammed into an eight day course. The majority of the time the training systems were down, certain elements of the systems were overlooked with promises that employees will learn how to manage these while on the floor. Anxiety and panic swept the call center; worried faces riddled with anger and frustration stood out everywhere. All except the higher management. They kept saying, ‘don’t worry, you guys will be OK’ or ‘we have to get this call volume down’. But the statement that never failed was, ‘don’t forget that you need to offer a wide array of services on every call. That’s your job.’ Regardless if a customer is calling in because she/he cannot afford their service as-is, we are required to try and upsell them.

I was employed with Verizon prior to the acquisition to Frontier. It was an exciting day for us because we felt like Verizon’s iron hand was being lifted. But to our dismay the same type of mentality still exists [with Frontier]. The changes Frontier made caused a lot of panic as well. We are trained for sales rather than customer service even though Frontier’s values are “People, Product, and Profit.” A customer may call in with a major issue, often irritated and frustrated.  We are expected to entice them to purchase an additional product that may or may not work.

I will enlighten you on that subject.  Our ‘network congestion’ issue with High Speed Internet has caused a tremendous volume of calls to the call centers and tech support. There were periods when calls to these departments exceeded 30 minutes and even at times close to an hour. Numerous [former Verizon] customers have experienced ‘network congestion’. This issue caused a great deal of frustrated customers to call about their Internet (HSI) service dropping. Some of them experience up and down periods over a few months. I even witnessed some customers that were out for weeks at a time.

How do you sell a product that is not reliable? Netflix made the comment that Frontier has one of the worst broadband services in the nation. Some of us here feel guilty when we sell certain products because we know it may or may not work sometimes. The newest, greatest selling technique we have for HSI is selling it whether or not it is available in a customer’s area. Customers call in livid and frustrated because they were told they can get a service and now they are being told their area is not available for that upgrade to HSI quite yet.

Another odd situation we have going on right now is our new phone systems are Voice Over IP. We are the phone company right? Then why are we using that type of system? Among the numerous issues: dropped calls, noise on the line, being unable to fully understand what the customer is saying & vice-versa, and the system totally freezing up while on a call.

There are some of us who have just sat around because we were unable to access anything. One rep became concerned because their training for the phone system consisted of a learning document they were given minutes before they were expected to use it. A coach was made aware of her concerns and his comment was more or less ‘well then you need to ask if you need help’. That reply was heard by a few different reps and all were taken aback. Why can’t we get the training we need to navigate through all of the madness?

Call volume. How are we going to be able to handle issues like repair and collections, write orders properly, and steer through a calling system that just doesn’t seem to be working correctly? Apparently it doesn’t matter as long as we upsell our customers.

One of the last issues I’m going to share with you is a critical issue that a new rep has brought to our attention and higher management as well. When a service  appointment — repair, new install, etc. — is not fulfilled, the customer is NOT called back to let them know their scheduled appointment will not be kept, much less make an effort to reschedule it. Management and other departments know about this and still no efforts have been made to fix it. I have seen this on my end as well. What do you say to a customer who asks, ’why didn’t anyone call?’ There’s no real honest way to answer that properly.

I don’t know what is going to happen with the pending lawsuit that Frontier has from the $1.50 surcharge for HSI service but I do know that a lot of us here don’t agree with the charge and how it was handled. We were given a document on what to say when the customer calls in and disputes the charge. It was a paragraph, more or less, stating we are imposing this surcharge and there’s nothing we can do to waive it.

I now realize I have a made a poor choice in my career. I have great empathy for the customer and I’m fed up with how they are treated as well as the employees.

Thank you for listening,

“Joan Jones” (Anonymous)

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fred
fred
12 years ago

This anonymous employee perfectly explains why Frontier should lose all franchises and be shut down for good.

Smith6612
Smith6612
12 years ago
Reply to  fred

It isn’t just Frontier doing this stuff though, which is what we need to keep in mind here before telling Frontier to shove off. But the employee does speak truth, and I’m rather saddened to hear it. Kudos to whoever sent in the note.

Jena
Jena
12 years ago
Reply to  Smith6612

I am also an employee of Frontier and people have no idea what goes on in the call center I work. The Union is a joke, it is not what you know, it is who you know to get anywhere. They do not effectively train you for your job, if you ask for help you don’t get it, then they fire you for not doing your job properly. You get sick and are “punished” for getting sick even with a Doctor’s note…the company really needs to be shut down.

