It is all very well to be able to write books, but can you wiggle your ears?

British Telecom: The World’s Worst Customer Service?

Not so long ago, I wrote on this blog about my experience with First Great Western, the train company who gave me a rubbish journey, but who also gave me a refund, and a apology. That was nice of them. And for that reason, I’d like to post another blog that makes their customer service team look like a dream. I’m going to do that by comparing them to…. British Telecom.

48fc15010a26b03f8586826f99699143I know comparing any corporation to British Telecom is a bit like making me look more attractive by comparing me to a steaming pile of horse manure… but even so, First Great Western are positive saints compared to BT.

The trouble is that for a company that has messed up every order I’ve ever had with them, they have an extraordinarily poor system for actually fixing things. Last month, I decided to move my broadband from sky to BT because they’d bombarded me with direct mail for a year, and the deals had got better and better. Trouble is, when I switched, they turned off my phone line, and failed to install any broadband.

But anyone can make a mistake. So I called them. I told the automated voice thingy that my broadband didn’t work. The automated voice thingy asked my for my phone number. I keyed it in. The voice thingy then transferred me to another automated voice thingy, which asked my for my number all over again. After several messages and option menus, and twenty minutes, I got through to a human. The human asked me what the problem was. And then asked me for my phone number. Seriously… why ask me to key my number in, and then get the operator to ask the same question again?

Anyway, long story short… we’re three weeks on, I’ve spent almost an hour on the phone to BT every day, and I get sent from department to department, with nothing changing. Eventually, I’ve resorted to using their chat system. Beware the chat. The window always tells you that waiting times are around 3m 44s – but you usually wait for 20 minutes (55 minutes is my record) before getting connected.

When you eventually connect, you can expect a fairly oblique conversation. I’ve printed one below. To be fair, I might come across as being slightly spiky… but this is three week into our troublesome relationship.

I only post this because BT have been hopeless, inept, and dismissive in their responses to me – and they’re such a huge company that the only way I can redress the balance is to say that I warn you off them. And it’s not impossible to avoid them now that 4g mobile has arrived… find a fast broadband connection that does’t require a land line for the same price. You’ll be happier. I promise.

Helpful chat:

