Monday, 31 December 2007

Virgin Media Customer Service

First, a traditional merry Yuletide joke:

Q. What, pray, is the difference between Virgin Media's Customer Service effort, and a bucket of sh*t?

A. The bucket. (Aha, haha, ahaha: Your Grace is more than witty this fine afternoon.)

And what, you ask, has brought this on?

Why, when my aristocratic breeding demands good manners, am I writing the Dreadful Anglo-Saxon Poo-Word with a mere asterisk to (hardly) spare the blushes of my more delicate readers?

Well: would you like a blow-by-blow, line-by-line, minute-by-minute account of why I am so cheesed off with Mr Branson and his fine, fine company? Would you, perhaps, like me to tell you where exactly - with regard to the person of Mr Branson - I would currently like to put his undoubtedly splendid V+ box?

No, me neither. So let us instead retire to the Bullet Point Conservatory and dismiss the matter briefly over a pleasant cup of tea:

  • Broken appointments and major time wasting for my family and me;
  • Lots and lots and lots of very, very annoying phone calls;
  • Something which may be lies but it might be more courteous to describe as a tendency towards chronic inaccuracy;
  • I can teach a Border Collie to stick its head through a gap in the stairs on the command "Gargoyle!" In fact it was quite easy. I cannot, however, teach Virgin Media to call me on the correct telephone number, no matter how much effort I expend. Perhaps I am using the wrong sort of biscuits?
  • Most people there to whom I speak to seem to be pleasant enough and perhaps aware that they are not, actually, providing me with a good service. Indeed one apologized this morning, which was an exciting first. Thank you - that really was much appreciated.
  • Others, though, are pathetic and defensive and hide behind their company's dreadful inefficient procedures, or what they claim are those procedures. It would be nice to think that such people could be rooted out and sacked but in reality they are probably more likely to be promoted.
  • The nice and competent-sounding person to whom I spoke second today has arranged the second attempt at an installation, which - assuming it takes place as planned - will be a mere fortnight after my family started wasting its time and my blood pressure started its present climb.
  • The first person to whom I spoke today - well, I diskard her, as Molesworth sa.
  • Finally, a moment of light relief which cheered me up immensely. This morning while hanging around in Telephone Purgatory I was told (by Not Good Helpline Person) that I was being put through to the right people to help. A silence then ensued, then a strange recorded announcement, about quotas, which was clearly not meant for my ears. Finally a man answered with something technical and incomprehensible and asked if he could help me. I explained my quest. There was a thoughtful silence then, in tones of almost radiant wonderment, "are you a Member of the Public?"

Great stuff. I do of course look forward to seeing this exciting device in and working - though not all that soon - but, frankly, if I had a real choice I would not touch this company again with a long, disinfected, Teflon-coated bargepole.

But do please have another cuppa, and try the Christmas cake: it is rather fine. And a very good afternoon to you, too.


Update on 13th January: well, the machine in question is now in and working. The appointment made by the second customer services person did work out, hurrah, and a really nice engineer came on Friday and fitted the box. The whole business of the complaints procedure and so on has never really worked out. They've rung up once or twice (having finally understood how to do so) and said they would call back when I was in, but it has not happened. In a sense I can't really see how this would now benefit me - they already cut the price in half as a result of their error and I cannot imagine they are offering me anything more than that, so it would just be the satisfaction of hearing them say sorry, and I can probably live without that. The box, by the way, is superb. So I will give them two rousing cheers for the bits that went well and for how good their device is, and one rousing raspberry for their uselessness in other ways, and call it quits.


lazybrain said...

Did you remember to ask whether they'd considered working for the Nazis? :-)

Bert of course has had many a run-in with Virgin/NTL. And I once lost 100 calories on my stepping machine just waiting for them to answer the sodding phone.

Strawberryyog said...

Oh, bother! No, that quite escaped my memory. Thank you: I could certainly have done with some Bert Power on my side in my transactions with these wonderful people.

Though on reflection I don't think they have been efficient enough to work for the Nazis. They'd have been still trying to get round to bombing Coventry by about 1951 (they'd have kept calling round when everyone was out) and their submarines would have consistently been sent to the wrong part of the Atlantic and then tried to claim that the real coordinates didn't exist. Sigh