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Don't knock your support department.

Pendragon
Rising Star
Posts: 425
Thanks: 3
Fixes: 1
Registered: 07-04-2007

Don't knock your support department.

I thought I would share with you my experience of support both with Plusnet and over the weekend, with Tesco support and the problems confronting their support personnel. I would also like to throw out to the community a question with reference to the ‘survey’ being done by ‘Five’ on broadband speeds.
My question is “Should the survey have been directed at the hurdles BT put in ISP’s and end users way when a broadband fault is apparent and not concentrated on speed alone”?
Now for the reason for the above question. During the last year I have had problems with my connection, both telephone and broadband, and as long as I dealt with BT on a voice only footing they were more then happy to deal with me. So to get the problem fixed I included F9 support in the loop but did all fault reporting via BT as a voice fault, it still took months to get it resolved but we got there in the end.
This weekend I received a frantic call from a family member reporting no broadband since Friday. They are with Tesco and this gave me my first experience of dealing with another support group.
Having spoken with two members of their support personnel I really do feel sorry for anyone working on a help desk and dealing with broadband faults. The main protagonist in this case is not the user or support but BT and its intransient and stubborn refusal to accept any fault could be caused by their infrastructure unless both the end user and the support person has completed enumerable and complicated testing procedures before even a simple test of the broadband could be carried out.
A simple test by myself at the users house confirmed there was ‘No Carrier’, in other words no broadband signal present on the line. But to get this reported to BT (and I know Plusnet has to do the same) we as the end user;
1. had to locate the ‘BT master socket’ (it was hidden behind a large bookcase).
2. dismantle the complete computer system and move from upstairs to downstairs, reconnect everything and connect to the master socket (it’s a USB modem).
3. have a heated ‘discussion’ with Tesco support because they wanted me to remove the face plate of the BT master socket and connect to the ‘test socket’ underneath. After explaining many times it was a plaster flush non user serviceable socket and not an NTE5 split socket and I was not qualified to remove said socket as it was BT’s, I was asked to disconnect all the internal extensions. Another heated discussion about fixed internal connections built into the wall and should I examine the use of a ‘Kango hammer’ to do the disconnections they finally gave in and did a ‘Whoosh’ test, it failed and the fault was exchange related.
And remember all this mucking about was done with someone who can argue the case for not doing something and can dismantle and move a computer and recognise a master socket when he sees one. The final straw is the call is charged at 50p a minute to the Tesco support line. Why should the end user have to go through hoops like this and how would a non technical user deal with the problems this could cause when all they want is their broadband working again.
Surly it has to be made much simpler to diagnose broadband faults and as broadband is now a commodity (or sold as such), BT must as the main provider make better provision to allow ISP’s and end users access to testing facilities similar to the automated voice testing system they already have in place otherwise when problems arise I can see many end users just ceasing their connection rather that goings through what I and many others have done just to get broadband working again.
Sorry for the long post but yesterday made me a little mad  Wink, regards, P.
1 REPLY
Bob_Milton
Grafter
Posts: 688
Registered: 31-07-2007

Re: Don't knock your support department.

I worked for Post Office Telephones for forty one years through to BT. In that time I became familiar with local line plant (exchange to subscriber). I also spent some time on line transmission [dealing with high frequency transmission (coaxial and also PCM systems)].
I feel that I do have some knowledge of the line plant which is used for broadband working.
First of all the local line plant used by BT is definitely not fit for purpose. The line signal used is up to 1MHz and the cables used are not able to cope reasonably with that frequency range. Some of you will have in the last few bad weather days had experiences which will confirm this.
I believe that BT are fully aware of the situation and are very happy to devise a system to make it extremely difficult for anyone to fight their way through what I believe to be a very near impossible tangle of nonsense.
It is a little better if you try to use their fault reporting process for ordinary telephone problems. In this case the people who staff their callcentres do not really have any technical knowledge. Also when they advise customers of the possibility of charges if the fault is 'not theirs', it seems to be a method to frighten anyone from reporting a fault.
There also is the problem which must be mentioned, ISP staff may be very good technically in their field, but are probably quite ignorant of a telephone system and particularly its line plant, and may not be the best to steer a fault through. I once was accused by a member of PlusNet support ( he no longer is employed by them) of trying to confuse the issue, when all I was trying to do was explain the problem to him.
But to sum up, perhaps it would help if folk would get on to Ofcom and complain about the tragic situation which exists. Again please don't always blame the ISP