Rotten to the Core

Hello. This is a break from running and a good old rant like I use to do so those who know me can sit back and imagine me all animated changing the pitch of my voice and waving my arms around like a man processed.

So where did this rant come from. Well it started bubbling into a life over a year ago when Apple announced it would end MobileMe and replace with cloud and everyone would have to migrate their accounts and do it by themselves and if you had failed to move your account by June or July of this year then you could wave goodbye to your email and contacts and calendars. The issue with this is, you had to upgrade to Lion to be able to upgrade to the ‘Cloud’ I hate Lion, its rubbish it basically turns your mac into an iPhone or iPad of which I have great distaste for.

Anyway I made this happen, and the minute I did my Blackberry (best for emails) beeped. Your .Mac email is not valid, please confirm your password. I did. I still got the same message. Straight onto Vodafone and straight to one of their off shore call centres where if your issue is not listed on the script in front of them they can’t help. In fact they don’t understand your issue. I had two customer service people tell me, that unless it’s an iPhone then mail will not sync. It’s mail. It doesn’t matter what email client you use, it just logs into your email and pushes email to your phone or outlook, or android or whatever email program you are using be it on a computer or handset. Five people I spoke to until I finally got through to some one who was English and did not need to speak into a machine that gave them a computerised American/English accent. He admitted that he did not know how to help, but would try. I finally got through to yet another ‘Technical” person a phrase that is used in the loosed sense. He informs me I should take it up with Apple as it is not Vodafones or Blackberrys issue. Except it is. BB is no longer finding the server, and when I manually input the server information that Apple and several websites have confirmed my phone still rejects the email account.

So I now have a phone that won’t push my work email to me. A little annoyed does not even begin to describe the issue, so when I get a call for work on Thursday and I go to check my calendar only to find that all my dates have gone, and disappeared into the cloud I was not best happy. ‘I’d love to work on Thursday but I’m not sure if I’m free, as at the moment according to Apple iCloud I am free until 2089 and have not worked since 1972″

So I am now stuck with the Cloud that is not playing ball. A phone that Apple won’t allow to access my email, and a mobile operator who does not know what they are talking about. One agent asked if I had a 3G signal as that could be causing the issue. What planet are you on I bellowed. I’m connected to Wi-Fi and I can still transmit data via 2G and Edge. She went on to inform me that she needed to check if the browser worked. Why do you need to know that??? My other email works on the handset, stop reading the bloody script and listen to the customer, need less to say she didn’t, she carried on reading what the computer was telling here. Sure this method is fine for simple issue, like ‘My phone won’t turn on” Have you charged the battery the computer will say, however more complex issues which require listening skills and problem solving, issues that stray away from a predetermined script needs people who know what they are on about. Sure I could sell pensions or insurance if I had a script, but the minute we went off script I would be screwed.

This remind me of another time I spoke to a ‘so-called’ Customer service agent who had been trained in America as she was all “Good day, I’m here to help Sir, How can I help today, Hello Sir, I’m Happy to Help” every world hung with that terrible infliction that only America and Australia seem to have. I asked this agent if I could get a cheaper deal on my line rental, she said ‘No’ I said I was told I could as someone from the deals department phoned me last week and offered me a cheaper alternative. She said that there wasn’t one. Keeping to the script. What I should have said was I would like a ‘Sim only deal’ then she could type it into her machine to get to the right page, but because ‘Cheaper tariff’ wasn’t on the script she couldn’t help, in the end she put through to some one else, who also could not help. I hung up, and phoned back, asked where I was speaking to and got the response ‘Swansea’ Good enough I thought, and asked the same question, the reply came very quick. “You need our upgrades team, to talk you through the options of Sim only deals, if you don’t want to take out a new contract” Thats the type of service i expect, someone using their knowledge of the industry they work in to answer questions that don’t use the terminology.

