Why can it be so hard to get online ? Updated 26th September


I had a call from a client saying that they were getting BT Broadband installed and could Hightrees give them a hand setting it up.  They had received their Home Hub and confirmation that the service was activated and live on 17th July – a nice simple job that would only take 30 minutes tops – how wrong can you be !

Saturday 19th July

The Home hub was plugged in and all powered up, but no there was no active connection.  The phone line was working, everything was plugged in the right places, login details seemed correct, just no ADSL service.

A call to BT Technical support led to the normal round of “Have you done….” questions” and the taking apart of BT faceplate to get to the Test socket, before Tech Support discover that, despite the written confirmation, there is no active ADSL service on that line ! This issue needs to be passed to Order Management who are not available after 6pm, so please call them on Monday

Time so far – 1.5 hours

Monday 22nd July 8:00am

Call to Order Management – despite have a Reference Number, the address and phone number, oh and the clients name, they wouldn’t talk directly to me.  So back to Tech Support, who could reference the notes from the weekend and then transferred me back  Order Management who would then talk to me.  Apparently, despite the written confirmation of an active service, this was not the case and it would be fast tracked, so within 24-48 hours the ADSL service would be activated.

Time : 45 minutes

We let the client know that the problem was being sorted, and to await confirmation from BT that everything was in hand.

Monday 22nd July : 15:00

Panic from the client as they had just received an email from BT saying that their Broadband had been cancelled – which is quite impressive as service hadn’t even started !Another call to BT to find out what was going – it turns out the email was sent in error, don’t panic, the broadband service will be activated.

Time : 40 minutes

Client receives confirmation that the service will be activated but not until 1st August, quickly followed by no, sorry the 2nd August.

2nd August – No service

6th August – Call from Client –  still no service, could Hightrees help get to the bottom of the problem ?

Armed with a large cup of tea, we duly started the “Get through to the right person”

Technical Support Department – Confirmation that there is no active service on the number and no ADSL product as it had been cancelled.  OpenReach were investigating an issue of incompatible services on the line.  I confirmed that there were no alarms, medical alert at the premises so any incompatible equipment must be on the BT side.  And it also raised the question –  if there is no order, why would engineers be working on a problem?)

But to get any further, you need to talk to Operations……very helpful again but no resolution !

Operations Department – explain the issue again – why has the order been cancelled, yet engineers are apparently working on a problem ?  Why has the customer not been updated ?  It transpires that there was a problem with the internal process and because the order wasn’t picked up it auto cancels !  Whilst the lady I spoke to was very helpful, I needed to talk to Order Management to get this resolved.

Order Management Department – gave the full run down again as well as all relevant references I had been given.  Got a confirmation that this was entirely an internal c*ck up and that within 48 hours the service will be online – guaranteed.  Quite a big statement, but assurances were given that by the weekend everything will be up and running.

Whilst we understand the need for feedback to try and improve Customer Service, after being on the phone for 1 hour and 13 minutes, after having been bounced through 3 different departments and having to repeat the same information, asking for feedback is probably not a wisest choice for ending a conversation !  Again, whilst the lady was very helpful, it didn’t actually resolve the problem, it just confirmed this was entirely an internal BT Issue with the customer being left in the dark without a clear, non technical explanation as to the problems and why there is still no service.

Time : 1 hour 13 minutes

Comment : Rural locations do have problems with getting a decent broadband service – one of the joys of living in the country and we fully accept that.  But Hightrees know of at least three other properties who had the same saga with BT to get their Broadband installed, to then be told after a considerable period of time, the phone line won’t support it and there is no capacity for a brand new line to be put in. Mobile phone service is at best 2g so that doesn’t offer a realistic alternative.

Monday 12th August – still no service – guess it will be another long winded telephone trip round the BT departments to get some answers !

Update : Well @BTCare picked up my tweet and read the blog and sent a form for submitting – no reply to date (13th August)

Monday 13th August

Another call to BT, reference number given and was told that the ETA for ADSL is the 20th.

