Call centres. The bane of my life when all that's required is for a minor problem to be resolved with one simple easy call. What a fantasist I am to expect good clean technical support. Staggering level of incompetence on display here by the girls and boys up in Scotland. First time I've wished for a call centre in India as an alternative (which Sky have but I failed to experience whatever delightful troubleshooting they might have had to offer).
Extracts from my 'I hate Sky' journal below. Unbelievable Jeff.
Aug 24, 2009 at 1:28 PM
I've had to make do with catching bits and pieces second hand for the past 2 weeks having had my viewing card cancelled. Considering how often I slate their coverage, I appreciate the hypocritical nature of paying them to provide me with television. There is no cable in my area and Freeview is as eventful as browsing Teletext. Streaming everything off the net also hurts my download allowance, so Sky digital is the only viable and available option.
So, why the cancellation? Well apparently, their records had me down as having two boxes. Two Sky+ boxes. One of them was seen as the primary box and the other as a multi-room box. They cancelled the non-existent multi-room box, and with it disabling the viewing card paired to it. The problem being, the card paired to it was actually the only card I have and the one used in the only Sky+box I have.
No reason was given why their records had me down with possessing two boxes and why one of them was cancelled (manually or by the system?). No call to inquire from their customer services department to query whether I did in fact have two boxes, considering I was only paying for one.
Then the journey began. Around 6 or 7 calls to their tech support department. They twice sent signals to my box to fix the viewing card. First time I was told it would take up to 4 hours, second call I was told I was mis-informed and it would take up to 24 hours. Third call I was told the signal being sent was going to the wrong viewing card and that the card had to be re-assigned to the box. I was told they would clean up the account and escalate the issue.
Escalate to whom? 'The highest department in the building'. Riiiiight.
I was then informed it may take up to 10 days for this department to call back. Which I laughed at and suggested that was ridiculous. Asked them what exactly they were going to do when they eventually looked at the problem.
"They will make the card active again, only they can do it, we can't do it here ourselves"
I left it a couple of days, and called back and got through to customer services by mistake. Ironically, got better support than tech offered. The young lass admitted there was some serious quirks with my account. She couldn't quite get her head around it, but the jist of it was - the viewing card that Sky had sent me a month or so back - the one in my possession - was not the one listed in their records.
She said she'd look into it and call back. She didn't.
Couple more days passed and I called back again. The bloke I spoke to reiterated that there was a 10 day wait for these type issues to be looked at.
"Imagine Sir, you're not the only person who might be experiencing technical difficulties"
Ok. That really does inspire confidence.
I decided to leave it until the 10 day 'waiting period' passed.
11th day and still no callback so I get through to someone who basically proved that when it comes to receiving technical support from Sky, you have to rely on bloody good luck, because it would only appear 1 in 6 agents in their call centres are on the ball. She immediately dismissed this 10 day wait fallacy, saying there is no such process or escalation and that nobody (in the faults department) would have called me back. All they do is send out a different type of signal to the box. So in essence, the 10 days had been completley wasted.
She also spotted that nobody had bothered to re-pair up my viewing card with my Sky+ box - even though the previous agents had mentioned it wasn't paired up. Simple mistake to make? More like drunk clowns on crystal meth.
There was still a bit of work to do to avoid having a brand new card being mailed to me. So I was placed on hold. Got cut off, but received a callback - and in the end, was told the card was now paired up again and that a new signal would be sent (another 24 hour wait).
I'll be getting a refund for the days I had no service. Not that I'm happy about much.
I called up several times, purposely, to see if I can influence a different approach for them to resolve the issue, and every time hit a brick wall until the final call made. Absolutely atrocious standard of knowledge from their agents, and it was almost by accident I got the problem fixed in the end (although I wont know for sure until 6pm this evening).
Should make them pay me back for the calls made to their centre, along with compensation for forcing me to watch The Ashes via a dodgy internet stream.
This could have been sorted within 24 hours. And not taken 2 sodding weeks.
If it's not back on for the football tonight…Jesus will weep.
Aug 24, 2009 at 6:56 PM
Amazing. Just amazing. I can't believe how f*cked up their support is.
I called just after 6pm to say that the card was still not working. I was told by the girl that basically the signal sent was for the card to be re-paired with the box and that another signal would need to be sent to get the tv channels back, however - AND THIS IS PRACTICALLY GENIUS - the system is STILL reporting two f*cking boxes and my viewing card is still seen as the secondary box and no the primary.
I couldn't believe it, especially after the work apparently done on the account yesterday to clean it up. I asked how the account was still saying I had two boxes and why people persisted in saying they had fixed it/paired it up correctly etc.
Slated their support, slated the fact that it was me pushing this to be resolved and the fact that all the advice (especially the 10 day wait for a callback) was bullshit and that I had wasted 12 days and nothing had actually been done in that time.
They are sending me a new viewing card. When I get it (3-5 days) I have to call up to activate it - but I also need to tell them to cancel the other card/box (you know, the box I dont' f*cking have). I'm actually very suspicious and believe this will lead onto another monumental f*ck up.
I'm calling CS to clarify the situation over the current card and the card being sent and the fact I have one motherf*cking c*nt of a Sky + box. Just so I know they know what needs to be done at the end of the week.
Yet more tv missed because of their utter utter incompetence.
Aug 24, 2009 at 7:32 PM
It gets better.
I'm actually going to cry. First time since Italia '90.
I sat down to watch something on programme planner and found that the Sky+ features had now gone on the box. The last support agent (08442 411411) seemed to get ahead of herself and downgraded the card in preparation for the new viewing card. I couldn't believe it.
Got through to another girl and explained what happened and told her, I will wait for the new card, but all I want is my Sky+ back so I can at least record shows off terrestrial tv.
She told me the card was not paired up with my box.
I said ok.
She paired it up.
All my Sports, Movies and Music channels are back.
She then reassigned Sky+ and got that working.
I was speechless. I asked why the f*ck they couldnt do that in the first f*cking place? How can something so simple be so impossible?
She told me that I should still use the new viewing card when it arrives because this will help to tidy up the account on their systems.
Why wasn't this done on the first call? How could so many agents and a couple of managers miss the fix she managed to implement?
When I call back later in the week, with the new card to activate it, I'm tell them I want them to compensate me for all the calls and time I wasted calling up.
Shocking beyond belief.
Checked my bank account today. £61 taken by Sky. No refund. No credit. Just my standard bill with an additonal £10 charge for a multi-room box added on top like a maggot-infested cheery on a cake of shit.
Livid I was. I spoke (actually spoke) to a team leader. What did I learn?
None of the agents made notes on the support given.
Someone reactivated the secondary viewing box even though there was an active request to clean up the account.
I have to email her (when I get home) the details relating to my viewing card, version number and serial number. Details I have confirmed every single time I've called up. She will make sure - personally - that the clean up of the account is done and is final and that credit is given to the account.
The good news?
3 months, half price. Which covers more than enough for time wasted on this. Although there is plenty of time for another fuck up to occur and for me to scream for 3 months free service.
Worst support ever.
And it's not even over yet.