I suppose I am more annoyed at VF for their constant lack of focus on customer care, but also my growing hatred of Apple for monoplising and handcuffing their customers. You have to upgrade to do this, and if you want to have this then you have to do this, and we have changed the way Mail works to make it better if you are one of the dorks who take out a second mortgage to buy an iPhone, iPad, Macbook, Apple t.v and the rest, only to have to get a loan 4 moths later to upgrade to the next iPhone which is no different, it just comes with a little bit more memory.

Oh well, time for another jog to calm me down.

Finally the truth, So they claim!!!!!

My god, this has angered me so much that I was yelling to the customer service agent.

Yes my online account issue is still not resolved, so I phoned up again ready to explain the issue to a new member of the so-called customer service team. To recap I log on and get an email saying thankyou for registering, a couple of days later I am no longer registered and have to go through the whole process again.

Today I was told that the computer system at Vodafone would not de-register me, which I told the agent that was bollocks and read out the list of emails saying I had registered. She then informed me, and this was the first person who has said this ‘That you can’t have postal bills and have an on-line account” This was after a long frustration of explaining the situation with her come backs of “Well the system is showing you don’t have an online account.” I know; I would say that is because its keeps being deleted. “But we can’t help you as there is no issue to investigate.” The issue is I register and the systems takes it away after a couple of days. “I’m sorry Sir we can’t investigate as you haven’t registered for an online account.” And so it went on, until she finally realised that I was right when I returned back to the evidence of the emails saying that I did in deed register for an online account. Anyway she said I couldn’t have both….

Now if this is the reason for the issue then why has no one else said this before????

The fact that this is a lie, as I have been told I can have both, as the online account section also allows you to place or lift calling bars, or look at My Vodafone (Kind of App store) I decided to take this has the best offer of a resolve but I will be phoning up and questioning the reasoning for this.

What this now means is I can’t access my Vodafone At Home billing or emails as I need to log into the My Account section to get to the link of @Home. However the helpful person informed me that they @home could send me paper billing and I could just access my email through my 3rd party client I would just need the @home team to send me a new password.

So within 15 mins my seven month issue seems to have been sorted. Fair enough, it means I can’t have an online presence as their stupid computer system won’t allow it, but it now means I will get my paper bills and my emails, and I will never have to go online to do anything.

So we will wait yet another month to see if this issue has completely been cleared up. I think we all know the answer will be no. But we can but hold our breath.

A big Thank you

Well today I got a phone call from Vodafone, not from Dave or Allen or John who said they would phone back. This was in fact a call from the Vodafone twitter team member who I had emailed after she saw my rant on twitter. She had handled the case several weeks before and now is disappointed that it is still not resolved but now promises me that she will  be on hand to sort out this issue.

This can only be seen as a result.

Lets hope she doesn’t let me down.

The Bigger They Are the Less They Care

Well today I have had enough of Vodafone.

I phoned them up, and as per the rubbish they told me that should (according to them) have fixed my issues have (as I informed them wouldn’t) not actually worked and once again I am back to square one.

So I phoned VF to tell them to get a suit, not some student or team leader who had a different script to ring me back, and for this issue to be resolved by the end of the week.

That should be pretty easy! Surly, as they have been working on it for 6 months apparently. If they don’t then I am withdrawing all my business from their network.

When I told them this they did not seem to care one little bit.

So Come Friday I will be looking for a new operator and reading what new phone I should get myself, as if any bookies are out there I will put a grand on them not sorting this shite out.

In other news I have now got the 5k on the street down to 25 minutes. Thats the same time as in the gym, and thats with running up hills and on uneven surfaces so I’m very happy about that. So happy that I ran an extra 1km today when I got up at 7am before a 14 hour stint at work. Go team ME!!!

Vodafone – The On Going Battle

Well, it’s a ongong battle, and so much so that I have decided to make new category just for Vodafone and the issues I have. Might even make a new blog just dedicated to the Company that answers the phone with the UK’s number one Network. (I am slowly building up a one man case on why I feel that is not the truth)

Last week, I put pen to paper to write about the ongoing issue of the online account being deactivated, and my Vodafone at Home account following suit. After a phone call to the Online at Home team who assured me the fault was because the account had been dormant for a month I injected with “it hasn’t I downloaded my Online bill two weeks ago” They quickly and helpfully said that Keith from Tech Support would phone on Monday.

