Dear Mr Patterson,
You don’t know me, but I’d like to help you out.
You see, I’ve been a long-suffering customer of BT for more than eight years now. Not by choice, I might add; you have something of a monopoly on communications our area.
But let me start at the beginning. Bear with me, because although this tale of woe starts slowly, it’s all action towards the end.
We lived in a wee place called Radford Semele in Warwickshire, just outside Leamington Spa. Now, Radford isn’t truly in the sticks, but it is slightly countrified so we weren’t expecting superfast fibre or owt. However, we were a little surprised when we only got 0.6MB… and that was on a good day.
Then it got worse when some ruffians had away with the copper wire at our exchange (at least, this is what we were told happened). Despite this being a prime opportunity for BT to upgrade, it appears that what you actually did was hijack some existing wire and make the entire thing even worse. Bear with me here because I don’t know anything about this stuff and I’m paraphrasing (and possibly misrepresenting) my husband, who told me what he thought had happened. I was trying to listen, but you know how these things go.
Anyway: long story short we lived with this shockingly awful level of “service” for many years because we had no choice. No other providers, see? And in that time, I managed to grow my little business — which I run almost entirely online — from around £2,000 a month to £12,000+ per month. Whilst swearing constantly at our intermittent broadband (although at least I’ve extended my already impressive vocabulary of profanity).
I’m doubly proud of myself considering that BT, with all the money and power and superfast broadband at its disposal, still can’t seem to deliver a service that’s even close to acceptable to me. I’m not alone in this feeling, by the way. Not that you’ll care about a few disgruntled souls.
Incidentally, while I’m on the subject, the best way to enrage your current customers who are receiving an appalling “service” is to send them marketing aimed at getting new customers — offering them a better deal. This is marketing 101 here, but it’s my area of expertise, so have a listen: your biggest and easiest profits lie in your current customers. You’d do well to put the effort into keeping us happy, particularly when so many people are leaving in droves for the likes of Virgin.
So here’s two things you can do right now to improve your bottom line and your customer satisfaction ratings: segment your list properly so you don’t send current customers stuff that’s aimed at new customers. And start treating your current customers better than new ones. Touting for punters this way is very unseemly, Mr Patterson. Do you know who else touts for custom like this? Crack dealers, that’s who. Get ‘em hooked, then treat ‘em like crap.
Anyway, I digress.
My real beef here is that we’ve just moved house to a little cottage in Herefordshire. Our dream, you see. Being the organised type, I sorted out a finish date for our old place and a start date for our new place. We had to wait two weeks, but that’s okay. I was excited, because I know the broadband speeds out here are a blistering 3.5—4MB. You can imagine how much I was looking forward to this after our previous 0.6MB (on a good day, remember).
Installation day came — April 18 — and the engineer turned up. He faffed around doing whatever it is he does, then said there was no line connected so he had to go sort it. Fine. He came back and told me the number that has been allocated to us was in use by someone else. And all the spare lines in the exchange were faulty.
Splendid work, BT!
So he disappeared, promising to log the fault (which he apparently didn’t) and assuring me someone would be in touch (which they weren’t).
We have no signal here. And obviously, no broadband or landline. So I’ve spent a lot of time this week walking up the hill in the garden, then wading through your infuriating telephone menu system. The first time I got through, someone hung up on me. So I had to spend another five minutes shouting at your menu system.
Then I got through to a call centre. The woman I spoke to was nice enough, but I’m not sure she really understood what the problem was. Either way, nobody called me back as promised.
Next day, I tried again and got through to a helpful woman somewhere in the UK who told me I wasn’t in the right department but she’d get it sorted. Apparently my issue was escalated to some kind of a manager and she promised me someone would call me back before the end of the working day yesterday.
Guess what, Mr Patterson? Nobody did. (Except, of course, for automated emails telling me how great it is that I’m now connected and online!)
At this point, I got cross.
I’d like to tell you that I’ve probably wasted half a day on this nonsense so far. I feel inclined to charge it back to BT. My day rate is £1,500 + VAT. I’ll come back to that, though.
I asked my husband to deal with it because he has broadband and a phone signal at his offices. Here’s what he said:
“So, BT… They are utter sh*tbiscuits. [excuse the profanity, but I think it makes the point]
“Before I launched into the calling and whatnot.. I rang our number. It rings out. I logged into their website and ran a test on the line. It said ‘There’s a fault near your house!’ and In progress
Tue 26 Apr 17:00 Estimated repair date We aim to fix your fault by the time and date shown. We apologise if this is taking longer than expected. That’s the fix time/date. End of day on the 26th.
“According to the person I spoke to, the first they (BT) knew of a problem was when I ran a line check ten minutes before the chat. Which means all the calls you made and the people you spoke to achieved exactly nothing.”
Can you imagine the ragemonster I’m turning into right now? Not only have I wasted half a day on this nonsense, but your people are insisting this is the first they’ve heard of it. I hesitate to throw such accusations around normally, but they’re lying.
We’ve paid £30-odd a month for the past few years of dreadful service. Then we’re charged £120 connection fee (yeah, I’m not paying that) and presumably if we ever get connected, we’ll be bent over for lots more money for a sub-par service.
Frankly, at this point, I’d just be glad of a landline and broadband. Let’s get that sorted, then we can talk about my wasted time and my inability to work on my client projects.
I’ll take the excessive milkshake consumption into consideration too (there’s wifi at the local diner).
Mr Patterson, I’m sure you can see my problem. I hope you can see your problem, because I struggle to believe I’m the only person who’s suffering. Honestly, I give up with your staff. Which is why I’m coming to you.
Please help me before my head (and my waistline) explodes.
I know you’re a busy man, but so am I. Well, I’m not a man, but you get my drift. The thing is, though, you’re not paying me. I’m paying you. So in this instance, I reckon my busyness should get a look in.
How’s about it, good sir? Could you step in on our behalf please? Kick some bottoms? Get us connected?
There’s a bar of chocolate in it for you if you can help me.
PS: I’m writing this email sitting on the floor of my shower, because it’s the only place in the house I can get enough of a 3G signal to hang a hotspot off.