As many a BT Ireland (formerly ESat BT, formerly ESat) customer will tell you, they’ve had some significant billing issues for quite some time, spanning more than half a decade.
Regular viewers of Irish online forum community site, Boards.ie, will be all too familiar with post after post of examples of the many problems they’ve been having. It is also widely known that senior BT Ireland management read Boards on a reasonably regular basis, so they can’t claim ignorance of the issues at hand.
What are the issues? Well they range from being billed incorrectly, to being continuously billed for services that have been cancelled for years, with lots of examples in between. The vast majority of people posting on their BT Ireland Broadband experiences (and, no, they’re not all negative!) point to a unnecessary delay caused by BT Ireland. So why does it take so long to fix the problem?
All big Irish ISPs have problems, as they lack some fundamental principles and metrics in their service, in my opinion. The biggest omission when evaluating success of these centres, is the satisfaction of customer/resolution. Yes it makes sense to promote Call Centre Statistics to encourage statistics, but this just leads to blatant lies being told by CSRs to keep the stats down, and no real customer satisfaction. The lack of any real metrics (call cost is irrelevant, as far as I’m concerned, when compared to the cost of customer issue resolution, which can span many calls).
In BT Ireland’s case, it seems to be a massive failure of the system in place. As one Boards.ie poster (forgive my lack of being able to find out who exactly!) points out, they fail, on numerous occasions, to be able to contact you, due to insufficient details, yet they can happily pass on your details to a debt collection agency! Many home customers are being billed months later for services. Yes, we all know that you should realise you’re not being billed, and budget for that. The reality is, though, very much different from the nice theory. BT Ireland seem to ignore that, and ignore many calls for the problem to be fixed, for many years at this stage.
In a recent chapter to the debacle, Cork-based Internet Consultant, Adam Beecher, fed up of reading all of these stories, and becoming a victim himself, set up the website www.btireland-sucks.com with a simple message, that their billing system sucked. BT Ireland went on to send a legal letter (with some questioning the legality of the letter itself, signed by a “solicitor” employed by BT Ireland), without attempting to contact Adam beforehand, seeking a solution. Adam is a well known, and widely respected consultant, and so his site has been picked up in national media.
So, rather than make any attempt to resolve the billing problem, spanning years, or to acknowledge a problem and say “we’re working on it”, or indeed to attempt to resolve Adam’s individual case, BT Ireland come on all heavy with legal threats, which have a very questionable footing (i.e. was the domain registered in bad faith, or registered in good faith to highlight the problem?). Well done BT Ireland! Full marks on how to improve customer satisfaction, and your own company.