Keith didn’t phone till Friday, and below is the transcript of what happened. As much as I remember it. To protect the identity of people Keith will be played by me and is called Burt. Oh wait! Hang on, I’ve already told you his name is Keith! Dam! Well there must be lots of Keith’s in Tech Support, It’s a tech support name. Plain and boring. He probably goes home to his wife Cassandra to eat Shepherds pie and watch the News before retiring to the shed or garage to paint his tiny army figures, and read up on battle of the Somme and listening to his Ham Radio.

Any way, I digress. Keith phoned at 9:30 making me late for work as he would not shut up, defiantly not trained in the art of Customer service he was going it alone without the aid of a script, and any research of what a nightmare of a customer I could be to agents.

Me – Hello

Keith – Hello is that Mr Scott

Me – Speaking

Keith – Hello it’s Keith here from Vodafone at Home, I had a memo to ring you about logging on to the website.

Me – Oh yes!

Keith – I’m afraid it has always been this way. You can only log on with your main email address, the one you first set up. Any other emails address’ you have registered can only be accessed through 3rd party clients through PoP3, as there is no way to check these emails online……

Me – I’m sorry Keith can I interrupt you. As interesting as this is, I only have one email address, and this is not the problem. My account is being deactivated. So when I log on, I can’t as it is asking me for an activation code.

Keith – Oh do you require a activation code?

Me – No I got one last week, the reason why they said you would phone, is to investigate why this keeps happening!

Keith – Well it’s because the account becomes inactivate after 2 months of no use, so you need an activation code.

Me – This has been explained to me, as I explained to your colleague this is not the case with me, as I went on-line 2 weeks ago to download my bill, and I still get my emails pushed to me from the server to my 3rd party email client. However last week I went on-line to find I needed to activate my account.

Keith – well, yes that does seem to be an issue.

(No shit Sherlock that is why I’m phoning and why you were phoning me)

Keith – Obviously you think there is a problem there that needs looking into. If it keeps happening I would suggest you phone back.

(But you don’t seem to think there is an issue Keith. Don’t make me out to be a complaining fool. I want to log on, download my bill, quickly. Not log on, phone you up, get a code. Wait for an hour for the system to reset. Input the code, and download my bill. I’m sure On-line billing is suppose to save you the Company Money. But it seems that you are spending the money saved on call centre staff dishing out activation codes.)

Me – It is keep happening which is why they passed the issue to ‘Tech Support” and for you to look into.

Keith – Well all I can suggest is you phone back if it keeps happening, and we will take it from there, as it is an issue that is upsetting you and is causing you some problems.

(Some, It’s wasting half my day is what it’s doing. Can’t we go back to the time when I woke up, have my cereal and opening the post, which contains a Bill from Vodafone that I can file away, rather than wake up, check my emails – see that my bill is ready, log on to the account, click on the link to At home – Phone up to get an activation code, input it, click on bills, download, open it and save as PDF to FIles – Bills- Vodafone – 2010-2011)

The rest of the conversation was me looking at my watch, thinking I have no time to battle with a 49 year still living with his mother and playing with toy soldiers and enjoying a boiled egg and sweet tea for diner. Him and his team don’t know what the matter is, and turning it off and back on is not working, or the fact of trying to blame the web browser as I told them I have used several apart from explorer. The last failed attempt to try to fix it was telling me to delete the cookies and cache as that could be somehow informing the servers at Vodafone towers to deactivate my account. If there are any computer geeks out there I would love to see how this affects the my online account.

Tomorrow I am getting a phone call from the normal Vodafone Customer Agent to inform me that my online account for my phone is fixed. It’s not. Everyday this week I have logged on and had to register. So we will see what happens there.

Been a long time, so here’s a rant!!!!

Well it’s been a long time since I last put electronic ink, to online paper, and I have missed it. Lot’s of things have happened in the time I have been away from the cyber world writing down my mundane thoughts for all of sundry to read. And while I have been a way several matters have come flooding to my attention, which I will not hold back with my anger, but they have truly annoyed me.

