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Are VM frontline staff now discouraged from escalating customer issues?
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Old 20-10-2017, 22:00   #16
Paul M
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Re: Are VM frontline staff now discouraged from escalating customer issues?

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Originally Posted by RichardCoulter View Post
I escelated this to senior level and invited them to form their own judgement after listening to the recording. They agreed that the agent behaved inappropriately, took action to deal with him and compensated me
Its a pity VM managers are as spineless as they sound.

You really must be the most incredibly unlucky person in the world, getting all these "rude/disrespectful/immature" agents all the time.

I wonder what (or who) is the common factor in all these incidents you suffer.
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Old 20-10-2017, 22:11   #17
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Re: Are VM frontline staff now discouraged from escalating customer issues?

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Originally Posted by Paul M View Post
Its a pity VM managers are as spineless as they sound.

You really must be the most incredibly unlucky person in the world, getting all these "rude/disrespectful/immature" agents all the time.

I wonder what (or who) is the common factor in all these incidents you suffer.
The recorded facts canny lie.

As I said to Hugh, I couldn't fill a hand with the number of times that i've had to escelate matters in nearly twenty years. The vast majority of (UK based) people I've dealt with have been wonderful, but it only takes a few rotten eggs to tarnish an organisation and these people need to shape up or ship out.

I know of a hotel where a minority of bad staff led to its closure, unfortunately all the decent hard working staff were made redundant as well

If only it had been nipped in the bud earlier.
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Old 20-10-2017, 22:55   #18
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Re: Are VM frontline staff now discouraged from escalating customer issues?

When I worked in a call center for a well known mobile phone provider it was frowned upon to escalate a matter to a supervisor or anyone higher the attitude towards agents were if an agent escalates then the agent is not doing their job properly and would be discouraged from doing so therefore as it is expected for the first line agents to sort everything out.
Sometimes supervisors etc would refuse to accept an escalation leaving customers livid and the agent getting an ear bashing from the customer and employer for asking for an escalation. I have seen agents reduced to tears it can be a very difficult and stressful job.
Also I wonder if they just wanted to get you off the phone not to be disrespectful to you but so that they could reach their calls handled target? Where I was if a call exceeded a certain time regardless of how complex the call maybe the call handler would be penalised.
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Old 20-10-2017, 23:41   #19
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Re: Are VM frontline staff now discouraged from escalating customer issues?

Thanks for the insight dodgem; I rather suspect that this is something along the lines as to what's now going on since John Malone's LG purchased the company.

He's well known for sweating his assets, sounds like he's sweating his employees too
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Old 21-10-2017, 00:30   #20
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Re: Are VM frontline staff now discouraged from escalating customer issues?

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Originally Posted by RichardCoulter View Post
Thanks for the insight dodgem; I rather suspect that this is something along the lines as to what's now going on since John Malone's LG purchased the company.

He's well known for sweating his assets, sounds like he's sweating his employees too
Richard, you expect everyone at work to be perfect. This is unreasonable. Do you think you are perfect? I suspect you do. But the reality is that none of us are. A little tolerence goes a long way.

I have dealt with customer services from time to time with different cable companies over 20 odd years. They have been friendly and helpful and so much better than BT (although I am sure things at BT have changed in recent times).

I think that one's own attitude is important if trying to get an issue resolved. I do believe that continued problems with Virgin Media Customer Services may indicate that the problem lies with the complainant. As a general rule, at least.

Blaming John Malone for your problems I think is a bit of a stretch. I don't think he has a personal grudge against you. I note that you don't have much regard for Rupert Murdoch either. I think perhaps there is a pattern here.

Sorry, I have tried to be quiet on this since your last outburst towards me, but someone must stand up for people who are doing their best to provide you with a service. I pay tribute to them because they get a lot of grief and yet start their next call as if nothing had happened. But I suppose that someone who is hell bent on getting compensation for relatively minor problems is not going to care an awful lot for those who are trying hard to deal reasonably with a particular issue.

If we could now stop slagging off VM employees who are just trying to do their jobs, this would be appreciated I suspect by most right thinking people.

Once again, my apologies for any upset, but it has to be said.
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Old 21-10-2017, 05:23   #21
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Re: Are VM frontline staff now discouraged from escalating customer issues?

I'm not sure which outburst you are referring to, but it appears that it is you that is prone to these.

To address your points, I most certainly am not perfect (it would be impossible to be so after suffering a brain injury). My mantra has always been that if someone is not up to the job, then they must go and this applies to me as much as anybody else. Thus, I now only work part time.

I too have dealt with cable CS for about 20 years and, like yourself, found the vast majority of staff to be polite, helpful, respectful and friendly. However, as previously explained, a professional would not resort to being awkward, rude or treating anybody who met with their displeasure less favourably. Circumstances where this behaviour would ever be appropriate simply do not exist and, in fact, may be illegal in some cases.

