1. They have a strong vision – a strategy for service that is clearly developed and clearly communicated
2. They “talk” service routinely
3. They have customer-friendly service systems
4. They balance, high-tech with high-touch, that is, they temper their systems and methods with the personal factor
5. They recruit, hire, train, and promote for service
6. They market service to their customers
7. They market service internally, that is, to their employees
8. They measure service and make the results available
I often work with companies and get them to rate themselves out of 10 on the above dimensions. How would BT Retail rate themselves? But more importantly how would customers rate BT?
Interestingly for the past few weeks as a customer I have been trying to get a telephone line, calls and broadband package installed for my daughter. It would seem however that the silo approach to customer service and not recognising customer service is a critical cross functional and cross organisation supply chain has resulted in the most frustrating and worst experience I have had in over 20 years. I have been lied to on multiple occasions and it seems the system is set up to ensure issues cannot be escalated so powerless customer support individuals can do nothing.
Before explaining the case in detail let me summarise the key issues to date. (I will continue to update this as things develop so do come back).
Over 7.5 hours on telephone and still no resolution. (Will I be compensated for this time?)
1 days holiday taken for wasted engineer visits and we are expected to take more time out for this.
Paid over £150 for line rental and direct debits are being taken despite no service!
Multiple promises none fulfilled.
Texts stating will be called back, no call backs received.
0800 number provided but if you no phone this costs you on a mobile!
Out of 7 promised call backs only one received. In my household a promise made and not kept is a lie.
First installation date promise 16th December and still nothing.....
I do hope senior management from BT Retail may take note and review their customer care procedures. I will continue to update this blog to further document any further bad and good practice. But enjoy the timeline below (Read More) and ask what would your business do differently?
It all seemed so simple......
Our order was placed, direct debit set up and 12 months line rental purchased at £159.84 on a credit card to save some money. A delivery charge for the router paid of £6.95. All this was done on the evening of the 24th November.
A couple of days later a nice letter, dated 24th November 2014, from Libby Barr Managing Director Customer Care was received thanking us for choosing BT. (A reference of VOL012-99191179528 was provided) We received an installation date of the 16th December 2014 which was acceptable; a week without a landline would be fine although the mobile coverage at the property was intermittent.
The 16th December arrived, a day’s holiday was taken, and an engineer turned up, a router was delivered. The blank plate which was on the wall was swapped for a BT Socket. The engineer checked the socket and went outside the property lifted the BT man hole cover and said “Although the line from the man hole to your property is fine, there is no line from this man hole just a rope to pull the line through, I will let someone know”
This is the point where our story really starts.
On the 16th we receive a text saying “Welcome to BT” etc etc stating our telephone line was functional and inferring our payments would start. So on the evening of the 16th at 20:30 we called the 0800 800 150 the automated system asks “Hello thank you for calling BT, in a few words tell us why you are calling today” I answer “line fault” after talking to someone in a far off country who struggled to understand the issue they said an engineer would be dispatched. (Now each call takes on average 30 minutes!) We were reassured that the line would be sorted 19th December. (We receive a new reference of VOL012-100085064730)
"There can not be a line fault if there is no line!" BT Engineer
The engineer comes on the 17th and states everything to the property is fine but this is an underground problem, I am not an underground engineer so you need an underground engineer. That’s fine but a few minutes later a text is received stating that the “line fault” had been fixed! But the line was still dead. Call the O800 number again, another engineer is despatched, he lifts the man hole cover and says the is no line just a rope to pull the line through “I will call the team responsible” another text is sent saying the line is fixed! We call the O800 number again, stating that it is still dead more engineers dispatched! A further text was received saying it was fixed and one engineer then tells us “There can’t be a line fault if there is no line” my phone is still dead however!"
Phone the 0800 number again and have interesting conversation with overseas call centre trying to explain not to send and engineer but someone to pull through a line, trying to explain there is no line and just a rope proved an interesting language challenge.
Eventually a glimmer of hope, we were promised all would be sorted by Christmas Eve, 24th December.
Hopes are dashed – 24th December comes and the line is still dead at 4pm so call 0800 number we are told is should be sorted out and the line should be working. Explain it is still dead and someone needs to replace the rope with a bit of wire! We are then told that nothing would happen until the 26th December and this was a priority they promised to call us back, they didn’t. They explained they had raised an internal complaint on themselves. Called the 0800 number again told everything would be sorted out by the 31st December it wasn’t, call the 0800 again etc etc.
The most amusing part of all this was getting through to an overseas call centre and being told I was put on hold but they left the line open and hearing the person say “Oh my God what a mess”.