So if you work for Vodafone then you may like this post, and wish to copy it and show it to your share holders or your chairman of the board as the issue that I wrote about a while ago, still isn’t fixed. You can read that particular post here! But for those of you who are to lazy to read my past attempts at blogging then basically Vodafone were being shit. There ‘call centre’ staff do not know what they are saying which is a surprise considering they have a pre-written script that they will continue to plough through whether it is relevant to what the customer has said or not.

In simple summing up terms my online account keeps resetting itself, or deleting itself. So every time I go on to my account I keep needing to register. Vodafone has tried to help with little result and inform me that I am wrong and what they are doing will solve the issue. I inform them, that I am once again looking at my computer screen where it reads “Welcome to Vodafone, thank you for registering your online account” I am also looking at my email where a new mail in the inbox from Vodafone is a nice “Welcome to your on-line account” message. The customer service agent who is now on page four of the script informs me “My system shows your account is active” Of course it’s bloody active I just activated it, but tomorrow it won’t be….

Basically this happens a lot, and when I try to head them off at the pass, by phoning up before I have activated the account the script informs the ‘Customer Service Agent” to jump to page 10. “Well Mr Scott I can talk you through how to set it up” I don’t want talking through, I know how to set it up, I’ve done it for the past six months every week, I want it to stay active. They then try to, with my permission delete the account and set it, and some other tricks that page seven of the script informs them to. With everyone I agree and say ‘It won’t work, I will be phoning back again tomorrow’ I am then assured that it will work, and I won’t need to phone back. The trouble is, when you talk to me, I write your name, the date, and time of the call and what is said so when I do phone back to prove page seven of the script was wrong and once again that Chinese proverb of the ‘Customer is always right’ I have evidence.

Anyway, I went to check my Vodafone at Home account which is broadband and landline, but in some boardroom brain wave the members of the board thought it would be great to join the two online accounts together, meaning for me to access my emails or my billing for the Broadband, I have to first sign (Sorry I mean register and then activate my account) and then click on a link to Vodafone at Home. This was where the trouble began. My “At Home” account had become deactivated. I have been told that if I do not use the account for a month then it becomes deactivated, and I need to ring them up to get a new activation code. However I  had signed onto it only 2 week before, and surly with my email client on my Mac, the pop3 would be signing in to receive emails, so in theory it would never be deactivated. So began the phone call of a angry customer.

Now to get through to the ‘At Home’ people you need to phone 191, which was fine as I needed to speak to them about the online section of my account. Now the way to not piss a customer off is to leave him on hold with Musac, which is interrupted every ten seconds by a woman informing you that “You are next in Line” “Your call is important” “If you continue to hold your call will be answered” No shit, really…. Is that how telephones work??? You mean If I stay on the line, some one will pick up? I thought that if I hung up, then the ‘Customer Service Agent” would realise it was me who had just hung up and would phone me back. Anyway, eventually a man answered with “Hello you’re through to Vodafone Customer Service the Uk’s best Network Steve speaking how can I help?’ Now I could not let this pass…. “The Uk’s best Network” I repeated the quote to Steve, and asked did you really just say that? Steve swallowed deeply to try to force the frog down, but with the frog still at the back of his throat said “Yes Sir” Well I will be the judge of that, as I have evidence to disprove that statement.

Now I can’t have a go at Steve, as he is one of the few people at the Call Centre who knows what they are talking about, while he didn’t know what was happening and didn’t pretend to by reading random pages from the script he did put in a full complaint and have the issue escalated to the I.T team, but we have been here before and nothing has been fixed? So we will wait and see. Steve then passed me onto the ‘At Home Team” who when they gave me a new password, and talked me through how to change it to something I would remember as f3JKmNM45E just was not sinking in, no matter how much revision I did. I encounted a problem, the ‘At Home’ links would transfer me back to the online system, and lock me out of the “At Home” page.

