BT broadband and its customer service

We have just moved house from London town to rural, sunny Norfolk. It’s lovely and has all gone fairly smoothly, apart from my wife’s running battle with BT’s customer service team to get our broadband set up. Of course, the fact that BT’s CEO Ben Verwaayen confirmed his departure last week has nothing to do with this event in the Garner household, although I can confess that my wife is a formidable woman and not one to be trifled with!

In the end, BT has come through well, but it has taken a week, several phone calls and a lot of frustration to get it sorted. To start with the customer service team seemed to have someone else registered to our number and so it was a real struggle to get access to our account.

Once we got over that hurdle, it was impossible to get my wife’s computer connected to our new BT home hub. We switched from Sky to BT to improve our broadband speeds and get a more secure connection as my wife will be spending quite a bit of time working from home.

We also discovered that our new office was not connected to the main phone line, so we would need a new phone line from BT costing a whopping £165 or we could call out a local electrician, to see if the line was faulty!

A cheaper option was to get a wireless card for my wife’s laptop and connect to the intenet that way. A trip to PC World returned a Belkin wireless card that just woudn’t work. In the end this had to be replaced with a NetGear USB wireless dongle that has worked a treat.

In the end, it has all been sorted out, but it has been frustrating and time consuming. BT’s first line support was no better than we had recieved previously at Sky. However, when we got BT to escalate our call to the specialist team, we started to get progress, but that took four days.

The guy who eventually dealt with the problem was brilliant and I was impressed that he could remotely connect with my PC to rectify our problem, something I had experienced with our internal IT support system at work, but not outside.

BT is making much of it being a worldwide IT services company – I found an article from ComputerWeekly’s 2005 archive that talks about broadband and IT driving profits at the telecom company – and I guess its experience in this area should mean that it can out perform the other broadband companies in cutomer support. My first experiences left me unconvinced that that is the case.