This blog post is out of the norm for me. Instead of telling you just about whats happened in my life, this post is going to be about something that has happened, that has really started making my blood boil. Now, I don’t normally have a go at people or organisations, or companies in the public forums like Facebook, or twitter and alike, as I prefer to deal with things privately, but today, I am going to make an exception.
On 6th Jan 2013, my Mam, passed away suddenly in hospital. This was an unexpected shock as you can imagine for us all. Now, a short while after that, after the funeral, which was on the 15th Jan 2013, I rang Virgin Media, to inform them of my Mam’s passing, and that my Dad would like to take the account over in his name, continuing everything as it was on the account. I was told my Dad would receive a phone call from the Bereavement Department within 24 hours. Well, 24 hours passed and still no phone call. When I got to my Dad’s house that day ( I live 10 miles away ), I rang Virgin Media up again only to be told that the timescale for a callback is actually 48 hours, not 24 hours which I had been quoted and that he would have to wait for the callback. Now I should point out, that my Dad is 73 years old and not great with technology or having to deal with stuff like this, as my Mam normally dealt with the bills etc. My Dad is only just getting used to speaking on the phone. It took a long time to persuade my Mam and dad to get a phone installed in the first place. Anyway, back to the original issue. After being told on the second call to Virgin Media that it is actually 48 hours for a callback, I could see my Dad getting physically stressed. Because of this, my dad told me not to ring them back, and he was sure they would ring. He kept saying this to me for the next few days, and not wanting to stress him any further, I obliged with his wish. Around 5 days later ( YES, 5 days, not 24 or 48 hours ), my Dad eventually gets a call from the Bereavement Dept, who arrange to have forms sent to him to fill in and send back to them with a copy of the Death Certificate and that everything would then be transferred to my Dad’s name with his bank details for payment, and gave the impression and reassurance that everything would be fine and straightforward. A short while later, he received the forms, and did as they asked. He filled them in and posted them back with a death certificate. This is where it jumps to yesterday 18th Feb 2013. My Dad received 2 demands from Virgin Media, for 2 bills unpaid which also included a late payment charge. My Dad was very confused why these have not been paid, but what upset him the most, was that these demand were still in my Mam’s name. I tried to pacify my Dad by saying the bills wouldn’t of been paid as my Mam’s bank account were closed pending probate. Seeing my Dad starting to get upset and stressed again, I immediately rang Virgin Media up and got through to a lovely girl in the UK. Up till now everyone I have spoke to was overseas. This girl was very apologetic and could see the notes saying we were having forms sent out but nothing to say they had received them back, even though my Dad sent them over 3 weeks ago now. She apologised several times during the call, and said she would stop the late payment charge. She then said she would sent a request back to the Bereavement Department and mark it as urgent, for them to ring my Dad back, and again quoted within 24 hours. I left it at that, hoping someone, somewhere, would get their finger out and sort this out. Today, I spoke to my dad, who informed me he received two phone calls from Virgin Media. The first was a woman, who could barely speak any english. My Dad repeated several time that he could not understand her, but she just kept going on and on. Nothing of what she said was understood by my Dad, which he told her, apart from when she asked for the password. He said, if it was his password it would of been ( password given ). She said that this was incorrect. He then told her he didn’t know his wife’s password because she is dead now. At this point the lady on the phone, carried on saying stuff that my dad could not understand. He told me, he thinks she hung up in the end, but cannot be sure. After that call, he received the second call. This time, believe it or not, it was a call to find out how the service had been and how the phone call he had just had, was dealt with. I told him, I hope he told them the service is awful. He told me he couldn’t do that, so he just told the man on the phone that the service was O.K, but he did mention to him, that when people are ringing him from Virgin Media, it’s nearly always someone he cannot understand, due to them being overseas. So as it stands, my Dad does not have any idea what the heck is going on now. He does not know if the foreign lady that rang was from the Bereavement Department or chasing payment. He half joked, that he will soon find out when his T.V and phone are cut off. I told my Dad I will ring Virgin Media, when I’m at his house in a couple of days time. I also told him , that when I do ring, I WILL be giving them hell.
I have to say that I am not one of those people that live to ring up call centres and kick off just to get credits or for the fun of it, like some people seem to do. I have only once in my life lost it on the phone with someone from a company and slammed the phone down. I prefer to remain calm and collected. I find that normally you get further that way to dealing with the problem(s) in hand. I feel this time is going to be different. I am not about to stand by and watch my Dad getting stressed and upset, when in my opinion, he is still grieving, or possibly worse, not yet started grieving due to sorting stuff out. I am not a racist, but I fail to comprehend why or how a huge company like Virgin Media, employ offshore people, to deal with such personal, upsetting, and sensitive calls and issue such as bereavement, when they, in cases like this, struggle to make themselves understood on a call to a U.K customer, due to their native language and accent. If it is a U.K company, calls like this should only be dealt with by U.K, english speaking staff. Its times like this when their customers are feeling very upset, hurt, angry, or any number of emotions and need help, guidance and support of the people they speak to on the phone, to get their query resolved, not be left confused, upset and stressed. I personally think it is despicable that things like this happen. I don’t know if its a case of training, or retraining these people, or whether, and this is more probable, that companies need to take a long, hard, look at their policies, and how the deal with certain situations, and who deals with them, and not just farm certain call queue’s and departments out to offshore, just to save money.
I honestly feel that some some companies, because of their policies and procedures, leave customers feeling like just a number, and an amount money being paid, to enhance the profits, rather than a valued customer. A customer who works hard to pays their bills, which pays wages and helps keep the company operating and not going bust. They should be treat better and looked after, in all cases, no matter how much that customer spends each month.
I WILL be posting this on various social networks, and if you agree with anything at all that I have said, or believe these things need to be changed, or like me, are disgusted with the way they are dealing with this or similar situations, please share this, amongst your contacts. Please also leave a comment. I will also be adding @virginmedia in on Twitter so they see what I have to say. I will keep you updated with this as time goes by.
Wish me luck