Harris
Harris
12 years ago
Reply to  Jena

I agree Jena. I have worked at Frontier for 3 months now. I completed 7 weeks of “training” and went to the floor realizing I learned NOTHING. Out of our class of 24, we already lost 7. It is most embarrassing and UNPROFESSIONAL when you have a supervisor walking behind you while you are on the phone with an upset customer and that supervisor is screaming about “Power Hour” and to push HSI sales. Do they really think the customer on the phone can’t hear this??? Frontier is NOT about customer service. They are ONLY about sales.

Fed up with Whining
12 years ago

Sounds to me like this employee is the one that needs to do the walking. Must not like their job, bet they like thier food, clothes, house and car that Frontier pays for. Well I also am an employee of Frontier and although there are problems, and why wouldn’t there be Verizon left it’s customers teetering off of the edge of a cliff with a thread holding them up. With everything Frontier had to take on, I can honestly say that being with the company for three years, that is a joke. You couldn’t have a clue what the rest… Read more »

Scott
Scott
12 years ago

Hi Fed up,

I’m sure your company executives share your belief in employees being responsible for making the company what it is and responsible for the great service provided.

I look forward to your thoughts when they make their next cut due to staffing redundancies while upping their salary and compensation again.

Frontier Executive Compensation (2010)

Mary Agnes Wilderotter, $8.5m
Donald R. Shassian, $2.7m
Daniel J. McCarthy $2.2m

Anonymous
Anonymous
12 years ago

Fed Up… you sound just like my boss…

Sorry that we cannot service customers when the tools we are given are garbage. Our company uses Noble VOIP so that they can route calls to their best sellers and screw the new employees. It NEVER runs right, has daily outages, and it drops calls constantly

And that is JUST our phone systems. Our other systems are even less reliable.

Lawmantoo
12 years ago

I am a customer of Frontier and I can tell you of my experience with the company. The company is impossible to contact by telephone. I waited more than a half hour on three occasions to talk to customer service only to give up and hang up. I am currently negotiating with my cable carrier to switch my telephone, HSI, and fax service from a very incompetent and inept service company. In addition, I am considering filing a complaint with my state Public Utilities Commission about the lack of reliable service and failure to provide meaningful customer service.

Anonymous
Anonymous
12 years ago

I worked for this company doing internal tech support. I can guarantee what this anonymous employee stated is true-because I worked on the internal tech desk and saw these systems break. I saw their backups break. I saw the people who supported them from before the buyout get laid off and not replaced. They broke and were never fixed. This had nothing to do with poor career choices. If you lived in a state that Frontier bought out you went to Frontier. In this economy there was not much choice besides going along with it. I cannot speak for the… Read more »

LeavingFTR
12 years ago
Reply to  Anonymous

This company is destined to fail due to a lack of leadership, especially from our CEO (Maggie) and the senior leadership team (aka Maggie’s Friends). Look at the results, stock price is down 45% for the year. Former Verizon employees are not valued at all- many have been laid off, or quit (like me). Ethics do not exist here, the moral compass is way off center. Look at how the FiOS TV product has been mismanaged. What makes it all the worse, is Frontier inherited an amazing talent pool from Verizon, but the executives don’t want to hear anything from… Read more »

Cam,
Cam,
12 years ago
Reply to  LeavingFTR

OMG you are so on top of what is happening. Yes I agree

Anonymous
Anonymous
12 years ago

I am also a Frontier Employee and there has never been more truth to anything I have ever read but it doesn’t just stop there. When new employees are recruited the lying begins there and due to the Union which has ignored MANY of my letters we can’t even sue for what we were promised. I have all kinds of information additional to this and if you want to see the letter which I have sent to the Union and to MANY other depts with no response or care just email me at [email protected] (this is a fake email account… Read more »

carrisa
carrisa
12 years ago

I agree with the letter. I will add.. i am not a verizon employee just frontier. I was lied to about everything when i hired in. They blame the union and union blames frontier. I am not under same contract for pay and comp. Frontier is chasing customers away, we hold a couple hundred calls a day or more. We cant give a credits to save a customer so we transfer to another dept so customer waits again. They wont pay employees spiffs on time. Ive waited 30 days for 25.00 to be told they dont have the money allowed… Read more »

