Monday, 20 April 2015


When you move house or office or anything like that a fair amount of disruption follows. For me the most intriguing thing has been the array of tradesmen who’ve been to call checking a variety of utilities, mending the broken and quoting eye watering sums for the potential beautification of the house.

All of them real craftsmen, impressively knowledgeable and attentive to our needs - including BT when they got here.  My concern about beastly BT is they’ve constructed an unwieldy and commercially crass structure until a real human being, the BT engineer comes to call. He was smart, assiduous and all is well - I’m back on line. But here’s the odd thing, the maddening thing - before he arrives I’m called by BT saying I can set myself up without an engineer (no I can’t and yes I know having an attack of rage so early in the morning can’t be good for me) and then even whilst he’s here I’m being texted to say he won’t be coming now for another two days. I show him this and he says “take no notice” and carries on working.

My dispassionate and utterly serious point to you BT is you cannot afford to carry on wasting time, money and talent doing the little stuff so badly. Please can I tell you how to solve the problem?

Be as big as you wish but behave as though you were small. When your customer interface parades your scale you are doomed. Thus with the banks. I bank with NatWest - I always have. At a branch level (yes I go to branches ever since being told by a banking friend that bankers never bank online - “are you insane?”) the service is brilliant, charming and helpful. Out there however beyond the phone, in the call centres life gets trickier. Thus with the retailers. Tesco suffered in part by seeming so huge. Wherever you went that 1970s logo reminded you that “every little helps”. Pretending to be little when they are really big and beastly. Thus with big government, it doesn’t work. Only small, can-do fix-it-it people can solve things.

It’s time to put human faces back into customer service like B&Q have done employing retirees who are D&Y fanatics and who really know what they are talking about.

And it’s time to break down the myth that big is better when it’s usually confused. In the case of BT left and right hands belong to completely different bodies. Imagine a left hand whom you don’t know and isn’t yours trying to blow your nose. My BT experience has been that bad.

Oh and it isn’t over. They called to say could they fix the TV by sending an engineer? Suspiciously I agreed. Then the paperwork was emailed. They are planning to go where we used to live. The trouble is I can’t get through to them to say don’t go there we’ve moved.

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