Thursday, February 24, 2011

UK Customer Service - get things done by "promising not to use offensive language"

This is a story for everyone (probably meaning all of you) who have been on the receiving end of appalling customer service, possibly involving an endless problem with no solution in sight.

Here is a solid gold rant from a friend of mine on such an issue with Virgin Media regarding internet bandwidth that, owing to its ferocity looks like it might actually achieve something as long as he "promises to not use offensive language in future". This might be the future model for us consumers in the modern age of de rigeur bureaucratic resistance.

Also of great interest is the fact that his very angry email was sparked by the fact that Virgin Media apparently place close attention to comments made about them on Twitter. The Virgin staff watching Twitter contacted him after noticing angry tweets condemning their service.

After being invited to phone a particular member of staff directly to deal with his issue, he was further reprimanded for "offensive language" for referring to the staff he had previously dealt with as "lackeys", leading to him writing in his conclusion that:

"To be honest, this wound up being one of the most surreal conversations I think I’ve ever had with a living breathing human being. At one point, I briefly considered whether or not this could be some sort of prank, the sort of pseudo-comical prank call the Fonejacker or a radio station might make, but even then it was simply too imaginative, too ludicrous for that. Instead, the insanity can only be the reality - that this genuinely was the way Virgin Media dealt with angry customer complaints, like an offended schoolteacher telling you off for using the word tits in front of the girls."

If that resonates with any of you, I highly recommend you read the entire rant, complete with the angry email he sent where he blew his top.


Dick Puddlecote said...

Don't. It certainly resontes with me as I spoke to a local authority officer today about a long-running problem with our business which has been handled appallingly by them.

I mentioned the Local Authority Ombudsman and he started saying that I was intimidating him and sounded like he was about to hang up!

This is a guy at the top of the chain, too. :-0

Katabasis said...

Good god.

I would have been tempted to immediately say - 'yes the existence of the Ombudsman rests on being able to intimidate you into acting properly. That's the point!'

Anonymous said...

Go down to your local jobcentre and be intimidated by the 'security' then made to feel worthless by the 'advisors'. The one that gets me is that the outcome of your enquiry might be left to the' Decision maker' . Total bollocks!

banned said...

I'm not in the least technical minded but back in the days of my BT Internet I figured out that my connection slowed right down at about 8am, through to 08:45 and again in the late afternoon until the early evening. This pattern changed substantially during the school holidays and I suggested to BT staff that it was the result of schoolchildren hitting the internet with interactive ganmes and suchlike. They flatly denied that this could possibly be the case despite it being blatently so.

I later signed up to Telewest Broadband but was whored off to Virgin at some point, I gather that Virgin Media are simply not interested in their internet service just so long as it provides an income stream.

Top rant btw, I note with interest that they regard "shit", "fuck" and "retard" with equanimity while taking offence at "lackey".

microdave said...

Can't diagnose a problem because of traffic management????

FFS - even DorkDork/Tiscrapi wouldn't try and pull that one!!!

This just shows that utter stupidity of installing ever faster networks, if the capacity to make full use of them isn't forthcoming.

Ian R Thorpe said...

I've been having trouble with Virgin and can't get any sense out of anyone either. That will not even let me cancel the service because I cant provide the answer to the security question.

I would know the answer if they would just remind me what the question was. My mum's family name, grandad's profession, where was Dad born, name of my favourite pet etc. But I have been a customer since 2003 with no problems. The computer I noted the info on was trashed ages ago, it only had a ten gig hard drive, how am I supposed to remember?

I even wrote to them to say the helpline had been totally unhelpful. They replied that if I wanted to close my account I would have to do it through the helpline.

Elby the Beserk said...

Fucking Virgin. I have been with them since they were Telewest/BlueYonder, and their tech support then was very good. As ever with Branson, the first thing he hits is customer service.

A couple of months ago, my mail just stopped working. All sorts of bizarre messages. This wasn't when they did a port change for mail setup, to enhance security, which seemed to work in that it fucked your mail up and so you couldn't use it. Programs available to do the setup didn't work on W7 (not supported). Didn't work on XP either.

Anyway, I digress.

Call 105. Get support. Indian call centre. Kid babbles at me.

Hold it right there, I say, my hearing is not good, and I cannot understand a word you are saying to me. Which I couldn't.

Could you speak slowly and speak louder.

Yes Sir.

Babble continues, until I just hung up.

Repeat X2. One chap told me I had got my account in a mess. TOld him it was the same one I had had for eight years, and it had worked until today.

A series of tales were then afforded me, all increasingly fantastic. My account now belonged to someone else, for example.

How did happen? I said

No reply.

No solutions.

Many speaking to fast Indians.

So I called VM to close my account. Got an native English speaker. Told him my problem.

Fixed in five minutes.

So if you are with VM, and they fuck you about, as they will if you have a problem, as the Call Centre staff are useless, just threaten to close your account.

Oh, and I negotiated £3 a month of our bill.

Branson is a thieving cunt. Always has been always will be.

Anonymous said...

Here is something I read about call centres and have tried it myself and found out it works. When put on hold and waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting, listening to canned music and recorded advertisements, if I scream really loudly and with filthy words into the telephone, within seconds, a live operator will usually come online as there is a computer sensor listening for loud volume foul words and knows someone on hold has become irritated. Try it next time if dealing with a telephone call centre and see if they don't answer your call pronto.

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