Got the standard “the order failed and we need to progress it”  script, until it was pointed out that this was already known & the failure was initially caused by an Internal BT Process error, before an actual technical problem with line activation cropped up.

When pushed on what the actual problem is, apparently it is still under investigation and the report is not due till the 14th August !  Client and Hightrees expecting a call tomorrow by 6pm to explain :

a) What the problem is, in a clear, concise non technical way

b) What is going to be done to fix the problem

c) A realistic activation date

Time :  37 minutes

Update 22nd August

Well, no call from BT to Hightrees to explain what the situation is as promised.  One email sent to the client saying service by 20th, followed by another saying the 27th August.

No update on the Twitter Incident raised (as request by BT)

Guess it will be another long protracted call to try and get the next set of broken promises…..

22nd August 10:51am

Well guess what, BT tried to “jam” the order through the system and it failed, hence the revised date of the 27th August.

Apparently the “incompatible devices” on the line were incorrect TAGs which have apparently been rectified and the order has once again been re-submitted to the system  Another 48 hours (human time not automated so may be longer!) waiting to see if the order is accepted ! Provisional activation date now moved to the 30th August.

So far it appears that any “technical” issues with the line and getting ADSL activated have all been generated by BT order processing or internal “process” errors !

Time : 20 minutes

30th August 10:50am

Checked with the client that no information or service had been received before chasing this up.

This is now waiting upon an update from the “Engineers” which is due later today.  The problem (or should that be latest excuse) has now moved to “BT needing to do works”  before the “system” will accept the order, and the client is due to be contacted Monday or Tuesday next week.

Funnily enough,  still no update to the Twitter Incident ticket raised back on the 13th August

Comment : Whilst the BT staff appear to be very helpful and understanding, I don’t think they quite grasp a few things :

“There is a problem with your line or a device on it” – to an older/non technical customer, this implies they have done something wrong which isn’t the case and one of the reasons why we were asked to help get this matter sorted.

Moving the goal posts – if there is a technical problem that needs resolution stop making promises you can’t keep, i.e “don’t worry within 48 hours it will be sorted” , say “Sorry, it is a problem with our (i.e BT) equipment, we need to work on it before we can give you a realistic activation date.”

Time : 21 minutes

2nd September

via email to client

The Order I placed on Saturday 31.8.2013, failed to go through. Looking at your Account, I see you spoke to my colleague earlier today.

I’m sorry for the delay in getting your Broadband Service up and running. I’ve passed this to a dedicated team who are personally looking into this for you and they will update me by Thursday 5 September as to what action is going to be taken. Once I get this information, I will let you know.

6th September

via email to client

We’re sorry you no longer need your BT equipment.

If you’ve already sent your equipment back to us, or if you’ve arranged a free collection, you can ignore this email.

No cancellation by the client so they are extremely confused (as well as frustrated), could I ring BT again and try to get to the bottom of it

After speaking to BT on the telephone, breaks down as :

Once more it is automated email that is sent out, and the order hasn’t been cancelled

There is no update on the previously mentioned updates from the “Engineers”

“No you can’t be transferred to the Offline team”, “yes they can ring you”, “will that be today ?”,” Yes, within 48 hours !”

The conversation had to be ended there as there was a lack of patience and to be honest there are only so many times you can hear the same old story over and over again.

Comment : Automated processes can save  lot of time and effort, but in this case, with whatever technical difficulties are being encountered, why can this not be processed manually once the “system” is a state that will actually accept and process the order correctly, instead of all these confusing emails and broken promises to say “you will be activated in 48 hours”, followed by “Your order is cancelled”, followed by “Return your equipment” and then having to chase to get the actual situation ?

Not holding my breath on a call back, as the Twitter Incident is still open and there has been no response to that either !

12th September – Update from client – they’ve had enough, they are returning the BT equipment and are contacting their local MP to take the matter further !

26th September – The final update from BT to the Client!

I’m so sorry we cannot deliver our ‘Broadband’ Service to your Address. Believe me, we have tried everything to try and get you connected, but its just not possible.

and still no response to the Twitter incident that was raised either….