I ordered a BT Broadband line in my new office on May 18th of this year.
We're now into August, and I'm still waiting for a reliable service to be established.
And for BT Broadband to professionally, efficiently, effectively and finally un-faux their pas.
Something they have failed to do yet.
BT Broadband: You have not covered yourselves in glory:
OK, so it's Saturday morning and I'm sat here in the office waiting for the 4th BT Broadband Engineer in as a many weeks to come and try and get me up and running with the web connection I need for my business.
I'm hoping they send someone more competent than the engineer who initially plumbed us in.
Or at least someone who knows a bit more about broadband than I do, but if previous experience is anything to go by, I doubt it.
I put the order for a BT Business Broadband line in the middle of May.
When placing the order I was told by the (disturbingly over-helpful) sales guy that they would 'fast track' it. And I could expect installation 'within 10 days'.
I was emailed the url for an online sign up process which I filled in and returned.
2 weeks later nothing had happened, so I rang the BT sales guy, but was diverted to the (disturbingly over-helpful) receptionist, who informed me that the sales guy was on another call and would "call me right back".
You know what's coming here don't you?
So, after a few days when he hadn't called me back, I rang again, and again, but still; Mr (disturbingly over-helpful) Sales Guy was 'on another call'. Same one I wondered.
And then success, one day, the planets must have been in alignment and I got through to a now: Mr Not Particularly Helpful Sales Guy. Who said, they hadn't received my order yet. (Luckily I'd done screen grabs of the original I'd sent in so resubmitting wasn't as onerous as it might of been. But I did bite my lip and hold my tongue, as I resubmitted the forms.)
This was in June sometime. Maybe 5 weeks later an Engineer actually came too and installed my line! Result!
....when he's gone, I noticed the number he'd written on the broadband box he'd installed bore no relation to the number BT had given me on the emailed documentation.
I rang BT to check what and wtf? They said I had to speak to another dept about this, I asked could they transfer me? They said (disturbingly over-helpful) 'fraid not, and gave me a number to call.
In retrospect, this was a defining moment, and put my whole experience with BT Broadband in microcosm.
Because BT gave me the wrong number for their own support service. Yes the WRONG number for THEIR service
I mumbled and muttered to myself and to anyone who'd listen on Twitter, but my luck was about to change:
Yay! In mid-July, about 8 weeks after I'd been 'fast-tracked' by BT Business for installation within 10 days, I get an email from BT.
It contains the words 'Congratulations' and 'Activation'.
I'm relieved, happy, in forgiving mood, even though my digital business hasn't had any office internet action for the first 2 months of it's life.
The fact that BT hadn't actually sent me their (disturbingly named) 'Welcome Pack' or a Router were mere trifles.
I had broadband, BT told me so.
Then more good news, I got another (disturbingly over-helpful) email not only telling me the Router and Welcome pack had been dispatched, but that there was a delivery tracking number, I could plot it's entire journey to make sure it had arrived safely.
Which of course it didn't.
When I checked it's delivery history, it had, of course, been delivered to the wrong address. (Luckily, I had a screen grab remember, of my submission details, and had given them the right address.)
With not a little trepidation I rang BT. who were their ever effusive, apologetic, we'll 'fast track' (I was beginning to hate that word), a new router to the correct address asap selves. (i.e. disturbingly over-helpful)
Within a week a router and welcome pack arrived at the correct address.
The day after yet another router and welcome pack arrived. Which was nice, and because I 'didn't want to outstay My Welcome Packs, I' did consider setting up an online business called 'BT Routers R Us.' With my growing stocks on BT Broadband routers. (Of course I'd need to actually be online BT to run an online business. But you had other plans.)
I followed the router & software install instructions and it has to be said, I was online and rocking in no time.
On the floor above my office, is a totally unconnected business to mine called Par Equity. (However, our broadband inputs share the same communal Comms room, see photo of comms room setup below.)
Since I moved in we've got on really well and I was eager to be a good neighbour. But BT Broadband had other plans:
And soon Par Equity were to become literally an 'unconnected business'.
