Where would we be without our customers? Is it really that important to do what you can to keep them? And how far would you go before giving up?
Questions, questions, questions….. this is not one of my normal posts – today is a rant!
In my working life, I understand that keeping customers happy is absolutely critical, and I also understand that sometimes that is not always possible because no matter what, if someone wants to have a moan, then they’ll have a moan. In my job I have to have thick skin, broad shoulders etc. etc. and I always tell people it’s OK to call me if you want a good moan, I can take it, and it won’t be personal – I CAN TAKE IT! (And regularly do!) 🙂
Recently, the boot was on the other foot. Little ol’ me, the “customer”.
I have (but not for much longer), been a customer of Sky for about 15 years, give or take. Firstly TV, then phone and broadband. Then got rid of TV because I didn’t like paying for all the rubbish that’s on there when I can get it for nothing using free-sat, (let’s put the TV licence topic to one side – that’s not for discussion right now.) So….. Sky broadband….. prior to Sky I was with another well known provider who shall remain nameless, other than me telling you they advertise on TV and are “Yorkshire”, I think you know the one. Broadband speed was pretty naff to say the least, lucky if I got 2 meg. BT announced it was upgrading it’s network to provide “up to 8 meg ….. blah blah blah.” But the ISP at the time said they were not able to advise me on when I would get better speed because they were relying on BT doing their bit. So, rang Sky “oh yes, we can give you about 5 meg, unlimited usage, no acceptable usage policy” YIPPEE, so I signed up. And, true to their word, got about 5meg from day one, without BT having to “upgrade it’s network.” Bye bye Yorkshire ISP.
Wind the clock forward to present day. Over the last few months 5meg has slowly degraded to just over three (if I’m lucky). Constantly reported to Sky, and one day a very nice BT Openreach engineer came knocking at my door. He replaced the line-box in the house and we did a few speed tests between us and it got fairly close to 5meg, which I said I was satisfied with (anything was better than how bad it had become.) But, as the next few weeks went on, speeds back down to 3 meg, and below. In fact today it’s worse than ever:
Over the past few weeks I have been researching this new “super-fast fibre optic broadband”. I came across an ISP (another one that shall remain nameless,) which was offering connectivity via the South Yorkshire Digital Region initiative. I was just about ready to make my move when, BANG! It’s on the news that for whatever reason SYDR had shut down, (again, another story for another time.) So, I looked at what Sky could do for me. “I’ve been a customer for about 15 years, they must have some offers that reward customer loyalty,” I thought. How wrong could I be? On the Sky website, fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) broadband service, £20 per month and £50 install for a 40meg service. What! I’m paying £10 per month now for the rubbish I’m getting, and I don’t mind paying extra for a better service, but they could at least do the install from free for existing customers, surely?
Before contacting Sky, I decided to find out what the competition was up to. I discovered that Virgin Media were offering 60 meg FTTC, phone, unlimited calls, at half price for 6 months and FREE installation! That meant that for the first 6 months I would be paying less than I am now for my awful Sky broadband and the equivalent phone package, then after 6 months it would work out the same price for 60meg that Sky were going to charge me for 40 meg. So, here’s the conundrum. If Sky install for free, then I wouldn’t have the hassle of moving provider and I’m sure I could live with 40 meg, (anything is better than what I have right now.) Or, do I bite the bullet and save a few quid for 6 months and get ever faster broadband?
The next step – contact Sky. After going through the usual security questions, the conversation went something like this…..
Me: “Hello, I want to upgrade to this new fibre broadband because I can’t live with what I have any more it’s useless.”
Sky person: “No problem sir, it’s £50 installation fee.”
Me: “I see that from your website. I’ve been a Sky customer for about 15 years, is there any offer you have, such as a free upgrade, which will ensure I stay as a Sky customer?”
Sky person: “It’s £50 installation fee and £20 per month for 40 meg.”
Me: “Could you not offer me a free installation?”
Sky person: “We have to pay the engineer to do the upgrade.”
Me: “Did you know Virgin Media are currently offering a free installation?”
Sky person: “But we have to pay the engineer to do the upgrade.”
Me: “OK, I get that, did you also know that Virgin Media are offering 6 months half price?”
Sky person: “Can I send you the link to where our offers are on our website?”
Me: “No, I am already looking at your website while I am talking to you.”
Sky person: “OK, Is there anything else I can help you with today?”
Me: “No thank you, I think I know what to do now. Bye.”
Within about an hour I had signed up with Virgin Media, free installation (saving £50), half price 60 meg broadband for 6 months, line rental and unlimited any-time calls. The VM rep tried to tempt me with a TV package, and as much as I wondered about all these Tivo ads I’d seen on TV, I’m still happy not to pay for all the crap on the telly – I only usually watch the 10 o’clock news and sometimes a film on ITV2 (yes, 118 118), or Film 4. He also took the trouble to explain about the mobile offers they have, but I said I’d think about it. Within a few minutes I had booked an install date and got all the confirmation emails welcoming me as a customer, and actually felt like someone understood exactly what I was looking for.
I rang Sky back, went through all the maze of options and finally spoke to someone to inform them of me cancelling my Sky broadband and phone. He was very nice and polite and made it easy for me to say goodbye to Sky. He reassured my that there was nothing else I needed to do, Virgin Media would look after it all for me and on the transfer date my Sky account would automatically cease. “Wonderful,” I said. “I can’t believe it was as easy as that”. “No trouble sir,” was his reply. “Thank you for calling, enjoy the rest of your evening.”
What struck me, as I hung up the call, was that I was pleased there was no hassle in cancelling my account – but at the same time I was absolutely disgusted with Sky making no attempt whatsoever to keep me as a customer. Unbelievable.