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Monday, December 24, 2007

British customer service at its finest

I used to think that NTL -- generally known as NTHell by their unfortunate customers -- absolutely took the biscuit for the most appalling customer service imaginable. When they were taken over by Virgin, I did wonder whether they could cling on to their iconic position as a testament to all that is worse about British customer "service". Well, not to worry. Not only did they seize the baton, they ran with it.

When I sat down to check my e-mail last night, there was no Internet. Now, I've been getting used to my "20Mb" broadband media service periodically dropping down to a few bits per second, so at first I assume it was just Virgin's standard terrible service, but when my mail hadn't loaded after a few minutes I went to look at my broadband modem and sure enough the light was flashing, mean there's no Internet. Since I had nothing to do for a while, I thought I'd call customer "service" to see what was going on. So I got out my folder and rang the number that I used to ring for NTL. No good. "This number cannot be connected".

So I rang 118 118 and got the number for Virgin Broadband and rang it. No good. "This number is not in service". Hhhmmm, I thought. Interesting new tactic for cutting down on the number of customer complaints: NTHell never thought of that one, a trick customer service number that doesn't exist. Oh well.

Then I remembered that I'd complained to Virgin by e-mail a couple of months ago, and I found their reply. It had a customer service number in the e-mail, so I rang it. The recorded message said "We're experiencing technical difficulties, please call back later. If you need assistance, please look at our website."

Priceless. Next time I can't get the Internet, I'll be sure to check the web site. Needless to say, I'll be checking out other broadband providers over the holidays.

In the future, everyone will be famous to fifteen people.
[posted with ecto]

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GreatSheElephant said...

In which case I very much look forward to the inevitable post about trying (and failing) to cancel your account with them.

Cayce Pollard said...

I did call to cancel but they gave me a different package that's twenty quid a month less for the same services, so I stayed (for the time being).

William said...

Hey Dave - head on down to Hambledon and park up outside our village shop and reprieved post office. They have open wifi, great connection, and only ask for a 50p voluntary contribution. (But are you in Woking as per your blog? Or Guildford as per your office? Or High Wycombe as per your IdealGov comment?)

brand midwife said...

Dave, are you still with them? The reason I ask is that we are triple play with Virgin (land-line, mobile, TV) and are considering going quad play. The 10 meg speed is interesting given the punishment the wi fi gets from the kids. I would run the current one in parallel for a bit though (Freedom2Surf over BT).

What do you think?

Mark Gordon

Cayce Pollard said...

I'm still with them at the moment, and to be honest the broadband service works well most of the time, but I think I'm going to switch because of their policies: bend over for Big Content and no net neutrality.

brand midwife said...

...and I thought you were a man of principle.

It's not as if you are going to get to see more Swindon Town matches by switching