We are now into the New Year, on the 2nd January I call the 0800 number and state I want to complain. This time I get through to a team in Lincoln UK, very helpful I spoke to Ms H told me us she would sort out the problem, we received a call back saying that she had found the best solution to the problem was cancel the original order and re-launch it and things were being expedited so the line should be in place by the 5th January and I would receive an update call by 8pm that day. Also given a mobile free phone number 0330-11-4567 which would take us through to the correct department free of charge on mobile this number however when phoned just gives a reply saying not in service!! We receive emails and texts saying we are to have to pay £30 for cancelling an order and also to return our BT router, Ms H told us to ignore this. Also don’t forget our direct debit is still being taken and our line rental payment has still been paid.
5th January phone still dead no update call received. I telephone the 0800 number again now told order has been cancelled but would take until 9th January to cancel and then a new order to be placed on 12th January. I complain vigorously, isn’t this taking us back to where we were on the 24th November? Told I would receive a call back by 8pm. No call back. (Call length 37min.)
6th January call O800 again get put through to Ms T in Lincoln who connects me with Ms DM, (yes I finally got a surname) was told that things were in hand I would receive a call back by 8pm on the 8th January with an update. I even received a text stating “Complaint number VOL012-100587496378 Sincere apologies for the ongoing delay in connecting your service. As discussed I have sent a form to the engineers to bring forward the date that they can stop the incorrect line. Once this is done we will be able to place a new order and begin fast tracking this with the engineers, we will contact you by 8pm 08.01.15”
7th January, letter received saying return Home Hub!
8th January, waiting in until 8pm – no call back!!!!!!!
9th January 9:10am call O800 number back to overseas call centre, told cannot contact anyone will send email.
9:20am call 0800 number get to Mr P. Explain situation again! Put on hold and I am told unable to do anything but has emailed managers. Email sent stating I am very “distressed” will be called back urgently.
11:10 am call again back to overseas call centre told cannot do anything but will send email.
11:22 call received from Mr K. in Leicester saying his manager has asked him to sort things out. Seems “the manager” actually needs to take responsibility and sort something out themselves! Mr K. states order takes 24hours to place and will try to expedite will call back tomorrow between 9am and 6pm. I even receive a text saying “Hi BT here, following our conversation today will call you back tomorrow (10/01/15) between 8am-8pm to discuss order further, we apologise for the dealys you have had but we are working to get this resolved as quick as we can, kind regards.”
10th January – no call back, text or any update – another lie from BT Retail!!!!!!
11th January – decide to break my cover and blog on this and circulate to Twitter, Linkedin and Facebook followers. First Tweet 4.07pm
I will keep this blog updated below as things progress it will be interesting to see how things move forward. (See below)
An interesting thing is that I have been told I am unable to escalate my complaint to more senior management as certain teams need to be contacted beforehand. Are management insulating themselves from true customer issues? The 0800 number would also seem to result in no single person taking responsibility for the process, different silo’s can only do certain things and would seems powerless to coordinate that whole process. Once again resulting in insulation of BT from the true customer experience. Going back to the work of Karl Albrecht & Ron Zemke they do not have customer friendly-service systems and they may have technology but this is failing the process.
For customer services systems to work appropriately Processes, Infrastructure, Information systems and also people need to be aligned to enable the customer service supply chain to create value for the business and result in loyal customers.
A final thought some research shared by Miller Business Systems looked at why customers stop buying the reasons were as follows:
1% DIE, RETIRE OR ARE TERMINATED
3% TRANSFER TO OTHER JOBS, COMPANIES OR
5% GIVE THEIR BUSINESS TO OTHER FRIENDS
9% COMPETITIVE REASONS
14% PRODUCT DISSATISFACTION
68% ATTITUDE OF SUPPLY COMPANY
Attitude is all about perception and sadly from the above case my impression is that BT Retail really don’t care and have very poor attitude to the customers who ultimately pay their wages and sustain the business.
PS Do forward the link to this blog to any senior contacts you have in BT Retail it would be interesting to get their thoughts.
11th January 2015
5.11pm Tweet response from BT - "@SupplyChainProf I'm sorry to read about the problems you are having. Send details here; https://bt.custhelp.com/app/contact_email/c/4953/?s_cid=con_FURL_email_so and we will pick it up"
5.25pm A standard web form, completed with some details and receive email.
"Thank you for getting in touch.
We just wanted you to know that we've received your e-mail. This is an auto response so you don't need to reply.
Our aim is to get back to you in 48 hrs. But at busier times, it could take us up to 72hrs.
