A few weeks ago I decided to change my internet provider as I was having intermittent problems with connection, as I don’t have terrestrial TV and I tend to watch movies on NOW TV and I also have the need to work from home and need a steady internet connection as my business uses a VOIP telephone connection.

I got the new fibre broadband from a reputable broadband provider not realising that they still rely on BT Open Reach to connect the fibre itself.  Let’s just say every barrier BT Open Reach could put in the way for me to get my broadband – they did. They took 3 weeks to come out to install fibre due to me living in a rural area (apparently), and I actually went without broadband for nearly 5 weeks, which to say the least was somewhat inconvenient.

Other blocks they put in the way were only being able to give a time of “morning between 8am and 1pm”, which meant leaving a message on the door to ring my mobile, as my Dad would need come to my rescue, as always, as he only lives 3 streets away.

BT Open Reach then connected the fibre without visiting the house (even though they’d told me to be in all morning) and said I would have super-fast broadband when I got home that evening. This was not the case and as it was Friday I couldn’t do anything about it until Monday. So I went another weekend without watching a film ….

We were then told that they did in fact need to visit the house to install a box. I asked for the box to be sent to the TI Accountancy offices so I could install it myself, this was not allowed and I had to wait another 10 days for the next available engineer.

As I was teaching a course in Birmingham that day, I again asked for them to ring 30 minutes before they got to my house so that my Dad could come to the rescue – again!! Apparently this is not general practice and took a lot of persuading to get this call.

Now I don’t tell you this to show you how naff BT Open Reach’s customer service is – I think the whole world already knows this, but I do tell you this to explain to you how easy it would have been for them to make the whole experience more pleasant for me.

Firstly, I know there was no fibre but they could have provided an alternative for the 3 weeks wait that was unavoidable.

Secondly, they could have given me updates throughout, to make me feel a more valued customer.

Thirdly, they could have informed the first engineer that my installation would need the “not so commonly used” box and to visit the house so I got my broadband on the first occasion.

Fourthly, they could have given my contact details to the engineer for him to ring when he was just finishing the previous job so we would know he was on his way and this would minimise his waiting time to get into the property.  This was done eventually but we really did have to push them and stress that people have lives and no-one has time to sit in for 5 hours waiting for a box to be plugged in.

Fifthly, if they had sent the box out with instructions of how to plug it in (it wasn’t hard) or even better, a link to video instructions that were mobile phone friendly so people could see if they had done it correctly.  This would not only have made sure I got my broadband sooner but it would also save the company money as when the video has been shot once it would not have to be done again until the boxes were changed.

BT Open Reach is a huge company and I am surprised that they do not have a team of people working on improving customer service. It is such a simple idea of “Doing the hard work to make the selling easy”.  If huge businesses are missing this point then I wonder how many small companies are too. 

  • Do you have any procedures in place that stop making it easy for the customer to buy from you?
  • Do you have an equivalent of the video that, if you did the hard work once, then you could push it out to all your clients without any further time required?
  • Do you regularly walk through your ‘customer journey’ in your own company, to make sure you are not missing out on ways to improve customer service?

Just a few things to think about.  The easiest way to find this out it to ask your existing clients, or even Mystery Shop your own business … if you’re brave enough.

Tracy x

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