BT: worst automated phone system?

Posted: 18th July 2010

Yesterday I added a new article to the site describing some of our experiences of moving our business into an office. I described some of the problems we’ve encountered with setting up our business phone line with BT. What I find particularly interesting is that a phone company can do such a terrible job at providing phone-based customer service. Surely with their years of experience and expertise they should have an outstanding phone system?

Here’s the problem I had. I had an issue that I wanted to discuss with BT – that is with a real person who could listen to my problem, check our account and discuss it with me. So, I phoned the number provided on the paperwork they had sent and started the usual process of selecting options from the automated menu system. The first couple of times I chose the options which actually applied to me – yes, I was phoning from the number I wanted to enquire about; yes, I wanted to enquire about an existing order. And each time I’d end up at an automated message which told me that I had one order in progress. I already knew that, it was that order I wanted to ask about! There were then no further options so the call was ended.

Hmmm, not very helpful is it? I started experimenting with the options I selected and at one point got through to someone who reckoned they couldn’t access the kind of order number I had on their system, at which point they put me through to a number which just rang and rang and … rang. Why would a customer service department attached to the number given on the paperwork associated with my account not be able to access my account details?

In the end I resorted to randomly selecting the options which didn’t apply to me and eventually got through to someone who could actually help. This particular person was very helpful and sorted out my concerns very quickly. They were even very understanding when I explained how frustrated I’d got at trying to get through to someone who could help me. They reckon that the powers that be are aware of the difficulty customers are having with the phone system and are going to improve it. Do I believe that they will? Not sure. I certainly hope that I don’t have much cause to ring them up in the future.

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