A few weeks ago, I got a phone call on my cell phone from a very non-local area code. I just ignored it, and there was no voice mail, but out of curiosity, I looked it up. I think it was from somewhere in Ohio. It was probably just a wrong number, right?
I started getting a couple of calls a day, from area codes all over the country. Occasionally they’d leave a message that was nothing more than background noise, but most of the callers just went on their way. At first I was checking the area codes, seeing if there was any kind of order to the madness (or if any were reported as telemarketers, which I had assumed they were).. but it was very random.
Eventually, some guy left an actual message looking for tech support, and if so to call him back. I took it as some sort of ploy to get me to call back, but it seemed like a strange one. “Shouldn’t HE be the one saying that HE is tech support?” The random calls continued until this Friday afternoon, when I got a second message about someone looking for Verizon tech support while I was at work. This guy was a little less easy-going than the first one, referencing my “very unprofessional” voicemail recording (which it certainly was… since it’s my personal phone). After two similar messages, and so many random calls, I knew something else had to be up, so I decided to pick up the next one and see what was going on. Saturday morning afforded me an opportunity.
I answered with a friendly, “Hello?” To save you word-by-word dictation, the gal on the other line said that she had called Verizon for tech support, and after going through the automated system, she was transferred to my phone. I’ll let that sink in, for a moment :). For weeks, random folks have been calling Verizon, looking for technical support, and by some strange glitch in the automated routing system, they were being greeted by Mark Mushakian’s voice joking about how his phone is either turned off, he’s in the shower, or he’s ignoring you… but he’s probably not ignoring you. This gal and I laughed about it together, and wished each other luck as we parted ways.
So, I called Verizon, myself (wondering, while the phone rang, if I’d end up being connected to my own phone in some sort of Tech Support Inception). I explained the whole situation, as Eric listened quietly, and after I was done, he said with a chuckle, “I… I have never heard of anything like that before.”
Eric called me on my home phone to do some testing on my cell, and when I answered, he asked, “Hi, is this Verizon tech support?” He was very friendly, and we joked about how bad a situation it is for everyone: for me getting random calls, for the people not getting help, and for Verizon having customers think their recorded message is so unprofessional. He transferred me to someone else, and she verified that the numbers that were calling me were definitely all Verizon customers. She apologized repeatedly, in the way that customer service folks will when they’re not quite sure exactly what’s going on. She took my phone number, instead of leaving me on hold, and said she’d get back to me while she (I assume) went off to do some damage control with these other customers who’d been calling.
I didn’t hear back from her, so after getting another random call today (and answering and explaining things to the poor confused woman on the other end of the line), I called again to do a follow-up. The guy I talked with was also surprised by the story, but said my account was flagged with an open ticket, so it’s still being looked into. So, the ending to this story is pending.
Of course, in the meantime, I’ve changed my outgoing message to something that explains the situation… and is a little more professional ;).