Virgin on the Ridiculous – Part II

NOW, here comes the twist in the tail….

Coming back home from a trip to town and I realise something funny – the cable has gone! – It turns out that the flat block has various terms and conditions – so along comes the Property Maintenance guy, takes one look at the cable buried beneath the lawn, over the path and attached to the wall – decides he doesn’t approve and cuts and up-roots the cable taking with it my 7 day old Cable TV, Internet and Phone Line connection!

16th July : Back on the phone to Virgin to alert them to the problem, who state that they should have historic permission as another flat in the complex already has Virgin installed. There is some debate on whether cutting the cable was the right thing to do. I ask that Virgin give my property maintenance (pm) guy a call to discuss their differences.

The nice lady does that and phones me back, saying that clearly it isnt cut and dried and yes some further permission looks to be needed. She says that she will arrange a site visit by an area manager and the PM guy. This looks to be promising. She books a re-install date at the end of the following week just to be on the safe side, but assures me it shouldnt take that long.

20th July: Haven’t heard anything from Virgin, so ring for an update – only to be told that they’ve changed their mind and they feel they dont need the meetings anymore, they’ll go ahead with the install – I demonstrate that this perhaps isnt the best thing and may result in more cutting or un-rest. As the nice lady is due on Holiday she says she’ll hand it over to her Manager.
My Twitter Contact also appears to be on holiday so no response there either.

23rd July
: No update after the weekend, so another email poke to my twitter contact – again, more apologies back to say sorry .. and hopefully clarity by the end of the day…

26th July: It’s supposed to be re-install day tomorrow but haven’t heard anything about any visits, nor has the PM guy. PM guy is insistent that he doesn’t want the install to take place without some prior discussion.
AM : I receive an email back from my twitter contact saying she’s escalated to the ‘Operations Director and CEO Field Escalations” – am impressed – hopefully we should get somewhere now! – an answer is due back by the end of the day.

5PM I ring Virgin to ask for an update as its no point coming out to do the re-install, and was told “they have all the tools and permission they need” by the Indian Call Centre Guy, despite me assuring him this wasnt a standard installation.

27th July: I end up cancelling the visit which was due that morning, as there definitely hadn’t been any prior discussions, so the installation is pointless and wouldnt get us anywhere – I phone the Call Centre again to cancel, where the call centre guy says “when would you like the next appointment” to which I retort “I was hoping you could tell me that”

Once again call the construction department and find yet another nice lady who sympathises, but can find no record of an “Operations Director and CEO Field Escalations” being involved at all ! – she says she will see what she can do and will call me back at the end of the day ..

What’s annoying about this whole disaster is engagement – or the lack of it.  Virgin will not give you any personal telephone numbers or email addresses, so it’s virtually impossible to speak to the same person twice. There is no direct phone number through to a customer care department to deal with complaints – you have to make a complaint through the team you’re dealing with.

In my case the Installation team don’t seem to want to manage it – even if you ask to speak to a manager – because the person that they are depending on doesn’t work in their team they have no ‘control’ over him.

The Social Media Team looked to be promising to begin with, but other than issuing empathy they have’nt been able to leverage anything out of the situation, and I fear they have now got fed up of my pleading for some sort of assistance that they have now given up replying via twitter/email

All that I need is for someone within the company to acknowledge that there is a problem here that needs help from various departments within their organisation and MANAGE that through to resolution.

28th July : No update from previous day – Tweet sent – with reply that my contact would reply asap.

30th July : No update. Another Tweet Sent.

2nd August : No update received pro actively from VM. Another email sent asking for an update.

4th August : Light at the end of the tunnel. It seems that Virgin actually are now meeting the Property Maintenance Rep and hopefully an amicable decision will be made as to the re-installation of the cable , the meeting is supposed to happen on Monday !

6th August : Great News, the meeting actually happened – and everyone is now happy – at last, the end result I really needed, but which seemed so hard to organise. Fingers crossed, they will be sending a team out tomorrow to carry out the re-installation to everyone’s standards.

7th August :  RECONNECTION SUCCESS !!

At last, we’ve go there, we appear to have got to a point where the installation has been completed, everything works, and I’m now happy (well ish!)

It’s just a shame that it’s been one hell of a big struggle, a struggle that I shouldn’t have had to drive. I’ve been really disappointed that no ownership appears to be fostered by any department within Virgin.   Everything would work wonderfully I expect if the issue was dealt with by one person on a single contact event – text book shall we say – but as soon as the issue encompasses more than one area, there is no single ownership, and you’re left to a big black hole mercy.

Some form of “back to the floor” exercise really needs to be carried out by Virgin Media Management !

