Saturday, 16 October 2010

How to make life complicated

Or how not to complain
My new telephone directories were delivered this week. Director”ies” because we have more than one fixed line at our house because we’re posh! No I don’t live with my Mum!  But I digress. Anyhow, they arrived and they were all torn and battered which was pretty amazing as they were wrapped in the same stuff they make aircraft black boxes out of which makes them almost impossible to open without the code or a thermic lance, however I digress again!
“Ugh” I thought “Kill someone!”. Now, those of you who know me, including my somehow dwindling (For some curious reason) circle of friends will be aware that “Kill someone!” is a normal daily thought (Sometimes several times a daily but I digress) for me.  But how to identify the victim for said killing?
Light suddenly dawns, “Make a complaint to BT”.
Easier said than done.
Does anyone remember the famous passage in Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams where the earth is due to be destroyed by a Vogon constructor fleet?  It goes like this:
People of Earth, your attention, please. This is Prostetnic Vogon Jeltz of the Galactic Hyperspace Planning Council. As you will no doubt be aware, the plans for development of the outlying regions of the Galaxy require the building of a hyperspatial express route through your star system. And regrettably, your planet is one of those scheduled for demolition. The process will take slightly less than two of your Earth minutes. Thank you.
There’s no point in acting surprised about it. All the planning charts and demolition orders have been on display at your local planning department in Alpha Centauri for 50 of your Earth years, so you’ve had plenty of time to lodge any formal complaint and it’s far too late to start making a fuss about it now. … What do you mean you’ve never been to Alpha Centauri? Oh, for heaven’s sake, mankind, it’s only four light years away, you know. I’m sorry, but if you can’t be bothered to take an interest in local affairs, that’s your own lookout. Energize the demolition beams
Well, clearly those magnificent boys and girls at BT have been energised and motivated by dear old Douglas into hiding their Customer Complaints Department!!  Go look, try and find it, it is not there!!
So, after getting out a thermic lance (Keep up!) and opening the plastisteel outer covering I spent the next hour with the cellotape and a 5 year old who was good at jigsaw puzzles and reconstructed the first 10 pages of the Directory.  Once that was done I was astonished to find no customer complaints dept!!!  Does that mean that BT does not have any Customers?  No it doesn’t.  Does it mean that they don’t have any complaints? Erm, anyone who believes that is also going to Farnborough this weekend where the fabled Porcine Aviators Formation Squadron, “The Red Devils on Horseback” are performing their famous display, but I digress yet again.
“I know” I thought, “I will try 0800 800 150 Customer Service”.
I did that and met the famed CTI (Computer Telephony Integration)service front end;
Thank you for calling BT, please choose from the following options:
Press 1 to place an order – this is the best option for you as we will answer this one very quickly because we like selling stuff
Press 2 to check on the progress of an order, hmm, we will take longer doing this as we like you ordering more
Press 3 if you want to report a fault on your Broadband Service, however those with no service at all on Broadband should go online to and check on service availability there
Press 4 if you want to report a fault on your home telephone line however if it isn’t working how can you be hearing this?
Press 5 if you are Mother Teresa and are reporting a fault on someone else’s service as you clearly have the patience of a Saint
Press 6 If you would like to hear a selection of Muzak on Hold, today’s selection is a particularly poor rendition of “You’ll never walk alone”
Press 8 If you are easily confused and want to know where Option 7 went
Press 7 to fill in our customer satisfaction survey
Press 9 to hear those options again in Braille
If you wish to repeat those options, press *
 If you want to be connected to Samaritans due to feeling suicidal after hearing all those options, press #
At this point, blood boiling and steam coming out of ears I realised there was no option to get hold of customer complaints!!
“Aha!” I thought “Dial BT Directory Enquiries and ask them!”
Dialled 118500 for BT directory enquiries and spoke to a lovely lass from Scotland called Tess Speaking and she offered to “put me through”, unfortunately that got me back to :
“Thank you for calling BT, please choose from the following options:”
So I pressed 4


“hello” said a distinctly South Asian voice, “This is ‘Anthony’, what number are you calling from?” “Anthony????????” I thought, but quickly explained my problem (The one about the directory, keep up!) “Ah yes sir” he warbled in an extremely triumphant tone “For Directories, you need to call Directory Enquiries on 118500!”.
After a few moments of shock I explained to him that this was wrong and that Directory Enquiries would charge me an arm and a leg to give me anyone’s number but not their own.  After some tooing and froing ??? I asked to speak to his supervisor. “Why? He will just tell you the same sir!” he said but upon my insistence he hung up on me!!
Undeterred I went back to the original number with the mighty brainwave to just keep schtum and NOT to press any buttons.  Despite all the elctronic entreaties to press all the numbers from 1 thru 9 and to star and hash until I was in electronic ecstacy, I resisted all blandishments and pressed nothing (Not even 0).
My patience was finally rewarded when the CTI said in a resigned tone “If you are having problems using this service press 9 to be put through to a customer service operator”.
I pressed 9
Two seconds later I was put through to ‘Jessica’ in Bangladelhi who was the most helpful human being in the world.  When I complained that they had “hidden” Customer Complaints, she laughed gaily and told me “We know how to find them Mr Khan, tell me the problem and I will write to them for you!”.

Jessica the sloe-eyed beauty

I told her and she promised me the world, I was in love with ‘Jessica’ the sloe eyed beauty from Bangladelhi who was the answer to an aged roue’s prayers.
It is now three weeks later and I am sitting here watching my phone with the attention a cat gives an uncaring sparrow, it will ring soon and I must pounce as the fabled BT Customer Complaints Department will have been de-cobwebbed, taken out of retirement and re-energised to put me, the Customer, first!!  I know this because my beloved ‘Jessica’ from Bangladelhi has sworn this to me.

Ghenghis 2010


  1. Now that's more like it. Balls to all this Punting bollocks, just use the blog for ranting!


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