I have been bashing Finnish telecom giant Sonera for bad service quality quite a bit in my blog in the past and in all fairness - they deserved it! And I think, with roundabout 15 years of IT career and experiences on both ends of a support line, I know what I'm talking about. But all is not bad and - seemingly - all is not lost there. Believe it or not - some of their guys are actually pretty good!

It all started around March 14th - as usual - with problems in my internet connection which actually began after a network technician was tinkering with the local cable installation.

After fighting my way through yet another new annoying and absurd IVR1 and talking to a screener2 who told me in perfect English that he doesn't speak English and the only thing he can offer me was a callback from someone who speaks English, I had already lost hope for a quick problem resolution.

But I actually was called back - even pretty quickly. Calling me back was Tuukka Pasila, Technical Specialist of Sonera's Broadband Incident Management. Normally, when you are lucky enough and one of Sonera's tech guys calls you back, your problems end pretty quickly. As I pointed out in other articles, the tech guys usually is, where the bullshit stops and the solution starts, but in this case it was quite more.

As it turned out, the problems were a bit trickier than the usual stuff. I have a 10/2 internet over cable TV connection and that was going perfectly fine, besides the usual cracks and ripples every once in a while. Especially, the connection never went bad when I maxed out the line. Now, on that 14th of March, in the afternoon, I suddenly only had about 7-8MBit/s download and about 1.6-1.7MBit/s upload speed. Even worse, now even small line activity would foul the connection and the latency would skyrocket. The one thing you cannot have if you run a lot of IP communications, like IP telephony, which I do a lot.

Over the course of the following 2 weeks, Tuukka was really spending a ton of effort to try to find the problem. He was running tests, I was running tests, we were running tests together. He sent a field tech out and when things didn't work out, he sent the field tech out again.

Yesterday we were testing and measuring about 1,5 hours with the field tech without finding any kind of solution to the problem. The only thing we found out was that with the field tech's modem - which was configured for 100/5 - the general latency was lower and the connection wouldn't go bad even under high load. So the field tech had my modem reconfigured for 100/5 too and - guess what - no latency.

Later that day, Tuukka called me - yet again - and told me that he will try to find a solution with the sales guys now for this issue now.

So, what's the point? The point is, that normally, when you call to Sonera service, they make you feel like they don't need you, they don't want you and you are just disturbing them at whatever they are doing.

Not so Tuukka Pasila. The way he handled the whole case, his dedication and professional friendlyness rival - if not exceed - the performance of Gold level enterprise support centers, like Cisco tech support or Check Point.

Johan Dennelind, if you read this, you still have serious customer service issues here in Finland and guys like Tuukka Pasila are the key to fixing those! So go and ask him how to do things!


1 IVR means Interactive voice response - the system in which a computer tells the caller options which the caller has to choose by either pressing a button on the phone or recently also speaking.

2 A screener is a - usually - un- or low qualified worker in a call center who's main task is to take calls, find out what the caller wants and redirect the caller to the right department - or initiate a callback.