Friday, 17 August 2012

Getting an engineer out is a matter of luck now?

Well, we are having fun with BT plc this week.

For a start, a gig fibre for our broadband service broke on Monday morning. Even though these things are on like a 4 hour service level guarantee, and damn expensive things, it is still not fixed, and we are now going in to the weekend. The excuses are various, and it seems BT plc are not talking to BT plc, and confusing BT plc with BT plc when talking about "supplier" and "customer" in emails to the extent that they even had us go to London to check power on a BT plc box that was not even the box they had power alarms on (it was a box in the exchange). Once again we face the farce that is corporate schizophrenia where BT plc acts like it was separate companies that won't talk to each other to the severe detriment of their customer.

We also had more of this on broadband lines where BT plc would tell us that they were not sure of the service level agreement (target fix time) for BT plc asking BT plc to send someone to an exchange to fix a problem. We pointed out that we know the answer - which is that BT plc has an SLA with *us* which is 40 hours, and they breached that, so why are they confused as to what the SLA is. The people they are asking to go to the exchange are BT plc and they already have a contract with us that states the SLA.

And finally, we have a new fiasco. When we report a fault, more often than not BT plc will immediately tell us there is no fault and would we like to book one of their expensive engineers to fix our wiring? However, we have a case at present with a couple lines that are very broken. We know the lines are broken as there is a third line that is fine, and swapping kit shows the issue stays with the faulty lines. Various new equipment tried shows this as well. What is odd is that BT plc recognise there is a fault as they did not immediately send back asking us to buy an engineer. Instead they sat on it for a couple of days doing diagnostics (yes, I can say 40 hour SLA). They finally decide an engineer is needed (we told them that already) and can send one middle of next week! So we escalate the issue, as we can, and they take all day to answer finally saying they still cannot get another appointment, so we escalate again, but now the control for engineers is closed so they won't do a damn thing until Monday to even try and get the engineer out.

What is worse is that the final email on this today talks of getting an engineer out sooner if we are "lucky". So it has come to this - engineers going out in any sensible time frame is no longer a matter of contracts or service level agreements, it is down to luck!!!

I am sure that once upon a time they were way more accountable.

Update: BT finally changed a card in the NTE for our fibre Saturday, and looks like they have fixed it. Thats 5 days for a 4 hour fix for a fault that was in their kit, and one wasted trip to London by one of my staff.

9 comments:

  1. All BT engineers are probably rushing around doing installs in the two week window between the $lympics which were/will be on hold due to network freezes/road-digging-up-moratoria/etc. Panicking about SLAs for installs where each day late is a month's free service, they probably care less about existing customer circuits. A new dimension of network congestion or denial of service. :(

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    1. if only - I remember the days of a months rental for each day late - they don't do that any more. Shame. They did rush when that happened.

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    2. Yes, it's a shame those kinds of SLAs have gone. I think they still offer that kind of service for "special" customers of theirs — for example, when dealing with links belonging to a client of mine we always get put through to the bit of BT that deals with MoD accounts even though the building was disposed of years ago. It's a magical address to quote for installations ;)

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  2. Would you have grounds to take them to court for breech of contract?

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    1. So many times, I am sure. But suing you major supplier is fun (I have sued BT).

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  3. I reckon you can fix this by talking to BT plc. The problem is that you need to find the right part of BT plc to talk to. Sadly that part of BT plc is legendary (in the fantastical, mythical sense, rather than the "zOMG!!!!111eleven amazeballs" sense) and those that claim to have seen it are either gibbering idiots or liars.

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  4. Just reading the update - since the fault was actually in their equipment and not yours, are you able to charge for your "engineer" visit?

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    1. I'd like to hopeso, BT plc would if the shoe was on the other foot.

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  5. When I have had one link in the pair down, and asked about SLAs, they explain that because they deliver two circuits for redundancy, and one was up, then the SLA is irrelevant.

    However, did have one interesting event recently. IPStream circuit with Enhanced Care went down, so we logged a fault and booked an engineer for the next day. However, one hour later, an engineer calls me, says he is on the case, goes to the exchange, goes to the end user, and within three hours of the fault being logged, it is fixed.

    I expect he has been sacked for being too efficient?

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