The Gamification of the BT Customer Service Experience
About a month ago we had BT Infinity and a BT Vision system installed in our home. The system is advertised as speeding up the Internet and providing an at least satisfying TV experience at home. I am playing the advert down here but so far not even this toned down description of the service offered by BT has come true. The Internet connection is as slow as it ever was and since its installation the connection has been “intermittent” as the various BT engineers who have visited us over the past few weeks call it, and our phone line was not working consistently either.
To cut a long story short: since the installation of BT Infinity our service was unstable, the Internet connection came and went which makes working from home impossible and renders BT Vision pointless. Over the past three weeks I have spent several hours in the queue on the BT Customer Service system and spoke to several people in their call centres who kept on sending out engineers to our house. The latest part of the developments is why I even bother to write this post:
On Saturday morning our Broadband was down again and also we could not make any phone calls from our home phone. Luckily an engineer was working at a neighbour’s house and kindly came over to have a look. He even climbed up the pole on the street to check on the connection of the wire leading across to our house. All was in order and he suggested to call BT Customer Service to send out an engineer. BT was very efficient. An engineer was sent out to visit us on Tuesday morning.
On Tuesday morning the Broadband was offline for an hour or so but back on when the engineer arrived at about 10am. The engineer made changes to our BT Openreach socket in the house and worked for a little more than 2 hours to fix the problem by also checking the connection of the wire coming from the pole across the street to our house. In the end, he checked the line which was working but had a crackling noise. He could not identify the source of that noise and suggested to call BT Customer Service and ask them for an engineer to come out and check the fiber-optics connection in the cabinet at the bottom of the street. The engineer as well as the customer service person assured me that I would not have to stay at home another day and the engineer would not need to gain access to the house. Needless to say, the engineer came to our house the next morning and left a card saying that he was unable to complete the job because he could not gain access to our property. In the evening we had a call on our answer phone stating that a BT engineer had tried to visit our house to complete the job and asked to call 08001114567 to rearrange for the engineer to complete the job.
When calling BT Customer Service I was in a queue for about 30 minutes. I then spoke to a customer service assistant who said that our problem had nothing to do with them and he would put me through to the faults team. I explained to him various times that the faults team had visited us the previous morning and I had called him because BT had advised me to do so – to no avail. Another 30 minutes waiting in a queue later I spoke to a very nice lady from the faults team. I explained her the issue of the crackling sound in the line and that we had been visited by an engineer the previous morning who was unable to resolve the problem. She said this problem had nothing to do with the faults team but needed to be dealt with by the team in India who I could reach on 08001114567. She would try to put me through directly. I explained to her that for the past hour or so I had been in queues to the Helpdesk on that number and have spoken to someone who had put me through to her – to no avail.
The line played Mozart to calm my nerves and another 10 minutes later the lady came back on saying that the line to the Helpdesk was very busy but she would keep trying. She must have noticed that I was getting a bit restless as I said I was now at a point to close the case from my end because I did not want to spend more time on the phone. She strongly advised against this and argued that an engineer would have to come out to complete the job. She explained that by now I had reached Level 2 but if the case was closed without being resolved, i.e. if the problem would reoccur, I would have to start the process again at Level 1.
Obviously without knowing I had entered the new BT Customer Service Game. I do not know how many levels the game has and what the reward is when successfully completing the game. By this time I was getting restless which the lady must have picked up on as she quickly passed me on to another lady who obviously had no interest in our problem but her job was to get rid off restless and impatient customers. The conversation with her was relatively brief. She assured me that she had looked at our details, the problem now was resolved and the case closed. When I asked how this solution to the problem had come about considering moments earlier I was told by her colleague that an engineer would have to come out to our house, otherwise I would risk dropping back to Level 1 she said, “no, the problem is resolved and the case is closed”. In some way I was relieved because I could not wait to hang up but I did not trust that the lady had the expertise to now decide that our case was resolved. I told her that “I am not sure I trust you or BT” which made her laugh.
I guessed that making a BT Customer Service Assistant laugh on a Thursday evening at 21.30 was the ultimate price of the BT Customer Service Experience game. I thought I had reached Level 3 of the game and hopefully was ready now to receive a satisfying phone and broadband service from BT. However, I thought that considering I had taken 3 half days off work to let BT engineers in and spent numerous hours on the phone in queues and talking to customer service staff I would be eligible for some kind of compensation; I also thought a compensation for my time would be appropriate considering BT Customer Service keep on reminding callers that when an engineer finds a problem with a local telephone system rather than with BT equipment the customer is due to pay £99. So in turn I thought when the fault is with BT equipment and I have to take time off work it would only b fair to be compensated for that time. How wrong was I!
In closing the phone conversation with BT I asked the lady whether BT would compensate me in anyway for the time I had to spent with their staff and for the inconvenience they had caused me. The lady laughed once more and said, for a compensation inquiry you have to call the BT Billings Department on 0800 443311.
It looks I was mistaken after all. I still have not reached the top level of the BT Customer Service game. I am not sure though I am ready to call them again. The Gamification of the BT Customer Service Experience
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