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Standard User cheshire_man
(knowledge is power) Fri 22-Feb-13 19:40:49
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Talk Talk: A surreal phone call, or perhaps it’s normal…


[link to this post]
 
Apologies for this length tome, I need to get it off my chest.

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.

Groan.

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 grin.

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.

Tony
Standard User HTTP404
(learned) Fri 22-Feb-13 19:56:17
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Re: Talk Talk: A surreal phone call, or perhaps it’s normal…


[re: cheshire_man] [link to this post]
 
I’m saddened that having spent nearly 50 years in the computer business, the industry has become as uncaring as this.


This isn't the computer business - it's the very high volume, low margin ISP industry.

Sad to say, but an unfortunately large number of end users don't know or care what happens after they switch the power on.

I used to get fed up with BT's customer services asking how many lights were showing on the router and what colour they were. And yes, exactly the same questions when you phoned back to give an update.

ISP customer care is set to the lowest common denominator, and there never seems to be any allowance for customers who know what they are talking about.

TalkTalk have a particularly bad reputation - but they are by no means alone.

Edited by HTTP404 (Fri 22-Feb-13 19:59:48)

Standard User baby_frogmella
(experienced) Fri 22-Feb-13 20:02:21
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Re: Talk Talk: A surreal phone call, or perhaps it’s normal…


[re: cheshire_man] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by cheshire_man:
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'm afraid you made a huge mistake advising your friend that she needed to call TalkTalk. You would have saved a lot of time and agro by simply registering your friend on the TT forums and posting your request for a new router there. The UK-based support staff there are very helpful and live in a totally different world to their Manila/Delhi based counterparts. Consider this a lesson learnt smile

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Standard User baby_frogmella
(experienced) Fri 22-Feb-13 20:06:05
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Re: Talk Talk: A surreal phone call, or perhaps it’s normal…


[re: cheshire_man] [link to this post]
 
Also UK based high quality phone support costs money. Does anyone really think the likes of AAISP staff will work for New Delhi wages?

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Standard User 4M2
(fountain of knowledge) Fri 22-Feb-13 20:32:16
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Re: Talk Talk: A surreal phone call, or perhaps it’s normal…


[re: baby_frogmella] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by baby_frogmella:
Also UK based high quality phone support costs money. Does anyone really think the likes of AAISP staff will work for New Delhi wages?


What an absolutely ridiculous think to say - have you ever been to India?

The cost of living is much lower there and the disposable income of Indian support staff might, in real terms, be the equivalent of British AAISP support staff - the exception being, of course, imported goods and foreign travel could be far more expensive, in real terms, for Indian residents.

As for your other post: how could the lady have possibly found help from the TT forum if her router was bust and she hadn't had the help from the OP?
Standard User cheshire_man
(knowledge is power) Fri 22-Feb-13 21:56:40
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Re: Talk Talk: A surreal phone call, or perhaps it’s normal…


[re: 4M2] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by 4M2:
As for your other post: how could the lady have possibly found help from the TT forum if her router was bust and she hadn't had the help from the OP?
Indeed. But how is someone who's never heard of a forum and could easily find the prospect very daunting be expected both to know about them and to be able to use. them? It's all too easy to forget that users of this forum represent a minute percentage of BB users.

And, although I didn't mention it, her husband has a rare form of dementia so this sort of hassle is the last thing she wants.

Tony
Standard User cheshire_man
(knowledge is power) Fri 22-Feb-13 22:00:23
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Re: Talk Talk: A surreal phone call, or perhaps it’s normal…


[re: baby_frogmella] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by baby_frogmella:
In reply to a post by cheshire_man:
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'm afraid you made a huge mistake advising your friend that she needed to call TalkTalk. You would have saved a lot of time and agro by simply registering your friend on the TT forums and posting your request for a new router there. The UK-based support staff there are very helpful and live in a totally different world to their Manila/Delhi based counterparts. Consider this a lesson learnt smile
I cannot accepts that reply (condescending as it is). I, and she, followed the Talk Talk recommended support process as given in the documentation she had when Talk Talk took over the Tiscali service she'd had for several years.

Tony
Standard User XRaySpeX
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Fri 22-Feb-13 22:08:09
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Re: Talk Talk: A surreal phone call, or perhaps it’s normal…


[re: baby_frogmella] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by baby_frogmella:
I'm afraid you made a huge mistake advising your friend that she needed to call TalkTalk. You would have saved a lot of time and agro by simply registering your friend on the TT forums and posting your request for a new router there.
That's a cop-out! Any ISP ought to be geared up to handle things on on the phone, particularly for the majority of users who will not be computer-literate. Any online support should be icing on the cake, not the primary support route.

The only lesson learnt is how abysmal TT's support is. Sadly they are not alone in the industry that is only one that prides itself on how minimal customer support it can get away with. Even banking is superior.

1999: Freeserve 48K Dial-Up => 2005: Wanadoo 1 Meg BB => 2007: Orange 2 Meg BB => 2008: Orange 8 Meg LLU => 2010: Orange 16 Meg LLU => 2011: Orange 19 Meg WBC
Standard User HTTP404
(learned) Fri 22-Feb-13 22:17:45
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Re: Talk Talk: A surreal phone call, or perhaps it’s normal…


[re: 4M2] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by 4M2:
What an absolutely ridiculous think to say - have you ever been to India?

The cost of living is much lower there and the disposable income of Indian support staff might, in real terms, be the equivalent of British AAISP support staff .....


An equally ridiculous thing to say.

Yes the cost of living in India is lower than in the UK - so the average wage in India is less than the UK.

But if those jobs were brought back to the UK you would have to pay UK wages - not the level of wages in India.

Real money not comparative money.

Moving support back to the UK is an option that is way too expensive for many large organisations to contemplate - no matter how much their users think it is a good idea.

Edited by HTTP404 (Fri 22-Feb-13 22:22:35)

Standard User 4M2
(fountain of knowledge) Fri 22-Feb-13 22:56:19
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Re: Talk Talk: A surreal phone call, or perhaps it’s normal…


[re: HTTP404] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by HTTP404:
Real money not comparative money.


Surely we have to speak in terms of local economies: wages in India and wages in the UK may have the same value in real terms locally. When I travelled through the sub-continent and China several times a few years ago I could buy a cup of tea for a few pence where-as in the UK a cup of tea might cost 20x more; a train journey, 2nd class sleeper, covering several hundred miles was less than £10.

Just because the comparative value of wages, in terms of exchange rates, is different that certainly doesn't imply a lower quality service? If the service is of a lower quality overseas then I don't blame the locals, rather I blame the organisations that use those overseas centres who perhaps economise and instruct the staff to provide a service that is of the absolute "scripted" minimum.

Edited by 4M2 (Fri 22-Feb-13 23:05:42)

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