A Technology Story …

27 Mar

This is TRUE, but I will withhold some of the names. HOWEVER, if you are a business person in Florence, you DEFINITELY need to read this:

Several months ago, Ebenezer’s need for a new telephone system felt the full fury of the technology team … And that is ONE team that solves problems!!! Robbie-Bob, Dean-Bob, Mike-Bob, and myself … SCARY!!!!
As we installed the new system, the fire alarm in Young Hall began to get an occasional dialer error. Of course we called our alarm company, who came out and said YOU HAVE A PHONE LINE PROBLEM … Gimme $100.
All four of us worked hard on this problem for the next few weeks, but our phone lines were FINE and we could prove it. As we finished the phone system and cleaned some things up, we tried a couple of different ways to get CLEAN POTS LINES down to the alarm, noting that NONE of the other alarms on campus were having any problems. We honestly thought this was a coincidence that started around the same time we started this install.
It all came to a head a couple of weeks ago. NOTHING we did could stop this pesky error … This was not a SHUT THE ALARM DOWN kind of error, just a pesky little chirp that had to be reset many times a day. Nerve racking to Omerea and our Weekday Staff, but the alarm was still functional.
I finally called the head cheese at our alarm company to talk to him about it. I wanted them to come out and help us. He said “Go switch the wires, unless you want to pay me to come do it.” I assured him that I’d switched those wires MANY, MANY times in the past few weeks. But that was his solution. “Call me back if that doesn’t work.”
That was on my day off, but I went up there and did what he said. And within 30 seconds of switching them, I duplicated the error. (At this point, we knew EXACTLY what to do to cause it to trip) I called him back and he said we had a bad board. No looking at it. No real conversation or consideration that we have very capable IT folks that had worked on this. No idea that I’ve done work like this for 30 years now (yes, even though I am a pastor. I’ve been running phone lines and control wiring since helping my dad DECADES ago. But don’t tell anyone!!)
That really frustrated Mike-Bob and me! Mike has worked on alarms for years. We decided that we would rather just buy the board and change it ourselves. And that we did! And after chasing all of the issues out of the new install (most of which were things done INCORRECTLY at the original install), we STILL had this phone problem.
So I called Lee at Simplex Grinnell. These guys did our alarm at the new youth building. I asked him if he would be willing to come help us figure this out …
His techs came out, chased a couple of goblins out of it, and finally discovered that it was in how the phone line was coming INTO the alarm!!! This alarm has been in the building, wired this way, for TEN YEARS OR MORE!! They said adding the new phone system pushed a tolerance that would force the alarm to be installed THE RIGHT WAY. IT SHOULD’VE BEEN INSTALLED THE RIGHT WAY FROM THE BEGINNING!!!
We re-routed the way the phone lines came in, and IT WORKED! Now, we’ve got to go look at the other alarms, because I just bet they are wired incorrectly as well …
The result of all of this: Simplex will be our alarm company from now on. They came out and HELPED US FIND THE ISSUE!! They were WILLING to come out!!! And they understood and explained how this thing was miswired by another company!
And, so far, we are living happily ever after …
The moral of this story is CUSTOMER SERVICE. That other alarm company seems to be too busy for us and just interested in collecting the monthly royalties they get off of our monitoring service. Well, all that is about to change …

One Response to “A Technology Story …”

  1. Betty Moore-Bell March 29, 2010 at 11:11 am #

    You know, Pal-you are so right about this! I don't often have "bad" days, but if the accountable someone is less than concerned about something that concerns me enough to consume my time, I can just pal up with Satan and almost lose it. On the other hand, just a small amount of concern, even if the accountable somene cannot solve my problem, often works as a balm. God keeps this on the forefront of my mind often in my work. When I was doing workers comp and now in hospice, any call to me comes as a result of someone else's issues. If I don't care enough to take it seriously and respond responsibly, then I don't care enough. When I began the DivorceCare Ministry years ago a very wise man said to me that People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care. Applies in EVERYTHING!

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