SEO SEM Training & Certification

January 25, 2007

Qwest usability and customer service score F-

Filed under: SEM SEO Training — David Temple @ 9:57 pm

Although this blog is about seo  sem training and certification I’ve been studying up on accesibility and usability thanks to the great content provided by an seo Godmother, Kim Krause Berg and Site Logic’s Matt Bailey who taught me more about accessibility than I thought there was to know.  The more I learned the more I realized the need for more education and training on this subject matter.  Take a look how Qwest, a fortune 500 company, deals with this.

My wife and I decided to get home phone service after trying to go totally wireless for about 6 months. I went to the Qwest website to sign up. After filling in the information I got the error message below. 

Qwest does not currently provide local phone service in St. Paul, MN.
If you suspect the results are inaccurate, check both the city and state names and spelling. You can chat with a Qwest representative online or call US +1  8002441111  Call 
(8AM – 6PM, Mon – Fri) to find out what Qwest products and services are available in your area.

What? We have 2 Qwest cell phones and had Qwest service just 6 months ago.  I knew better and decided to call my order in instead of chatting online to the rep. If I hadn’t been a previous Qwest customer I would have hit the back button and found another company. After all, they were telling me they didn’t have service in my area.

Okay I got the phone set up and was going to let that stupid error message go but I decided to chat online with a rep to point out the error.  Maybe they could save some customers. Here’s that conversation below. The real error by the way is that I typed in St. Paul with a period. Uh okay but at least let me know what the mistake was, don’t say there is no service in my area. I especially like the last line of our exchange, ” Our goal is to provide you with excellent service.” That may be your goal but Qwest, you failed with an F minus.

 Thank you for contacting Qwest. How may I help you today?

David: I entered my address online to sign up for service and the error message says you don’t provide service in st. paul, mn. I know you do and called to get set up. Thought you might want to know you’re probably losing customers with that incorrect error message
Qwest rep: You need to put it in as St Paul, no period. I am sorry.
David: You shouldn’t be sorry, it certainly isn’t your fault. However I do think you could ask someone to fix it. You can use the area code to determine if it is correct. Or you could at least let people know in the error message where the error occured not that you “don’t service their area”.
Qwest rep: I know what you are saying. Are you able to get it to work now?
David: I called it in thanks. I guess no one can fix it. Oh well like I said it’s great blog fodder and I’ll have fun at Qwest’s expense.
Qwest rep: Is there anything else that I can help you with today?
David: No thanks, just let someone at Qwest know it’s called usability and customer service, terms they may not be familiar with. Thanks (name withheld), have a great day.
Qwest rep: Thank you for using today. Our goal is to provide you with excellent service. If you need further assistance, please click here for additional customer service options on

Companies better do a better job on web site usability and customer service. They probably don’t even know they’re losing business. Qwest, get educated! I really doubt they’ve heard of reputation management either.



  1. To be honest, I gaurantee you Qwest does want to know about the error message but that Rep is more than likely under paid and could care less about how the website functions. Ahh the importance of corporate culture. Btw-the prank video is up AND we got the guys again with a beautiful and heart felt civil union reception. Video soon to be uploaded.

    Comment by Jess — January 26, 2007 @ 10:27 pm | Reply

  2. You’re right but then who does care? It’s not just bad usability, they’re losing customers I guarantee and they aren’t even concerned. If they did any reputation management they would have seen this post (it comes up at top on goggle blog search). Oh well. Great video I love the look on their faces when they come in the room.

    Comment by semcertification — January 27, 2007 @ 5:03 pm | Reply

  3. Interesting comments.. 😀

    Comment by bambino — February 18, 2007 @ 2:06 am | Reply

  4. David, I have the unique background of having a legal/regulatory background for years always in opposition to Qwest in Denver and now in online marketing. They are so much better at customer service and usability than they used to be, but unfortunately thats not saying much. Sadly the Communications Act is a complete failure and the true competition that would make them try harder to serve customers effectively just isn’t there.

    A few years ago the problem would have been waiting forever for them to actually provision your phone service – multiple fines from state utility commissions was the only thing that resolved it.

    Comment by Tad Miller — March 24, 2007 @ 1:48 am | Reply

  5. That’s interesting Tad, I work for Thomson Legal & Regulatory in the online marketing division, FindLaw. Yes, Qwest is better but they’ll never be able to deliver good customer service. They’re too much of a mish mash and don’t have a real niche.

    Comment by David Temple — March 24, 2007 @ 4:45 am | Reply

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