As my regular readers will know, I use the internet "quite a lot", in fact I'm usually on line 70% of my waking life. I tweet a fair bit (a modest assessement of my volume of tweeting), I email, I use facebook, I Skype, I blog, I don't own a Tv, instead when I do watch programmes, I do so on line.
So having a good internet connection is rather important to me, which is why I chose to pay Virgin Media for a service which provides 50mb download speeds.
You'd think that would ensure that I wouldn't have any issues in my having constant quality access to the internet, wouldn't you? Well that was my expectation; however it's not always
the case. "Up to", (to be accurate) should contain almost the speed that it declares it's "up to", i.e- I expect to have speeds which include 49 mb, at least
The reality is different though; I've tested my download speed on quite a few occasions and the fastest I've seen is about 28mg (Average is about 15 mg).
But that's what happens in life so often, we have expectations and the reality falls short. I've resigned myself to slower internet speeds than advertised, that are inaccurate, misleading and they certainly appear to violate The Trade Descriptions Act.
For example, if I bought a jug that measures liquids “up to” 1 litre and it could only hold 1 pint, I wouldn't be satisfied with it. Why? Because it is simply not as it was described, it is not fit for purpose, and I would be well within my rights to request my money back.
So on Sunday afternoon, when I wanted to watch “Have I Got News For You” on BBC iplayer, and wasn’t able to due to “insufficient download speeds” I tweeted @VirginMedia to express my concerns that I’m not getting what I paid for.
We’ve had a few tweets backwards & forward and it’s been suggested that I ring Virgin Media. I won’t. Why? Because I’ve done it in the past, and each time I’ve had to search for the number on their website (not easy to find) because they expect their customers to have Virgin phones (either land line or mobile) which I don’t have. Then when I do ring, I have to pay for the privilege of being on hold for 10-15 minutes before I get to speak to a human being, and that's after I’ve gone through a series of menus, and them asking me for a reference number that I can never seem to find on my bill.
Paying for a call isn’t such a big deal, but it’s not standard land line rates, if it were I wouldn’t mind, I’d just be able to make the call through my Skype package, which allows me to call unlimited land lines numbers worldwide for under £10 per month. (That’s the reason I don’t have a Virgin phone, I simply don’t need it).
So I suggest nicely to the person tweeting from @VirginMedia that getting someone to ring me to help me would be good customer service. It’s suggested that I ring them first. I say I’ve already done that in the past, I don’t wish to pay for being on hold for 10-15mins, or waste that amount of my life on chasing a company that has issues providing me with the service they promised.
Then I’m tweeted a link to an online form, which needs to be completed before anyone can call me.
I look at the questions, and I decide I really don’t want to spend the amount of time it'll take to complete the form on this issue. I tweet again about someone ringing me. I’m then told it’s not safe for me to send my number to them via twitter. I feel a little bit irked at this point; having someone chose for me what method is safe, or not safe. The number I can give them is a publicly known number and it’s on my website. I agree that DMs on twitter are not 100% safe, and I warn clients of the same, however this is MY information and should I chose to send it, that’s my choice.
I’m asked again to fill in the form, so they have all the details they need to get the right person on the case, that they’re confident they can resolve this for me. I was asked a third time, to which I responded that it felt very much like they weren't listening to me at all.
They could have rang me this morning & got the details they needed in under 60 seconds verbally. The “right person” could have rung me back by now.
My customer service issue could have been resolved already and it’s not. Why? Because Virgin Media haven’t quite got the hang of understanding that it’s really a good idea to communicate with the customer through the medium in which the CUSTOMER finds most convenient.
I even tweeted about it earlier: #Twip allow your customers to contact you by the method that is convenient to THEM, not you!
I’m now being stubborn, refusing to complete the form, or ring them. I have the luxury of doing so because I do have internet connection, albeit slower than I’ve paid for.
It’s annoying though. I love the Virgin brand, I researched a lot before going with VirginMedia broadband, and although when I have gotten through to customer service I have received some great service, getting through is a huge hassle for me that I’d rather not experience. (NB: I have also received some atrocious customer service once I’ve gotten through on the phone too.)
I don’t want this to be a Virgin Media bashing blog post, but I do want to highlight something that is relatively simple- TELEPHONING your customer when they have requested it, is probably a good idea, if you consider customer satisfaction a priority.
Having a social media presence, and using it is a good thing. It would be even better if it were to be used to listen to what the customer wants.
Am I being unreasonable asking for Virgin Media to call me?
I’d genuinely love to hear what you think, because I am aware that do have a bit of a stubborn streak in me, and maybe I’m being a bit unreasonable in this situation, just to make a point?