Thursday, January 06, 2005

Help Lines and Call Centers

The BT Broadband experience is turning into a saga. But I am finally learning how to talk to people rather than remain in endless loops of computerized telephone systems. But even then the people I finally get to answer invariably work in the wrong department.

The good news of the day was that I finally managed to confirm that the defective microfilter will be replaced.

There really isn't any more good news. It turns out that BT broadband does not offer a mail out (SMTP) facility even though BT dial up does so we will now have to subscribe to one at £1.50 a month. This extra cost was never mentioned by the broadband sales team. Now I am wondering if the things they did tell me are likely to be true. And the bill for the mail out facility has to be paid separately from the broadband account. Does any of this make sense? No.

In general the poor folk who finally have to deal with my pent up rantings are great - it's a difficult life working a help line. But one of the reasons that customers get so steamed up is the incredibly difficult menu systems that are offered, followed by messages that inform that the company is very busy at the moment, so "please bear with us". And remember, BT is a telephone company - they ought to be way out in front when it comes to help lines and call centers.

Another aspect of life with BT is that they have their preferred software products, like Outlook Express, for example. So when your browser or mail program has a glitch they can claim they do not support your software. What they really mean, of course, is that their web designers generally only know Windows and Microsoft products and apparently do not test their sites on other products.