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  1. #1

    Default Sky Broadband - A Workers View

    Part One

    Hello there,

    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...

    Pre-Registration


    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.

    Initial Activation


    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.

    'Corporate Sabotage'


    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.
    Last edited by Mark.J; 05-10-2006 at 09:47 AM.

  2. #2

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    Part Two

    The Present


    Things are starting to get back on track. People still aren't happy as they're being forced in to jobs, i.e. inbound, with no real explanation. It's still not the greatest place to work but things are starting to right themselves. [REMOVED BY ADMIN]. Until now I've tried to remain calm and unbiased, but now I'd like to rant.

    Management here sucks. Their decisions they make impede the progress of orders and generally they know less than people who earn less than them, how is that justifiable? While I write this, a member of management is belittling a colleague for no real reason, purely because the colleague is trying to help a customer more than is deemed acceptable by the team managers.

    Currently management have broken down our teams in to small groups, which they feel will get more tasks done with a quicker turnaround. In reality,it's builing up tension between colleagues who are now classed as 'elite' and those who are 'bog standard' along with also slowing down the backlog of work. Router chase up processes are terrible and aren't fool proof and our actual systems to process and track orders are nothing more than a glorified Post-It Note.

    The main call centre in Scotland are renowned for being ******** who mess up orders that are almost complete after two months and I believe many of their staff are having system privileges removed. A prime example of them messing something up was the case of Mrs X, who when speaking to a rather rude agent said 'If you talk to me like that, I'm going to cancel my order' her husband then said 'Cancel the lot' in the background. The agent then cancelled the order, in it's final stages, after two months of delay. Prrrriiiick. It's safe to say this customer is completely mortified after speaking to her for nearly an hour.

    The Indian call centre might as well not exist. Having the hardest accents to understand it's a nightmare to work with. And this is Tier 1 Tech Support, how the hell can they solve anything, it's absoloutely ******* ridiculous. Rumour is, they have just been transferring unrelated calls to my department, just because they can't be arsed, or something along those lines.

    If I'm honest, don't go with Sky, go with NTL, and if you can avoid all of them go to Vispa or someone like that, at least there you might be given some idea of a turnaround.

    Any questions, feel free to ask, I'd quite like to hear what gripes anyone may have.
    Last edited by Mark.J; 05-10-2006 at 09:48 AM.

  3. #3
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    Very, very interesting, many thanks for the insight.

    Personally I wouldn't touch anything owned by Rupert.

  4. #4
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    Moved to the correct forum (SkyDSL is a different satellite ISP).
    Mark 'Winter' Jackson
    Editor-in-Chief - ISPreview.co.uk

  5. #5
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    Very interesting indeed.

    Many thanks for that madskyworker, and a very warm welcome to the ISPr forums!

    Despite all that you've been through it looks like your sense of humour is still very much intact!

    A thoroughly enjoyable read - you should start a blog!
    Powered by Sky Broadband!

  6. #6

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    Thanks for that madskyworker. I made the stupid mistake of cancelling with Zen Internet to move to Sky who never managed to connect me in the end. Now i've cancelled with Sky but can't get a CEASE order or MAC code issued - i've even emailed Mr Murdoch!

    I'm stuck in internet limbo, as are many others (see http://www.skyuser.co.uk/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=49). If you sort me out i'll buy you a cake.

    Last edited by Neko_Basketcase; 03-10-2006 at 08:06 PM.

  7. #7

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    hey, yea that's another problem that sky seem to face, the two systems we use, chordiant (the WORST program ever) and penfold never communicate properly with each other and BT's systems (LiSA and Hector for those who care) so what happens is an order appears to be active in one but cancelled in the other.

    When this happens it's like the order has never existed but damage has been done. So it's like, how can we fix this if there's nothing visible to fix. And thus begins the order circulating between departments.

    Basically now, Sky have set up a team called the Service Recovery Team, which was in place as of monday, and basically there job is to sort such problem orders, so I would assume your cease will be finished very soon.

    Still, what a load of rubbish.

    Can I ask, has anyone ever been told by an agent that a callback would be set for them?

  8. #8
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    Hi madskyworker,

    I can appriciate where your coming from trying to help people but unable to due to the straight jacket systems they have in place, I used to work for Giointernet (please dont everyone spit at me at the same time) where I couldnt help as much as I wanted to or should of been able to.

    Why don't you try and get a job at a different ISP sounds like you have the training to do provisions, LiSA is the LLU provisioning and I would presume Hector will deal with the IPStream products.
    Unlimited-dsl what a ISP.

    Quote Originally Posted by unlimited-dsl View Post

    so if this hasnt been done, not my problem

    Regards,

    Darren

  9. #9
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    Your systems at sky are also awful.
    There is no online system for changing details, and your customer service dept's are clueless.

    A relative left the country recently and gave us their remaining sky subscription. We wanted to change some packages from sky sports to sky movies, and was tol after a long wait and being put on hold that they could not do this. We asked what our options were and they did not have any contigencies for this situation. So we are stuck with a sky package we cannot change, and therefore cannot register sky broadband either, not having any access to the account.

    Now, a representative outside the local asda had a clue.
    He told us to basically take advantage of skys negligence.

    So after the package runs out, we will simply re-register as a new identity and get another sky box for free.

    Anyway, its good we do not have access to the account since it seems sky broadband does not offer support as good as Ukonline.

    By the way madskyworker, is the 24*7 support from sky broadband a seperate entity from the ukonline 24*7 support?

    Since from my experience the ukonline staff are really knowledgable.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by ManOfMeans View Post
    Hi madskyworker,

    I can appriciate where your coming from trying to help people but unable to due to the straight jacket systems they have in place, I used to work for Giointernet (please dont everyone spit at me at the same time) where I couldnt help as much as I wanted to or should of been able to.

    Why don't you try and get a job at a different ISP sounds like you have the training to do provisions, LiSA is the LLU provisioning and I would presume Hector will deal with the IPStream products.
    Unfortunately I don't know anything really about LiSA or Hector, any issues with that are dealt by BT Openreach in Leeds, who will try and stitch you up whenever possible.

    And yes, I need a different job if it doesn't improve sharply haha

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