As soon as I was nicely, sweetly and robustly online, my neighbours upstairs broadband falls over. (Yes they are with BT too.)
I investigated, and lo and behold, when I unplug my broadband, upstairs broadband kicks in again.
Mmm, something wrong here.
I'll spare you dear reader the pantomime of trying to get another BT engineer out, but it did include following 2 classic experiences:
i) So I call BT on my iPhone, the online lifeline I have to run my business, and say, I can't use my landline here or get broadband, when the company upstairs are using their broadband connection.
I tell them, (just want to emphasis this, that quote: "My phone line is not working'"); BT ask me what my number is and then ask: "Are you calling from that number now?" Er, Hello? Did you actually listen to my previous sentence?
ii) They also tell me that the telephone number THEY gave me on the original correspondence is a NOT BT number? wtf?wtf?
Yes they gave me a number that they now say isn't a BT number. (Large ones all round. Double the Director bonuses this year!)
Anyhow, Engineer number 2 comes a couple of Saturdays ago, and genuinely tried to be helpful, he checks my line, says it's fine but 'possibly' the previous engineer mis-wired i.e. screwed up my neighbours Par Equity's broadband in the process. (No shit Sherlock.)
So I ask him can he fix this he says no, as he only has my tel number on his Docket, Par Equity will have to call out another engineer themselves as fault affects their number.
At this, I'm horrified and concerned that the following Monday, my neighbours upstairs, to whom broadband web access is critical, won't have any comms out
I ask the engineer, (it's more of a pleading really)," please, please screw my broadband back up, putting thin gs back to just as they were, and get my neighbour upstairs back online."
Response: "No-Can-Do." Computer and docket say No.
But in a moment of actual helpfulness and rare cognitive effort:
"If we plug upstairs router into your (my) broadband pipe, until upstairs can get a BT engineer called out to fix the problem BT originally caused, they'll have an online service of sorts, and so will you."
Bingo. I'll take it.
And we do indeed share my broadband as a short-term workaround.
Later that week as recommended Par Equity called out engineer to take a look.
But I can't see that anything has actually changed.
Their router is connected to my broadband box and we're still sharing the same line in.
So I'm now paying, presumably, for a line that now has a much higher shared contention rate i.e. slower internet access/speeds for me. And the business upstairs is paying for broadband it isn't actually getting.
BT Broadband's telephone support people have been, polite, concerned and (disturbingly over-helpful) whenever I've called. In fact I've spent so much time with BT Broadband over the last 3 months I suspect they're going to invite me to the staff Christmas Party.
And in fairness, as this problem has got worse, and continues to be unresolved, they have been pro-active in calling me too,.
I can't fault that, (as were on the subject of faults.)
I'm also genuinely impressed that they have ported customer support in part to Twitter, where their community managers are energetic and diligent.
But all that great customer support, or depending on your viewpoint or mood; 'happy-clappy 'we care' online brand building' means bugger all, if, when it comes to the hands on, foot to the metal, put-up-or-shut -up, solution-focused reality of giving customers a reliable broadband service, then for me BT have failed.
And failed and failed again.
Of course, it's not just me. A cursory search of the #BTFail hashtag on twitter will show I am not alone in my disappointment, frustration and exasperation with BT Broadband's front line service.
As I've struggled, shrieked, and shaken with rage over the last few months, I couldn't help think of how Dell turned their fortunes around after the Dell Hell debacle with brilliant online responses to adversity like ideastorm.com
They both chuffed up big time and put it right with powerful online community building, not least their effective and timely use of Twitter for customer support.
BT have flipped the strategy. Or more accurately got it the wrong way round, cart before horse arse about face.
They've set up a presence on twitter and are getting their act together online, and now it appears are paradoxically going balls out, hell for leather in screwing and pissing off customers like me, by their woeful performance where it matters.
Face to face with customers.
ps. At time of writing this, Engineer number 4 still hasn't arrived yet.
Update: Guess what? Engineer number 4 has just arrived. But he's actually Engineer number 2.(Don't ask.)
Update, update: BT man says computer says we have robust broadband both downstairs and up. Yippppeeeee! Will monitor closely, but for now, thanks BT.