Virgin on the Ridiculous

Oh, Hello David, yes, sounds interesting – I think I’ll sign up ..

Well, thats what happened on the 14th May. Well actually it would have happened sightly sooner had Virgin Media Sales team contacted me after my parents told them that I was interested in becoming a customer in my new flat.

I’ve moved into a block of flats, so obviously have to get the landlords permission to have the installation. The necessary information and forms are sent off and my order ‘completed’ on 22nd May – Wonderful what with Euro 2012, The Jubilee and Olympics coming up it’s going to be good to use Tivo and other such gadgets. The installation is due 2nd June – Damm I’m away that weekend, so it’s rescheduled to the 6th.

On the late afternoon of 5th June I got a phone call from Virgin Installations Department to say that they has discovered a “local construction issue” and my appointment was rescheduled for 15th, as they needed to get the local authorities permission to dig in a public highway.

15th June
As ever, Utilties companies like Virgin can only give you an approximate time window for engineer visits, so I had a 8am – 1pm slot booked. I waited all morning for an engineer who turned up at 12:20 to say “oh no cable” and left. “I told my managers that there didnt appear to be a pull-thru but he told me to come anyway” was his response. I then spent approx 2hrs trying to make a complaint through the 0845 customer number, but no one wanted to know, the best they could do was to give me another appointment in at least 10 days time (26th).

I did write a letter of complaint to their Swansea Complaint Centre on the 15th but it seems that went missing as I never had a reply. I was then promised an external engineer visit to do required groundworks on 20th, which I received a call from an engineer during that morning to say he was outside my flat and the works were underway – At last – Could we be getting somehwere?!! Upon my return from work I thought something was strange as I couldn’t any fresh tarmac or new cable/box, but put this thought to the back of my head.

I phoned the Installation team on 24th June to ensure everything was on track, the agent assured me it was. I then got a phone call at 15:00 on 25th June to say the installation was not possible due to construction issue,so the appointment has been moved to the 6th July. I could really start to feel my blood boiling. I then spent 2 hours attempting to speak to a manager to get some management and co-ordination of the issue, as it seemed the people that do the street work operate as a separate unit to the installation engineers – and were clearly out of sync!

The infurating thing is, that you have to be onsite to wait for the engineers, so as I cant work from home as I have no wireless/internet connection I have to arrange a day off work. Cancelling appointments so late in the day makes it impossible for me to cancel this days holiday with my employer as cover will have been arranged etc

29th June I have spent another hour requesting to speak to a manager who can co-ordinate this issue and ensure that whatever the construction issue is that it is addressed, after all Virgin have known about it from the 6th June. I was told that the only thing I can do is to call the afternoon before the install to find out – but this is a situation I have been in three times previously! – therefore I have now had 4 days off wasted (at financial loss to me), and as I have no phone line in my flat, added on top of this all of my correspondence has been carried out on a mobile phone which has also mounted up to great expense. I’ve been told today that the customer service team don’t deal with construction issue as its technical and specialised, only to be then told by the installation and construction team that they don’t take complaints/escalations and I need to speak to customer services. Only then to be told as I haven’t actually started paying for anything yet, I’m not classed as a customer and can only make a complaint in writing, which as I said would be too late for my situation.

I decided to Tweet about my experiences on the 29th June, which strangely has actually managed to engage a member of the social media team, who has promised to look into my issue and help as much as she can..

6th July
I’ve been given an afternoon window (1pm – 6pm), so here we go again, sit and wait. Things start again not to look promising, it gets to 4.30pm and I decide with great interpretation that i’m going to have to phone Virgin again. The team are running late it appears, but they’ll be out i’m assured.

Well, 6.40pm and the engineers finally turn up, full of woe as apparently this is extra work, after 6pm of which they don’t get paid – plenty of other moans about being given too many jobs etc follow, I’m keeping quiet and independent, as long as the install is complete thats all I’m worried about.

Firstly the neighbours take great interest as the cable appears to have to come diagonally across the front lawn (I dont work for Gardeners World is one of the engineers comment), a trench is dug and drilling through external walls sends dust flying everywhere – But it will all be worth it no doubt at the end.

Here comes a dodgy bit – The cable will have to cross a concrete path that is between my flat’s external wall, and the lawn that they’ve just dug across, “We’ll place an urgent job in with our construction guys to get the cable buried” the engineer says when I point out that it is a path that people walk over so it’s got to be left in a safe condition. The other engineer suggests using a big green tube, but the first engineer decides to tack it to the path with some wall fixings.

But we’ve finally got here, It’s working – I’ve got nice telly, Wireless – A PHONE !!!