 Tracy Mitchell: Hello. I’m Tracy Mitchell. Thanks for that information, I’ll check it and get back to you in a moment.
 lee breheny: Hi
 Tracy Mitchell: Sorry to hear this Lee and will look at this further
 lee breheny: You were supposed to provide me with broadband from 10th Feb, as I switched from sky (which is proving to have been a REALLY bad decision). You’ve cocked up both the telephone and the broadband side of the order, and I have now spend HOURS on phone and chat trying to get what should be a fairly simple problem sorted. Finally today the order team sorted out the phone and a new broadband order (VOL012-88493******) – but I can no longer access BT Sport online which was part of the original deal – reduced price deal for 12 months, total 18 month contract, BT sport included. So it looks to me as if you’ve finally managed to provide some sort of phone package, but it’s not the one that I ordered. Meanwhile BT promise that the broadband will now come online on the 28th Feb – 18 days late – although you’ve already broken so many promises over the past few days that I’m not exactly confident that it’s going to happen. Any idea what’s going on?
 lee breheny: Hello?
 Tracy Mitchell: trhanks for staying with me Lee sorry for the delay on getting back checking all the notes here
 lee breheny: Sure. There are a lot of notes to read. Because I’ve spent a lot of time talking to a lot of different people. Sadly, none of the conversations or notes have led to me getting the phone and broadband package that BT pestered me to take up through 12 months of direct mail campaigning. My guess if that if BT spent a bit more money on customer care and a bit less money on marketing, they’d have a better reputation. Just saying.
 lee breheny: And, by the way, I’m not having a go at you personally. It’s just that dealing with BT is incredibly frustrating.
 Tracy Mitchell: Lee have you already spoke with our order team today about thisw
 Tracy Mitchell: this
 lee breheny: yes
 lee breheny: and the tech team
 lee breheny: but only about fixing the broadband.
 Tracy Mitchell: I can see by the notes Lee the order team need to wait until the broadband order completes before they can get sport added
 lee breheny: since talking to them, BT Sport has been removed from my package – which makes me wonder what package you’ve now attached to my phone and whether I’m getting the original discount offered.
 lee breheny: How can that be right – the previous order included BT Sport which worked from before the broadband was active
 lee breheny: I know this, because I watched BT Sport despite never having the broadband connected.
 lee breheny: Are you able to confirm the details of the phone/broadband package that’s now been added to my phone? Is it the original promotional offer?
 lee breheny: Thank you.
 Tracy Mitchell: checking this for you
 Tracy Mitchell: the package is unlimited broadband and the weekend plan costing £8.00 per month for 12 months then £16.00 therafter
 lee breheny: Thank you. So if it’s the same package can you work out why BT Sport worked prior to order completion last time, and why it does’t work prod to the order completion this time? Also, I’m unable to log into BT hotspots via the wifi app – you advertising says this service becomes available prior to broadband being activated.
 Tracy Mitchell: Because of the problems with the other order Lee the bt sport was also cancelled off when the order team cancelled the order due to the problems getting broadband connected. Unfortunately we know have to wait until the broadband is active to add sports
 lee breheny: Yes, I understand that the previous order was cancelled. However, when I first placed the original order, BT Sport became available to my BT username. So why would it not become available to my user name when the new order was placed? I am asking because BT has messed up every part of my order so far, and the obvious logical conclusion is that I am currently unable to use BT Sport in the way I was originally able to because the second order is not going through properly. Do you see what I mean? It makes me suspect that we’re going to get to the 28th Feb, and I’m not going to get any broadband again and I’ll have wasted yet another 8 days. So it’s the same question really – why do I have to wait this time if I didn’t have to wait last time?
 Tracy Mitchell: Yes I see what you mean though the service had to be cancelled as Lee due to the problems with getting broadband added unfortunately we can not re add this now until we get broadband activated for you
 lee breheny: Yes. The service was cancelled, so the BT Sport was cancelled. I completely understand that.
 lee breheny: But my point is when I placed the order for broadband first time, BTSport was activated straight away. When that order was cancelled and you began THE SAME PROCESS AGAIN IN THE SAME WAY WITH THE SAME PRODUCT why is the outcome not the same? IE why has the BT Sport access not become active straight away? It does’t make sense that if you’re giving me the same service as you were trying to give me last time that the product is not becoming available at the same time. The only reason I can see for that happening is that the order is in the process of being messed up again. Why would it become active instantly last time, but not this time, if it’s the same product?
 Tracy Mitchell: Because when we place an order BT Sport will activate straightaway where it takes longer for the broadband to complete though there can only be one open order showing on your account Lee and until this closes we can not place another order this is the reason we can not add bt sport again
 Tracy Mitchell: Are you still there Lee
 lee breheny: Yes I’m still here.
 lee breheny: I am composing a reply.
 lee breheny: Please give me a chance as your average reply has taken 4 minutes and your last response took 6 minutes, so I’m sure you understand it takes time
 lee breheny: My reply is: Could you explain that more clearly as I’m afraid I simply can’t understand the point you’re making. As I understand, you’ve cancelled and closed one order for BT Broadband (vol012-876671******) and completed the phone order (vol012-88207******) and you’re now promising to finally get me BT broadband on the 28th Feb on order number VOL012-88493******. So that final BT Broadband order is the only one that should be open. If your ability to sort out BT sport is being impaired by one of the other orders confusing the system, this is why I am concerned that the other order mistakes are going to impact on the new order promised for 28th Feb
 Tracy Mitchell: Lee to be honest with you we can not get the BT Sport re added for you until we get broadband connected on the 28/02/174
 lee breheny: But can you promise that the order is going to work on the 28th Feb?
 We’ve lost the connection between you and BT Chat. Please give us a moment to try to connect you again.
 We’ll keep trying to reconnect you in the next 480 seconds.
 Connection resumed.
 Tracy Mitchell: sorry 2014
 lee breheny: Sorry – connection failed, could you repeat your last answer please?
 lee breheny: You see, the point I am making is not that I’m complaining that I can’t get BT Sport, my point is that I’m worried that the fact I can’t get BT Sport today is a symptom that something has gone wrong with the order process again and I’m not going to get broadband on the 28th Feb.
 lee breheny: Hello Tracy, are you still there?
 Tracy Mitchell: do you want me to keep this chat active Lee
 lee breheny: Yes, because I asked you the following question a moment ago and you haven’t answered:
 lee breheny:  We’ve lost the connection between you and BT Chat. Please give us a moment to try to connect you again.
We’ll keep trying to reconnect you in the next 480 seconds.
Connection resumed.
Tracy Mitchell: sorry 2014
lee breheny: Sorry – connection failed, could you repeat your last answer please?
lee breheny: You see, the point I am making is not that I’m complaining that I can’t get BT Sport, my point is that I’m worried that the fact I can’t get BT Sport today is a symptom that something has gone wrong with the order process again and I’m not going to get broadband on the 28th Feb.
lee breheny: Hello Tracy, are you still there?

 Tracy Mitchell: closing chat due to no further activity
 Tracy Mitchell has disconnected.

To be fair to Tracy Mitchell, she’s one of BT’s smoother operators.



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This entry was posted on February 21, 2014 by in General Stuff, My Books and tagged , , , .
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