Chauncey
Chauncey
12 years ago
Reply to  carrisa

You sound like a Burnsville Rep

Harris
Harris
12 years ago

@Philip…I am also a Frontier employee that has been shafted but I have a question. If your friends mother originally ordered the phone plan, and it was in her name, what makes your friend think he is responsible for the remainder of the contract? If she passed away, that terminates the contract …period. Even if he is an authorized user, as long as the account is not in his name, he has no responsibility to fulfill the remainder of the contract! And he is NOT responsible for the ETF either as long as the account was in his mothers name.… Read more »

Bob
Bob
11 years ago

I am an employee of Frontier. When I started the job we were on the Verizon systems but the organization was Frontier. Problem #1 Verizon systems do not communicate well with Frontier systems. A majority of the billing problems were from this issue, we would offer a promotion and the billing credits never show up. When this happens we have to submit a ticket for it to be fixed… the ticket usually took 3 months to be completed, try explaining that to a customer. Now that all of the Verizon systems have been eliminated and AFNI has been eliminated it… Read more »

Unhappy at frontier
Unhappy at frontier
11 years ago

I am a current employee of Frontier Communications. I was a General Manager for a fortune 500 company. Sadly, everthing that has been claimed is true. I have worked for a number of companies over the years, and this company is the worst! Customer service for the most part is made up with young people who have very little work experience. There is almost no accountability for sales which are made. In my opinion, Customer service is a joke. The only thing that matters is making a sale. Most of our time is spent trying to Fix someone else’s fraudulent… Read more »

Class Action
Class Action
11 years ago

Class Action Lawsuit Accuses Frontier Communications of Charging Millions in Illegal Taxes and Unlawful Fees—Customers Represented by Nichols Kaster PLLP

Just on the this ship all the way to the bank.
http://news.yahoo.com/class-action-lawsuit-accuses-frontier-communications-charging-millions-172020881.html

I can also validate what this person stated… 100% true.
Nobe = Voice Over IP
Along with taxing on internet service. CRIME!!! See the link

In Washington State
In Washington State
11 years ago

FRONTIER LONG DISTANCE SLAMMING OF ITS OWN CUSTOMER: I live in a rural area with no cable or DSL. Periodically, every 3 to 6 months I check to see if my area has high speed Internet. I was with Verizon until the take over here in Washington State about 2 years ago. I have always had the same package of services which included unlimited long distance to both the U.S and Canada. As with Verizon, when you check on their web site to see if DSL is available by zip code (mine is 98284) it indicates that you do. But,… Read more »

ex-burnsville employee
ex-burnsville employee
11 years ago

I am so glad to know it is not just me, I was hired for customer service and trained for 7 weeks as customer service. In the last week of training they said we were going to do a little sales training, I thought okay, no biggie. I was wrong, that is all we were there to do, I stuck it out for 9 months worrying every day if I was gonna get fired for not meeting my sales goals, while my training class dwindled around me, we started with 24 and when I voluntarily left, there were 3 of… Read more »

Jessica
Jessica
11 years ago

I am a customer of frontier and I live in a rural area where frontier is the ONLY Internet and phone service. We always have problems with our service. I have to call about something at least every month. It’s usually Internet service interruption or noise on my phone line that makes it that nobody can hear me. When I call about the Internet being out they ALWAYS say that the whole state is experiencing an outage which is i know not true because my mother who has frontier and lives only two miles closer to town has working Internet.… Read more »

Colt33
Colt33
9 years ago

Well there’s all this plus the fact that they keep adding new customers and not updating their lines. $45 for getting 1.5mb/s max is criminal compared to the same price at Comcast where you can get $50mb/s, especially since they advertise much more. Put them all in jail.

tina
tina
9 years ago

Im sick and tired of this so callrd bsnss, I appreciate the letter that I judt read, but my purpose of coming to this page eas to find a link for formal complaint for very unethical treatment by current staff toward me, a paying customer. I will find the link, and thanks for yoyr honesty. Sorry if this isn’t making total sense but I am infurriated and livid right now.

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