Thursday, April 06, 2006

I see a picture, by the lamp's flicker. Isn't it strange how dreams fade and shimmer?

Last week I shared a few thoughts on Internet shopping and the way it does work, and some of the way in which it does not. This week purely by coincidence I had reason to contact a company about a problem and I thought it might be nice to share the experience with you.

About three weeks ago I noticed that my internet connection was crawling along like a dial up connection of six or seven years ago. So after performing all the little tweaks and stuff I know to no avail I was left with no alternative than to call the NTL Technical support line. As I dialled the number my heart started to sink and I got ready for a long slog. My advise to anyone who is needing to call NTL customer support is invest in a phone that has a hands free facility, and is also cordless and digital, all will be revealed in a moment. Much to my surprise I got through to a person in around ten minutes. Not a bad start I thought, the gentleman on the other end of the line was obviously in a call centre on another continent and in fairness he was quite knowledgeable and very polite and eager to please. The only trouble was that I had great difficulty in understanding anything he talked about. I had to keep stopping him and asking him to repeat things. This not only slowed the whole process down to nearly the speed of my internet connection but made me feel really bad. The poor guy was trying to give me some “command prompts” to type in but for the life of me he might as well have been talking Chinese. Finally after forty min’s on the phone we got to the point where he could not do any more and was going to have to pass me on to a technical expert. I thought he was the expert after all he answers the technical help line, apparently not his job is to filter out the numpties who do not know the difference between a modem and a mouse trap. Frankly it would have been twenty minutes talking to him but he had to say everything twice, my fault I suppose for being too thick to understand him!!!!!!!!!

His boss or technical expert or whatever you want to call her was not much better, I ended up talking to her on the phone for so long while I waited for her to update her end, that we ended up talking about New Deli (the location of the call centre) and how she got the tech support job with them. Finally the tech support in India had to admit defeat and refer me to an engineer “in Britain” I enquired with trepidation, “in Bedford came the reply” things were moving on. Four days latter between 8am and 1pm as promised the engineer turned up with a box of tools and a love for my coffee. I began to suspect that he was not going to be the great panacea I was hoping for when I asked him what the difference was between the old modem and the new “250” model I was about to be given. “Its blue” came the engineer’s earnest reply, it certainly is and a very nice shade but that was not quite what I meant.

Suffice to say that after two hours mostly outside with his head in a green box the problem still remains. The Engineer obviously felt bad at not fixing the problem for me, but I think he also had a great sense of pride in being able to tell me that I was now being escalated to” the network”. This god like image that was described in hushed tones as “the network” turned out to be a very nice man with a van who had all sorts of tricks up his sleeve and on Monday evening he tried all of them. As I write this it’s Tuesday evening and my connection is still slow very slow but I have attained the dizzy heights of my problem being looked at by the big boys back at central wherever or who ever that is. At each stage I have been dealt with by some very kind and well trained people who make you feel very important and almost make you forget you have a reason to talk to them.

And now down to the moral of the story. It does not matter how bad the message if you deliver it well you can get away with almost anything or alternatively unless you have the patience of a saint give NTL a miss. I will let you know if I ever get it sorted and how high in NTL it is possible to go.
Matt x

1 comment:

3Steel said...

Mmm! NTL enough said!!
Mike Oldfield:- To France