on 29-07-2018 06:29 PM
Escalating a fault can shoot yourself in the foot!
My experience of TalkTalk customer service over the last couple of weeks is worth sharing, as it highlights some serious shortcomings in their processes. I'm not having a rant, I'm approaching it as a former systems support manager. I hope they may read this post and take steps to improve.
I bought some new kit (a NAS) and subscribed to a cloud backup service to protect my family’s run from home business data, accounts and legal documents.
To maximise the speed of backing up or restoring data to the cloud, I upgraded my existing fibre with the speed boost to 76 MBits download, and more importantly for backing up, 17 MBits upload.
Within 24 hrs of my order, the upload speed had doubled, but the download speed remained the same.
I contacted support by chat, who were helpful, but following a script from which they were not allowed to deviate.
I had indicated that I could connect my laptop to router with an ethernet cable and the speed remained the same, so wi-fi issue was not a possibility. However the script required testing wi-fi exhaustively, checking PC settings, testing at different distances, different rooms, re-connecting to chat via my mobile phone and laptop on 4G so they could test my phone line while still on chat.
All that took 2hrs 30 min of my time and theirs. A possible fault on the phone line was detected, and an Openreach engineer visit booked. That could have been diagnosed in 10 minutes, if we had skipped the wi-fi testing.
During the line testing, I was asked to remove the screwed-on phone master socket faceplate while the line was tested, and replace it afterwards. At that point, my download speed immediately increased to a consistent 75 MBits. So there was a dirty connection in the master/test socket contacts causing the fault.
Openreach came and replaced the master socket, but found no fault on the line. The engineer had difficulty in getting the new design master socket clip-on faceplate to remain in position, and it fell off several times. He pressed harder and said it will be ok like that and left. Of course it was not ok and continued to fall off.
I contacted TalkTalk by chat the following day and another Openreach visit was booked for the next day. They failed to arrive. Contacted Talktalk by chat again and complained. They advised that as a customer service issue had arisen, only the next level complaints team could deal with it and the only way to do that was book a call-back from them a couple of days ahead, and within a half-day window.
Again, no call received. Complained again. New call-back booked for another day, no call received. By now 4 half-days at home and still no resolution. Though I did now have the new internet speed, provided the master socket was secured with sellotape.
Refusing to accept further call-backs or have more time wasted, I called the complaints team several times, over several days. Each time I was put on hold for long periods, and the call always disconnected while waiting.
I then refused to have further phone contact at all, and insisted all future contact was by chat or email, so everything is in writing. Told by chat support that is not possible, and phone the only option.
Catch-22. Shot in the foot. Never escalate a complaint, or it can never be resolved apparently.
I contacted retentions by chat and asked, if a fault or complaint was closed, can retentions view the details later for discussion. I called myself John Smith and gave my number as 01234 123456 so they were unable to access my escalated complaint details and book another call-back. Desperate situations need desparate measures.
I then went back later by chat to close the complaint and report the fault as fixed. They could do that online without a call-back. Strange that!
I then ordered a replacement Openreach master socket and faceplate from Ebay for £5. On opening it, I first checked that the 2 parts clipped together securely and they did. So I removed the sellotape, and clipped on the new faceplate, which promptly fell off. So the bit screwed to the wall was faulty?
Actually no, the screws had been over-tightened by the Openreach engineer, distorting the backplate, and loosening them gradually allowed the original faceplate to be fitted securely, and the new one was not needed at all. Nor were any of the 3 wasted half days at home, the hassle or the stress. The fix took 30 seconds. The whole process must have cost TalkTalk many wasted man-hours at who knows what price.
After a week or so of re-gaining my composure, I may contact retentions by online chat to discuss the matter of compensation for failed visits and call-backs. In the meantime I’ll determine whether the new mandatory compensation scheme to be imposed by Ofcom on ISPs and Openeach for missed appointments has come into force yet.