Wednesday, 24 June 2015

BT Account Managers

It must be a hard job in some ways - an account manager to A&A.

In principle, it should largely be about selling us stuff - that is what account managers do in a lot of companies - making sure that their client / customer is buying all the things that they could be.

But there is the customer care side - handling things that are not working right and trying to improve the partnership or business relationship. In the long run that can mean selling more stuff as well, obviously.

Sadly, one of the things we can be sure of with BT is a regular change of account manager, usually once a year but sometimes the break more often.

We have had some really good account managers in the past, Ian was especially proactive and really took on the challenge of trying to actually get A&A and BT working together. He also played WoW.

Sadly, there have been a few that are a bit more mediocre, and a couple really appalling account managers, sorry. Don't get me wrong, they are all nice enough. Usually we get to meet them - but that is part of the issue - the level of engagement various year to year. At some points in the past we have had a long period with no account manager. That was fun as the stock answer to anything complex is to "ask you account manager", and front line people and managers have no reply when we said "we don't have one".

In one case we have had a "desk based account manager" - who we never met and sometimes answered emails. More recently we had another good account manager, Martin, who spend months coming in every week to try and finally resolve ongoing billing issues (mostly SFI disputes) and managed to get a lot sorted.

Sadly, not all can be praised, and I won't point fingers. Sadly some are very poor at engaging with us, meeting us, or even answering emails.

But that time has come again - a new account manager. We don't know how it will go, but if the first emails we have had are any clue, the answer may be badly.

Why ask an ISP if they have an "IP network". I mean, really? Did something not go well in the handover from the last account manager, perhaps in the sense of not actually handing over any clue whatsoever about the client?

I suppose things can only get better. It is a shame BT cannot manage to have slightly longer term account management strategies. We really would like to work with BT on issues, and there are things we are actually trying quite hard to buy from BT and struggling to do so. We have issues that are not answered, let alone resolved, and go on for years and need handing over from one account manager to the next.

We'll just have to see how it goes. We'll do our bit and try and make this work well, honest. I assume other ISPs have much the same.

5 comments:

  1. I'm surprised that given your spend, you have a dedicated account manager - we spend a reasonable amount with a comms provider for our fixed line stuff, and have a named contact within their "Premier" team - but if he's not available his colleagues will step in and sort things.

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  2. I think we have shared BT account managers in the past. When they ask me to document any problems or issues as they 'have not heard of this issue before' I usually refer them to your blog and say read it and sort it. I must say for the last 2 years it seems to have worked !

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  3. Back when I worked for a startup, BT managed to cease all our lines (voice and DSL for the main office) because they screwed up, changed the billing address for the lines without notifying us, then sent bills to the wrong address, the bills went unanswered and they disconnected us for non-payment.
    A few months later they sent a new account manager to talk to us about switching back to them. We had a great time explaining to her why we would never consider buying service from them ever again, and why all our senior management would have the same policy at any future businesses they might run. I thought she took it pretty well.

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    1. Although I can sympathise a little, surely someone should have flagged something up when you didn't get your usual monthly bill from BT? especially in a start up?

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  4. As you know, Account Managers are coin operated. As someone who works as a technical 'account manager' their time is mostly spent where they think they can make their target quickest, and easiest! A customer who gives more than the average amount of 'problems' will likely be treated like a hot potato. It sounds like you need a customer services account manager, someone who is dedicated to managing the relationship in a post sales capacity (and in turn helps further sales) I'm not sure if BT has that kind of role. As a customer, I'm glad you have the capacity to beat up your suppliers, I'm just not sure the AM is the right person.

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