This post was published in April 2009 and may contain facts or opinion that are no longer current.

A Letter To Virgin Media


I’ve had a few issues with my Virgin Media cable connection over the last few days, and wanted to write about it here. We’re in a pretty difficult position at home: as Virgin have a monopoly on the UK cable market, and we can’t have ADSL over our phone line, we have to stick with them no matter what. I’d never tell them that to their face, of course…

So, our connection died at about 4pm on Monday afternoon. I called up their support number at 9pm and got put through to India. I was asked to reboot the modem, and when it didn’t work again I was told we could wait for it to be sorted, or book an engineer.

I decided to sleep on it, and called them back on Tuesday daytime (again, Indian call centre). Again, I had to reboot the modem, and was told to disconnect my Apple router because they couldn’t support that. She didn’t sort the problem - when I tried to get her to report an issue (open a ticket, have an engineer look at it on their end), all she’d say was the stock line: “I’ve checked the system, there are no issues in your area.”

I was out all day Wednesday, but called them back that night. I was put through to John in Swansea; whatever Virgin are paying John, it isn’t enough; VM should be proud to be employing somebody so competent. He did some tests straight away on my modem, saw some strange power fluctuations, and said immediately that it needed an engineer to look at it. He booked one for Monday, commented on how their internal support systems are so slow, and let me off the phone.

At 1pm today (Thursday), I got a text saying they’d fix the problem within eight hours and that they’d cancelled my engineer. At 4pm, I received a voicemail saying the problem was sorted. I don’t know whether John was correct that my modem needs looking at, but if so… it can happen some other time. The connection’s working fine now, and I’m happy.

Here’s the interesting thing (to me): I was really pissed off on Tuesday afternoon. Truthfully, I was incredibly pissed off until I spoke to a UK call centre. Quality of phone support is so important, and I hope Virgin aren’t moving more of their operations out of the UK. That’s the kind of thing that, in the long run, would lose us as customers. And finally, to the people behind @virginmedia on Twitter: what you’re doing (openness & pretty immediate availability) is really cool… please keep it up.


By Bryant Tan on 03 April 2009 at 13:35:

You’re absolutely right about call centres - it’s just so much better when you’re talking to someone you can understand and who actually knows what DNS is. Luckily for me I haven’t had occasion to call them much - surprisingly enough, despite my numerous rants about throttling and service stability, VM have been quite good to me lately - what with boosting speeds up to 10Mbps and delivering a reliable service. If not for their horrific customer service that I had to endure a couple times in my life, I might even like them…

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From 11PM on Thursday April 02, 2009

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