A Classic example of how not to gain new customers - Business Coaching in Guildford
28th January 2011
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Having suffered several months of slow, intermittent and occasionally no broadband signal with Virgin, I finally reached the end of my tether this week when my Internet was once again down and I was quoted 5 days before it would be back up.

With steely resolve I called BT and was attracted by their deal of 40Mb Broadband, plus phone line plus BT OpenZone (WIFI anywhere in the UK) – the price was £36 a month with the first three months at £25 – on top of this I was told that I probably wouldn’t need and engineer as there is already a BYT line in my house as well as a Virgin cable line but that even if I did, I would not be charged anything under a new promotion. Finally to add icing to the cake I was to be given a wireless/modem/router absolutely free – I was actually offered McFee anti virus s well ,apparently worth £49 – but I’m an AVG mas so I’d have preferred the £49!

Anyhow … armed with all the above info I decided today was the day – I called Virgin and despite their best efforts to hang on to me, I was totally resolved, a disconnection was arranged and I simply needed to call BT to arrange connection on the same day (according to the BT sales person earlier).

From this point on, this is where BT seemingly did their best to ensure that I did not join them! Surprising, well yes it is, but let me explain.

-1   Upon getting back to BT and instructing them to go ahead I was then told that the earliest connection date would be in 8 to 10 weeks time. ‘You’re kidding!” I said – you’re honestly telling me that you want me to defect from cable to you but that you can’t get me going for two and half months – why? Because you’re very busy and don’t have enough engineers!
Well further protestation and discussion, brought this time scale down to 6 weeks, but still not acceptable – I was already 50% turned off at this time  (BT .. new customers, especially defecting ones are vital to you, they are you’re life blood for heaven’s sake make it a priority to have enough engineers to connect new customers instantly! it’s common sense!!)

-2 Begrudgingly accepting the six week start date and wondering what sort of an outfit I was signing up with, I was then told during the contract explanation that if I did have the ‘FREE’ engineer I’d have to ensure that I made at least 10 calls per month to a charged number (i.e. : mobile etc. which was outside my anytime deal) otherwise I’d be charged around £6 extra per month. My buying urge was now down to about 20% - what sort of a stupid petty rule was this – how was I going to remember each month to make those calls and if I didn’t and ended up paying the extra £6, by the end of my 18 month term I’d have ended up paying £100+ for the ‘FREE’ engineers visit. (BT .. petty charges that irritate customers are counter-productive, far from raising more revenue they simply lose you the big earner)

-3 The above two points aside, it was then explained to me, that in order to enjoy the ‘FREE’ modem/router I must ensure that I made 3 FREE calls per month, now this is probably quite achievable and no big deal but once again it’s an irritating, niggling little condition which basically in my case clinched my resignation to forget about ever migrating to BT – I promptly went back to Virgin and agreed to a new 1 year contract with them in the hope that things would improve – my internet was by the way back up and running.

I really don’t understand how BT managed to dissuade a customer like me who had resolved to join them, come what may – I can only assume that their sales policy and contractual conditions was dreamt up by some penny pinching accountant focused solely on margin and costs as opposed to the hand that feeds the business – new customers.

And this is where I must stand on a Soapbox ! Accurate accounts and cost control are of course vital in any organisation, especially as it grows, however, never lose sight of the fact that Sales – (i.e. : new paying customer) are and will always be the life blood of any business.
Everything a business says and does should be geared towards ensuring that this vital pipeline keeps flowing.

I tried to ‘flow’ into BT, but with their totally unrealistic connection times and their petty, irritating conditions they managed to spit me out at the final stages!

Action Coach - Business Coaching and advice


About the Author

Sally Castro

Member since: 28th May 2012

56, married, 3 children - passionate about all things local! Owner of the bestofguildford site, keen supporter of Guildford Rugby Club... serial networker

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