Either way, don't worry we'll be in touch. Your reference number is 150111-005302
BT Care Team"
We have waited 26 days and now I am told it could be a further 3 days!
12th January 2015
08.09am @BTCare Tweet.
@SupplyChainProf To be fair to all customers, your email joins a queue and once we get to yours we will be in touch.
I respond 09.02 am - @BTCare waiting 27 days & spending over hours on phone fair? Is being promised call backs which are not done fair?
Response - "I've requested that someone contact you today about this"
It seems the email system and @BTcare operate in a silo to the telephone system.
09:48 Receive call from Mr K. in Leicester, stated he had passed things onto a colleague to sort out and had requested them to call on Saturday but they didn't. Said BT would send engineer to install line on 21st January!!! but he had expedited it to an installation on Friday 16th January between 1pm and 6pm. I emphasized that they should send the right engineer as a rope is in the man hole cover so a line needs pulling through. So now we have to wait an other 5 days, it was then pointed out that this was just a telephone line for call. The order for Broadband would then be activated the following week!!
So my order was cancelled, to apparently speed things up on the 2nd January with a promise this could be sorted by 5th January now nothing is going to happen until the 16th January. I wonder if there is some clever manipulation of performance metrics taking place. Does placing a new order start the clock again and mean the original issue and complaint is seen as sorted out?
13th January 2015
Time off work booked by my daughter to be in for BT Engineer on the 16th January between 1pm and 6pm. Text received stating
"Sorry, Your BT order start date has changed. Your engineer visit's on 16 Jan 2015 between 1pm to 6pm. If you can't make this appointment, you can change it at www.bt.com/ordertracking" So will something happen on the 16th January. We do hope so!
14th January 2015
08.15am Text from BT "Hello. This is a message from BT regarding your order number VOL012-100897739543. Just a quick update for you! We are still working with Openreach engineering team to determine the quickest way to get you in service! We will contact you again in 3 working days with a further update so there is no need to call us. If you should have any questions. please call 0800 800 150 between 08.00-20.00. Mon-Fri. Alternatively you can check your order on www.bt.com. Thank you"
So lets just understand how a customer would respond to this. Time off worked booked in two days time on the 16th January, they will contact us in 3 working days, this could be Monday! So does my daughter take time off work or not? Why could they not telephone the customer to explain?
09.15 Call 0800-800-150 - 5 minutes in queue. Spoke to Ms KF. Total call time 15 minutes. VOL number above is not recognised by system. Have to give full address! Notes on account state appointment is still in place for 16th January "I am unclear as to why you were sent that text, I will contact the engineering team to find out what is happening" Put on hold. She says " This is an erroneous text, the 16th is still in the diary, there is also a note to contact you on the 19th January to initiate broadband, I will send an other text confirming the 16th again" Text received at 09.33 confirming the 16th January appointment between 13.00 & 18.00
It seems even the text generator is randomly sending things now!
Email received from Ms CK from issue raised on Twitter. So the @BTCare on Twitter has a response time of 3 days! Using instant messaging and then responding in 3 days! Just stated line would be installed on 16th January and broadband activated on 19th January.
BT fail again!!!! Engineer visits at 1pm says line is fine inside the house but there is a rope inside the man hole cover outside the properties (see 16th December 2014) Says that they are going to go and make some calls and would call back to say what is happening. Would get an other Engineer to visit who does underground work (See 17th December 2014) No call back received. Call BT 0800 number get through to Leicester told cannot do anything as engineer has not put notes on system. In summary nothing has happened in last month!!
Call 0800 at 1pm. Get through to Ms S in Leicester, told will try to sort out issues and contact Engineering teams as notes still not updated. Told we now have a dedicated person assigned to case Mr JK he will be calling on Monday. Told a "multi functional engineer" will be sent out in 48 hours (working days) so by Tuesday 20th January. Was told my daughter could access BT wifi by accessing her account online which was activated.
2.30pm Call 0800 again as are unable to access online account, Get message Account Number not recognised. Advisor says that account number has been changed!! However the account number can only be given in a letter not on telephone or by email. Therefore will have to wait until letter is sent. They anticipate this may arrive by Wednesday 21st January. So now although BT have £166.79 plus direct debit payments we are unable to even get a basic wifi service as the account number has been changed by BT but the customer has not been notified!
19th January - No call back as promised during calls on 17th January.
1.55pm A further 25 minute call to BT in Leicester. Told me that "Network Provision" would take place in the exchange, explained that the problem is not at the exchange again "There is a rope in the man hole cover" representative said they will send an urgent email to his collegue to inform him of this (See 16th December!)
