Plagiarism is a heinous crime for any journalist, so I will openly admit that I have taken my cue for this rant from a column that appeared in a national newspaper under the heading ‘How BT turned me into a homicidal xenophobe’.
I couldn’t have put it better myself.
Call centres always send my blood pressure soaring, and if any call centre is going to send me to an early grave and put the final nail in my coffin it is one based in India and run by BT.
The author of the piece about BT was Simon Kelner (incidentally a former KM Group journalist). Describing how he was at the end of his tether when attempting to place an order for broadband, Simon wrote: “I was quickly on first-name terms with Gurinder and Rajpal but they were completely ineffectual – and, I’m afraid, the whole experience brings out the xenophobe in the best of us. Give me someone in Mansfield rather than Madras, I found myself wishing.”
Been there, done that, Simon. I’ve ranted before in this column about being driven to despair by polite gentlemen in downtown Bombay, or somewhere similar, who are simply unable to grasp what you are saying.
My latest life-threatening encounter with BT’s Indian call centre was just after Christmas. I decided to upgrade my broadband but cancelled the order soon afterwards because I thought I was being charged too much.
Inevitably, BT fouled it up. Despite receiving an email confirming the cancellation, some of the charges for an upgraded broadband service I didn’t want appeared on my next bill.
My heart sank as I found my complaint call being transferred to India.
There were long silences as Gurinder or maybe Rajpal “studied” my bill. There were more long silences after each question I asked.
Finally, I was asked: “So you want a new router Mr Jones?”
“No,” I replied. “I do not want a new router. I want a refund. I have already explained that to you.”
Another long silence.
“Ok, Mr Jones, I will definitely arrange a refund.”
When dealing with BT’s Indian call centre the word “definitely” usually means that what will happen is the exact opposite of what has been requested, so I awaited the next development with trepidation.
Predictably, he didn’t arrange for a refund.
I have long since given up complaining directly to BT’s helpline numbers when they mess something up.
BT’s best-kept secret is a web-based organisation called BT Care, which is accessed online via a chatroom called the BT Community Forum. Either rant at great length on the Forum, or send an email direct to BT Care.
Either way, one of BT’s first-rate team of troubleshooters (they call themselves moderators) will soon be on your case and sort your problem in double-quick time, which Robbie, based in Northern Ireland duly did.
With technology, BT is world-class. With routine admin, it is rubbish.
So why do I stick with BT? Am I a glutton for punishment? Despite the occasional stressful experience, I stick with BT because its broadband is among the best. And the valuable lesson I have learned from all my stressful experiences is that head-on confrontation with the BT monolith gets you nowhere. Attacking from the flanks, via the BT Community Forum, usually ensures that David will triumph over Goliath.