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A Story about Process Efficiency and Customer Service Inefficiency in Germany

Posted on 11/24/2015

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As told by an American Expat.

Note: Ryan has been living and working remotely for Windward from Germany for several years now. He shares a great example of how, from an American’s perspective, German society can be incredibly efficient but the view of service can be, well, lacking.

Getting Your Internet Upgraded

My Internet needed upgrading — I literally sounded and looked like an alien during video conferences — so I requested of my ISP (O2) to upgrade our circuit. They promised me a new router and told me to wait a week or so until the new circuit was tuned up.

Ryan, when he is not dealing with his internet being down

The router arrived quickly and a week later, on the 28th of October, I received a message online that the circuit change was complete and active. The switch was made around 4:20 p.m. my time (9:20 a.m. for those back in the head office in Colorado).

So far so good.

But after the switch was complete, my ISP issued router username and password no longer worked.

Not so good.

The written communication accompanying the new router informed me that I should use our old login, so our Internet died as well as our home phone. Since we live in a concrete Faraday cage (a 1950’s apartment building with concrete used for every walls, internal and external), our cell phones don’t get a signal in the building.  By the time I tried a few things the support desk, open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., was closed.

Really not good.

Because I am on a later schedule to facilitate my working with the Boulder office in the US, I was now without crucial tools for work (internet and telephone). It may have been after hours in Germany, but it was the middle of my business day.

We Resolve the Problem — Finally

So the next morning, after spending about an hour trying to locate online chat and support numbers, we called support.

The support line tells you to enter your phone number. So I did — and got an automated message saying the service upgrade is complete and all is working, followed by a call disconnecting me automatically.

Very frustrating.

But I have learned to hang on to old phone numbers here as they rarely change.  So I called back and entered the old support phone number. It worked fine and we immediately got the new credentials that worked. It was a nice surprise that does not occur often, because the normal procedure is to send your credentials to your registered home address by post in written form, which takes 3-5 days.

So the end result was a 10X increase in download speed (yes!) and 10X increase in upload speed to the US (double yes!):


My boss was happy I was back online, and finally I can use my webcam again.

P.S. I later did some research on the O2 forums here, and many posters have had similar experiences. A few simple operational changes could make a world of difference.


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Author: Ryan Fligg

Ryan, Windward's Sales Engineer, has been with Windward since 2006 in many roles as a sales engineer, IT specialist and account executive. Ryan's background fuels his desire to guide Windward's product development. He now works on the future vision of Windward offerings through creating the product roadmap, responding to customer requests, and communicating what Windward is doing and where it’s headed.

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