Monday, May 14, 2018

The problem's at your end

Goodbye, BT

A few months ago, BT decided to raise my broadband and phone costs again. While I don't mind paying some form of premium for reliable internet access, when it gets to being twice as much as their competitors (57 quid a month, they wanted - for infinity 2 and a phone line I don't use) - that's the point where I start making annoyed noises and scoping out the competition.

But, this time I thought I'd give them a chance to make a me a deal. I got in touch with their customer service department, and explained to them politely and clearly that they were trying to charge me too much, I was prepared to leave, but if they would match their new customer deal I'd stay. (this was advertised at 38 quid a month).

"Computer says no" was the response, both times I rang up.

Really, BT? you're unable to match the rates you give to new customers, even though I've been a customer for years? You're so stubborn you're willing to throw away 400 quid a year revenue just to stick to your guns?

So, I dropped an email to the head of customer service. Of course, she's never going to read that email, but it only took me a few minutes to register my sincere disappointment. And what do you know, I got a call back (nearly a week later, all told, but it's something).

And do you know what they said?

"Computer says no".

Why even bother ringing me, if you are not going to match my request?

Then, after I said that 43 quid a month was too much (bear in mind, Plusnet are doing phone plus 60Mb fibre for 31 quid a month) - they rang me back again, and offered me 38 quid a month!

So, yes - they can offer me the same rate as new customers (better, in fact). It only took four emails and four phone calls to get to that point.

Now, by this point I'm just pissed off with them, enough that they can bite me. No, that's simply not good enough now. Off to your competitor I go.

Hello, Plusnet

(which is actually owned by BT, and runs over the same hardware connected to the same wires).

So, now we've got broadband and phone for 31 quid a month. And for the first two months, everything was absolutely perfect. I never use the landline anyway, so that might have had serious outages - who knows? But the important thing, the internet connection - seems fast and was rock solid.

Right up to today, at which point it went down.

So, I fire up my mobile hotspot, shift over all my important infrastructure to use that instead of the fibre connection, and open up a chat window to Jordan, the Plusnet support rep.

"Afternoon Jordan", says I. "My internet isn't working".

"Oh dear", says, he, "let's just do the ten minute the-problem-is-at-your-end-have-you-turned-it-on-and-off script".

"Please, can we skip the script", says I. "I've got dial tone, rebooted everything, and it was working an hour ago. can you please just check if there's a problem at your end".

And what do you know - he did! and there is! A major service outage, with an ETA of 7pm for resolution.

Which is Awesome to know. Now then, have a guess - is there any mention of this on the support/service status pages?

Is there hell. Of course there's not.

Why not just tell me?

Seriously, in the 21st century, why the hell don't you just update the service status page? If I know what's going on, and I have an idea of when it will be fixed, I can make a plan around that. If I have no idea, then I just get angry and frustrated, and I will direct that anger and frustration at you, Plusnet.

When will you goddamn learn?

I don't need you to pretend you're perfect - I need you to give me all the information you have, so I can make informed decisions around that. I understand things go wrong, I understand things break, and I understand problems take time to resolve.

What I don't understand is the idea that simply lying about it is in anyone's best interests.

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