First things first, I would like to point out that I am a member of Sky Broadband order status, which if you call 08705 515515 (£££) and then press option 2, option 1, you may be lucky to speak to me or some of my disgruntled colleagues. Unfortunately I won't give you my name from fear of the company, but if you get in to a heated debate about the state of Sky it could be me.
Secondly, I'd like to shed some truth from the perspective of an irate member of staff. What I plan to include in this complaint is 100% fact and of my own opinion, I'm not going to sugar coat anything to try and boost anyones opinions of Sky. Hopefully this will allow those of you considering to get the product, an idea of what's going on, and those of you who are waiting for it, some light shed on a grim matter.
Anyways, let us go back to the beginning...
I myself, have not been an employee of Sky for much more than 2 months, so a lot of issues had occurred before I'd even started there. If you'd all like to cast your minds back to the hazy days of August '06, I will begin. This is the month Sky began to roll out their broadband advertising via TV and publications. At this point, the actual networks (which were originally ran by Easynet) were still in a stage of last minute tweaking, so many people in my workplace underwent the pre-registration process.
Essentially, this process would be to just take some customer details, and then have a small pack of information sent out to them. TWO problems with this, by doing this on the website, a poorly written website I might add, many customers were under the impression that they had actually registered for the service, rather than register their interest. Secondly, the packs which were promised, never actually arrived at their locations. Even now, and this is the beginning of October, customers are still calling asking where their regestration packs are or why has no one ever contacted them. Our answer is something along the lines of 'Errrm'. In all honesty, none of us have an idea what happened, who the requests for packs were sent to and if anyone actually recieved anything, ever.
So the end of August arrived, a lovely time indeed. Many of us had just undergone our training for Sky Broadband Provisioning, this included lot's of information on Sky Talk, and Sky HD, which in hindsight, even the top bollock of Sky said 'We have no idea why we trained you all for that as it proved utterly pointless and money consuming'. Ah, awesome, at least we got paid for a few weeks of nothing though. So began our actual jobs however when we plunged in to it with the most fleeting knowledge of the systems, systems we later realised are completely useless.
For those of you who don't know, at the time, Sky Order Status was broken down in to two teams, Inbound calls (aka complaints in our eyes) and Provisioning (liaison with BT). I applied for the job to do Provisioning. The role of this basically being, checking the status of orders, resubmitting orders, following up orders etc. Basically, if anything went wrong with the order we would sort it out.
Inbounds job would be direct contact with the customer, telling customers the status of orders and activation dates and chasing up the routers that Sky were going to give for FREE to each customer. Right...
What a fiasco...
Us in Provisioning, dropped in to the job with no idea what's happening. Backed up by a web based piece of software to control orders and another piece of software (Chordiant) which Sky use everywhere but looks like it was designed by an AS Level computing student. Hugely unstable, and seemed to lack contact with our other software. It's like being left in a cage of tigers with a bar of soap for a weapon. Generally it was smooth running though, not entirely sure how, this was until Inbound took a sudden turn.
With the increased call volume ([REMOVED BY ADMIN]) and an extreme amount of irate customers, many people upped and left, leaving us in the proverbial ****.
Also, we seemed to be lacking routers to send out, you know, the pretty important part of the deal. A manifest to track said routers was created, this seemed to be missing all the routers of customers that still required them. This situation was starting to get out of hand, and no resolution could be given to the customers. As an apology from Sky, many customers were given a free months subscription or reimbursed on their TV package, but this didnt still make up for the fact that some customers still had no broadband for over a month, some even two.
The Next Stage
With many members of staff walking out the door (I believe 25 in one week) and an increasing call volume, many of us from provisioning were moved on to inbound calling repeatedly, again this is where things start getting worse. Basically plunged in to another job with no real training or anything we were told to take calls from customers. If during September you spoke to an English call centre and the agent had no idea what to do about your problem, apologies, but please, blame management.
Coupled with pretty much no help from management and no shouting or screaming getting us anywhere, led to a very depressed workplace which couldn't really off any resolutions to customers who called.
Left to our own devices, a method of getting routers sent out to customers was designed and seemed to work pretty well, at the moment, if you are waiting for a router to be sent out and you've been messed around, this system is still in place. A system which basically involves emailing someone, who emails someone else and then hopefully everything works out. Generally, it does however it's not too reassuring to colleagues or customers.
The main problem many customers find is that they will contact our call centre asking what's happening with their order. Generally our answer is 'The order is in a state of PFO (Progressing Firm Order)' which is fine. The reason for this usually stems back to BT, which is where all kind of fun and games begin.
For those of you that don't know, Sky purchased Easynet who also ran UK Online. Easynet own equipment and rent space in BT's exchanges. However, all broadband connections are undertaken by BT engineers. Often the orders are in delay [REMOVED BY ADMIN], far more than BT or Sky had anticipated, but we also believe that BT aren't being overly cooperative as at the end of the day, we're major competition. But that might just be a rumour. However, whenever we spoke to BT Openreach, BT's own call centre to help us track problems, we found that one question, asked to four agents would pose four different answers. Not helpful to us, definately not helpful to you if you're waiting for your line to go live. BT then also requested that we stopped calling Openreach and orders would pretty much be 'done when they're done' so to speak. Currently this is being investigated further, I also believe OFCOM maybe involved very soon.
Admittedly, from a company perspective, this is absoloute bollocks to here, but I would ask if customers would please bear with us when we say 'There's a delay at the exchange', we're not lying and it is completely out of our hands.
Another problem we've come across is that if you live in certain areas, you may be affected by faulty BT Telephone Exchanges. This is even worse, in technical terms, it'll be fixed when it's fixed so the orders will be done when they're done. BT seem to be unwilling to give us any sort of time frame, which of course, we then can't relay this to a customer. It's one massive nightmare that will really only be sorted when BT get their arse in gear. For example, if you live in Twickenham and its surrounding areas (the LWKNE exchange), sorry, but when/if you get broadband from us, it will actually be an act of God.