A while back an elderly friend asked to check over her PC to make it was running ok and to deal with an update message from Zone Alarm.
I eventually found time to go round this afternoon, I’d asked her to switch it all on in the morning so it would have done any updates & checks.
When I got there she said she couldn’t get to email. A quick look told me the router (Talk Talk supplied D-Link) didn’t appear to be switched on as there were no lights visible. In fact the router was switched, powering it down and up produced a red power light initially, then it went green and polled the LAN ports, then power light went back to red and stayed there. No other lights were on. I popped back home to get my spare Netgear DG834, connected it up, within 30 seconds or so the internet was connected and the PC was happy. Clearly the D-Link router had failed. The PC now started to download the latest batch of Windows update.
I said that she needs to ring Talk Talk to arrange for a new router. She asked me if I’d do that, “Of course” I replied. She has both phone & BB from Talk Talk.
I’ve never had dealing with Talk Talk support before, though I’d heard much, mostly not good. Anyway I rang them on the broadband land line after eventually getting to a human being I explained very clearly the problem, and also that a replacement router was working fine. After making me re-coonect the D-Link router (the downloads had finished and the updates were being installed by now), the call handler took me through a series of diagnostics, which were a waste of time as there was no way the router was visible on the line. During the call he also asked me at least 4 times if I was talking on the Talk Talk provided land line – huh!
After 30-40 minutes he said they needed to run some diagnostics on the line - he wouldn’t, or more likely couldn’t according to the script, accept that there was no line problem, no cable problem, no PC problem. He said we had 3 choices: 1) To call them back within the next 24 hours, but after 20 minutes, to progress the call. We would have to ring them on a mobile in case they needed to do more line tests (what!). 2) They could call us back sometime in the next 24 hours, or 3) They could send an engineer – chargeable – to investigate. I said there was no way we’d pay for an engineer, and I wasn’t prepared to stay around there for 24 hours awaiting their call, so it would have to be a mobile call. He promised that all the call details would be available to the call handler that picked up the call.
So 25-30 minutes later I rang them on a mobile. After the same set of automated questions I eventually got through to a human being, not surprisingly a different one. After going through the preamble, she insisted on going through various checks, and trying to find the results of the line tests that had supposedly been done. I pointed out, they should be immediately available and should be showing the next steps to follow, but no, she had to follow a specific course of action, much of which was asking the same questions as the previous call handler and doing the same checks. She then put me on hold and I had the delights of 4-5 minutes of hold music. Then silence. We’d been cut off.
Start all over again. Again a different call handler. After 20-30 minutes the call handler asked how many telephone sockets in the house. There are 2, the PC is connected to an extension socket. The master socket, an Openreach NTE5, is too far and inconvenient to be able to run a cable to it. He then said that I had to do that or they couldn’t take the problem and further.
I have to admit that my ire was rising and at this point I’d had enough. I said in no uncertain terms – though never rudely – that they clearly were only interested in losing customers, with in the end loses them their jobs. I then insisted on speaking to a manager. The call handler had to speak to the account holder for this, and to ask security questions, which had already been asked. After another 10 minutes she was put on hold while – we hoped - the manager was briefed.
When the manager came on the line and introduced himself, he was very apologetic and said he would immediately arrange for a new router to be sent. So a 1 minute conversation with a manager gave the result we wanted some 2 hours earlier. But the hindrance, obfuscation, and plain unhelpfulness of the call handlers and their process made us very sure that she had to get away from Talk Talk – the best way to do that will be a separate post .
Of course I realise that they have to check that someone isn’t pulling a fast one to get a free router, but the sheer had work, the emotional pain that we had to endure, the time we had to spend on it – never mind the time of the Talk Talk staff – was completely over the top.
I don’t know if this is typical of Talk Talk or whether we were unlucky, but it’s an appalling indictment of the lack of Customer Care, and the atrocious Customer Service, we received this afternoon from one of the largest ISPs.
My friend said afterwards that she couldn’t possible have followed the instructions that were being given, she have been lost. How on earth is a lay person supposed to cope in situations like this? I’m saddened that having spent nearly 50 years in the computer business, the industry has become as uncaring as this.
Rant over. Thoughts and comments welcome.