Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Incorrect weather

NOT the customer's picture of their site :-)
You can't make this shit up.

I often wonder if there is mileage in a TV show based on our office - can't be worse than one based on people that make motor cycles.

Today, as is usual, Shaun (our escalations manager) is on the phone to our favourite telco, BT plc. It is quite normal that he is getting "assertive" with them. I phrase that as such because he has had years of practice and has been on proper telephone techniques and assertiveness courses and really does it well. One such course was run by BT I think.

So, he is cross that BT stated that an engineer had been assigned to the job and would be on site at the customer by 11am. The poor customer having driven 500 miles or so to be on-site for an engineer yesterday had decided to stay over to wait for the job to be finished today. I do feel sorry for customers when shit like this happens.

By now Shaun was on the phone for a long time, escalating from one person to the next as each told him lies or spoke over him, etc.

The excuse, initially, was that the engineer missed the 11am deadline because of "incorrect weather".

Seriously! I would not have been as calm as Shaun after that.

After a few levels of escalation, he was trying to get to the bottom of this, and they said it was "storms".

OK, storms, stopped an engineer getting to site - wow - well, there has been some bad weather in some places - that is possible. Well, we could all over hear Shaun, and we all did a double take at what he said next.

He explained, very calmly, that this customer had, on-site, on-line, an interactive weather station and camera showing clear skies, dry, 9 degrees, and very little wind. What storms?

You have to love customers like that. It almost rang my bullshit alarms, but I went to his desk and there on the screen are the on-line weather station stats for the customer's site. No bullshit at all.

The arses still did not send an engineer today, but that has to be the quickest and best answer I have seen to such a comment in my life. He has spent a lot of time on this, and I am sure the customer will get the "best" service we are able to get him for this. But well done.

Hats off to Shaun, and the customer, for that one.


  1. Probably the storms elsewhere, the damage from which the engineer was diverted to instead of keeping the appointment with the customer.

  2. I once asked one company for "an appointment that will be kept", after they kept failing to turn up. I later had to ask the same company to tell me when to call for the best chance of getting an appointment for another matter - and even when I did, I got the "no availability" excuse - but I countered "You've been open only five minutes. Surely nobody has snapped up all the availability for Monday (6 days later) already." - at that they actually bothered to look and were able to send someone out - someone who agreed with me that they could just have sent equipment instead. In the end I fell out with that company after they proved unable to repair or comparably replace an item I was renting from them. They later took several months to collect it and threatened to take action over unpaid rental. I told them I'd be charging them storage if they did.

  3. When I used to work for BT they had a phone number employees could call that was basically a "You're causing me personal embarrassment by giving shit service to someone I know" hotline. So you call the number and they put someone good on the case and it all gets sorted out.

    I have more sympathy for them than most people because they have so many customers, products and legacy back-end systems that even with everyone trying their absolute hardest (which they're not necessarily), there was a certain floor of customer dissatisfaction that was very hard to break through.

    The BT equivalent of Shaun, the team that unravelled the biggest fuckups, had decades of experience and reported directly to the group CEO. They can't afford to fill every call centre and engineering depot with people of that calibre - fortunately for A&A's business model.

    What are the official Wholesale / Openreach escalation processes like? Is your customer allowed to have a whinge to BT directly or does it have to be channelled through you?

    1. Short of liability for tort, or criminal damage, etc, our customers would not get anywhere dealing directly with BT. That is why we have a Shaun :-)