2.40pm Text received "Hello this is a message from BT in regards to our earlier conversation. I can confirm that the case handler in Leicester has stated a multi-skilled engineer is due to be out on the 22/1/2015. The case handler has booked to contact you on the 23/01/2015 to further elaborate the next steps. We will be in contact on the 23/1/2015 so there is no need to call us back, we will be in contact. Kind regards, BT Team."
Receive call from BT, (they actually did what they said) "Phone line should be working tonight or tomorrow and then they will sort out broadband, the engineers have been working on it yesterday and today"
Still no letter received with new account number or telephone number (See 17th December) so still unable to activate or register account.
24th January - No Phone, No Broadband!!!
25th January - No Phone, No Broadband!!!
2.04pm Call the 0800 number, again. Get through to Leicester told we would receive a call back by 2.30pm.
2.30pm - Actually got a call back, MrK explained he has to give the engineer 3 days notice! However he had talked to manager and got quite angry, an engineer would be out today. He would call us back on Friday 30th January with update but would keep tracking order.
Text from BT "Sorry, Your BT order start date has changed. Your new engineer visit's on the 12th February 2015 between 8am to 1pm. If you can not make this appointment you can change it at www.BT.com" So another half day off work!!!
Receive letter in post saying that we will be contacted on 30th January at 3.30pm with an update. Seems BT is now starting to work harder at communication.
Call from MrK in Leicester it seems it has been concluded that BT need to do some excavation work, still hope to have something by 12th February!!!! They are actually calling us when they say.
Today also had an other hilarious moment, BT Engineer turns up to fit telephone line at a property next door. My daughter sees him and says "It wont work because there is a rope under the man hole cover". Engineer states "You are having a laugh!" Then lifts the cover and finds a rope! So even the engineer team don't talk to each other!
Message received from BT saying the works had been completed and that they need to arrange for connection. We already had appointment for tomorrow which was scheduled on 30th January so hopefully something has been done and the connection can be made.
An engineer visit was scheduled today between 8am and 1pm. Engineer calls to say he was coming out and we explained there was no need to enter the property, the cable is clearly labeled in the Man hole so it can easily be connected. This particular engineer has been out to the property on two occasions so remembers us! We then receive call stating "There is still no cable in the man hole just a rope!!!" So we are back to where we were on the 16th December!
Call received from BT to update us they still have issues!
Call received to say everything will be sorted out by Tuesday 24th February - lets see what happens.
Finally the rope has been replaced with a wire so hopefully tomorrow will be switch on day.
Receive call from BT - there are still problems they now recommend and ask if we have complained to the Ombudsman, so it seems even they have given up.
Receive letter from BT dated 23rd February - stating we can take the complaint further with the Ombudsman Services - Communications. Tel: 03304401614 ".....but we hope that you will bear with us a little longer or get in touch with our team directly if you have any questions"
Receive call saying engineer will be coming afternoon of 6th March.
Friday 6th March
2pm Engineer arrives and guess what we have telephone and broadband. Never seen so many BT Engineers in one place, but things are still not right. It seems they are all discussing the fact 7 people need lines but ours was the last connection!
Enjoy weekend of telephone and broadband - finally feel connected.
Monday 9th March
Call from BT stating really sorry about your line but we are working on it and an engineer will be coming out today. Explain we have a line and everything is great, they say well by the time you get home your speed may improve!
Get home from work, broadband router not connecting, terrible static on line, neighbors say BT had been out saying you don't want to get connected due to the static on the line.
Tuesday 10th March
Contact BT to complain about issue get put through overseas call centre state that there is problem with line and broadband no longer connects. An other engineer appointment is scheduled.
Wednesday 11th March
"Hi Miss W.
Here is a recap of what we discussed.
Your package ........
Your next bill will be 09/04/2015 etc etc
We have not discussed anything!!!!!!
Call BT - Spend 30 minutes on telephone explaining how we are out of pocket and tell the whole story again, and the service we have is not fit for purpose. told my Ms M that any compensation will be sorted out once things are working. Put through to Mr T. who asks someone to go to property to run tests, have to take front of socket and put phone in master socket. Luckily I have 3 broadband filters and two phones I can plug in as they are blaming equipment. Mr T finally believes that the line is not working correctly. An engineer appointment is set for Friday 13th March in afternoon, they need access to property! An other half day in the property, however it is pointed out this is a telephone engineer not a broadband engineer so we could end up with having to be in again for a broadband engineer! Stated we have already had multiple engineer visits and taken time off work, apparently we can receive compensation for these also, well lets see what happens.
BT Engineer was also next door installing broadband, but would not look at this issue as other jobs scheduled.
In summary they have started charging us again and we have no service again!