Now remember they are the same company, but what happened was I was passed back and forth from the “At Home” agent to the “Normal 191” agent, both parties saying that it was the other systems fault. The reason why my “At Home” had been deactivated was due to my online one being deactivated, and the “191” agent saying that ‘At Home” account has nothing to do with you other online account” I decided to leave it there, as eventually the “At Home” team was going to let their I.T guy know about it called and this is no joke ‘Jeff’ well I think it was ‘Jeff’ with ‘J’ and not a ‘G’ I didn’t ask for conformation of this.

So we will see what happens when Steve phones me back next week to confirm the issue of the online account and Jeff phones me to tell me whats happening with the “At Home” account.

I’m sure Vodafone will be making yet another entry into this blog when as I predict the issue is not fixed.

Putting the phone down after 16 years?

Writing this after just putting the phone down to a 191 agent at Vodafone, and to be honest I feel like putting my phone down on there service and walking away from the company after sixteen years of business, as Pay as You Go and contract.
It all started seven months ago where my paper billing was cancelled. But I need paper billing I said. I am freelance and need a paper record.
We will charge you £1.50 then.
You will do what? I don’t think so. You can take the cost of my bill down.
It doesn’t work like that Sir.
Well how does it work??? I want paper bills and do not want to pay for them, I am already paying for the service and network, surly that should cover the bills.
Eventually I won. Over the next few months the bills would pop on the door mate, and then one month, nothing. Not a single bill. I phoned and was informed that the option had been removed. I got it reinstated, only for it not to appear. They sent me copies, but the originals never arrived. I got told different things from the call advisors, eventually the issue after five months had been fixed, until Christmas Eve.
I went to log on to my account and it had been deactivated. I activated it, and it worked. Next day it had been deactivated, so I activated it, and phoned 191 to see why it had happened. So began the four days of terror, of speaking to people in Egypt (they could have been anywhere and it would have been hell) who refused to let me speak to a manger, who did not know what was happening, who said that they had reset the account and it will work. It will work for a day, but I will be phoning up again tomorrow. Sorry Sir, but you won’t. I think you’ll find I will. I even used the phase the customer is always right.
I should explain that the hell factor was mainly down to the language barrier and not just because the call centre was a country on the North East of Africa, even if it had got through to Stoke-on-Trent the past 4 days would have still been unpleasant, but bearable as they have grasp of the English Tongue, not much of a grasp more like a pinch of the language.
Anyway back to the story. I had left with saying I would be phoning back as the issue would not be fixed, with the advisor assuring me I wouldn’t need to make the call. However I did, and again, and the following day, and again. The issue is still not fixed. There seems to be no one in the UK answering calls, and if Vodafone move to sending all calls over to Egypt with there fake American Voices and the ‘Good Old USA’ way of dealing with you, then I will be choosing a different operator. (I know Egypt is not part of the US, but the call centre staff have adopted the American way)
Every single person I spoke to was like “Hello Sir” “Good Day” “ Please let me help you” “We do care as a company” Well you don’t, otherwise you would of sorted this out, and I have let you have ten minutes trying to help me, of which you have failed so let me speak to some one who knows what there doing.
If this issue does not get sorted and I hope it is, otherwise I will be trawling the websites to find a good network provider who has call centres in the UK. I don’t know why this is so important to me, but I know when I use to phone Virgin, and end up speaking to someone in India it was the language barrier that proved to be a huge hill. The person didn’t even know what the West Coast Mainline was, or what Euston was. Surly in order to have customer service people, who can delivery good service it is important they have a first hand knowledge of the place of origin. But now it is reading of a script and clicking yes or no on the screen to get to the next page of the pre-written blurb that does not place the customer first. I am also annoyed at Vodafone like HSBC who seem to be able to walk away from their tax liability. I wish I could do that.
Anyway in other news I am now running 5K in less than twenty-five minutes, my father being ever the supporter reckons I am having a laugh if I can complete the 10k in under an hour. I will be hitting the gym nice and hard this week, and will be stepping up the training program just wish the fund raising would step up a gear (hint hint)