VM, however, have a duty to protect their staff from abuse, threats etc and will have policies in place to deal with this. Staff would be expected to follow said practices and not resort to the behaviour referred to above.

As you can see, even though you (and others) have implied that somehow my "attitude" was at fault, you have no basis for suggesting this. Nevertheless, even if this were to be correct, staff should behave like a professional adult at all times. I can also confirm that, upon listening to the recordings, management have at no time made any suggestion that I had behaved improperly or that my "attitude" was at fault in any way.

I don't think that you genuinely believe that I think that John Malone is deliberately targeting myself, this is just plain silly.

What I do believe is that since LG bought VM, staff are being pressurised into not escalating customer problems, even where appropriate. It is interesting to note that none have posted in here to confirm or deny my suspicions, although dodgem 22 kindly gave some insight into the workings of a modern day call centre.

In the modern day workplace people are under a lot of pressure to meet targets set by their employers; this applies to the 999 service, right through to VM. The vast majority do so impeccably and I have at no time "slagged off", as you crudely put it, any VM employee.

Again, as previously stated, I could not count on one hand the amount of times that I have had to escelate any issues to senior management over a period spanning two decades.

You are within your rights not to request compensation for a total loss of service, but I believe that most people would do so after being asked for an ever increasing amount of money every month. It is also astute business practice to offer something to say sorry and maintain customer goodwill.

I have a feeling that someone is following this thread as i've now also been offered the Sky Movie suite of channels on a complimentary basis for a period of time!

This is good business practice and benefits everyone concerned; I am recompensed for the various issues that shouldn't have happened in the first place, VM continue to make a lot of money from me and our business and the employee in question gets some refresher training (AKA attitude adjustment!), so will find her job easier and more enjoyable.

I'm a little concerned at your use of the term "right thinking", considering one of my disabilities, but you do appear to enjoy stirring things up at times, not all the time though, as noted by myself and other members in various threads.

It must be assumed that blowing this up out of all proportion and making false accusations is simply another one of those occasions.

I do hope that we can now get back to discussing the salient point of this thread as opposed to the OP who happened to create it and that I have covered all the points that you raised and alleviated any misunderstandings.
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Old 21-10-2017, 09:21   #22
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Re: Are VM frontline staff now discouraged from escalating customer issues?

Hugely entertained by this thread. Never had any issues with Virgin myself, dealing with my own account and on behalf of my parents I've had plenty of contact over the years. Haven't always got the outcome I wanted (free upgrades or discounts) but can't fault the staff for playing the game.

In reality yes, almost every customer service organisation will have an aim/target/aspiration/KPI to resolve complaints at first contact. That's not unique to Virgin.

I have worked as a customer service manager (not for VM). The number of frivilous complaints and unpleasant members of the public who just need to be told twice was quite high, if not the most effective use of my time.
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Old 21-10-2017, 14:19   #23
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Re: Are VM frontline staff now discouraged from escalating customer issues?

Thanks for adding some more insight from a management perspective; much appreciated.

Research has found that customers often feel better if something is reaffirmed by someone in higher authority, even if the answer is exactly the same.

Can I ask if you would find it acceptable to find your staff tutting, sighing or refusing to escelate any issue to yourself at the insistence of the caller?

Last edited by RichardCoulter; 21-10-2017 at 15:08.
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Old 21-10-2017, 19:10   #24
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Re: Are VM frontline staff now discouraged from escalating customer issues?

Just watched my recording of yesterday's Rip Off Britain.

A VM customer found that VM had been taking an extra Direct Debit from his account for 8 per month for the last three years, leading to a total overpayment of 272.

He was messed about for some time before VM offered him a 50% refund

When he called to accept the offer (I wouldn't have accepted it, but perhaps he just wanted to get the issue resolved), incredibly, he was told "that offer has now expired"

It's not known if he asked for the matter to be escelated, but he was eventually refunded the full amount of 272 after the BBC consumer programme intervened.

I've also been chatting on the phone today to a friend who works in a mobile phone call centre. Amongst the things we discussed was why people have to do the annoying press 2, press 3, press 5 etc thing.

I said that I assumed that it was to direct each particular type of query to someone who specialised in that area. He said that he didn't know why they did this as all types of calls ended up being routed to the same team of people anyway!

Does anyone else know the answer? All I can think of is that it's to give the impression that the customer is progressing through the system in order to get their call dealt with, when in reality it's just a stalling tactic to give CS staff more time to clear any existing calls that they are currently working on.

Last edited by RichardCoulter; 21-10-2017 at 19:16.
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Old 21-10-2017, 19:25   #25
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Re: Are VM frontline staff now discouraged from escalating customer issues?

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Originally Posted by RichardCoulter View Post
I've also been chatting on the phone today to a friend who works in a mobile phone call centre. Amongst the things we discussed was why people have to do the annoying press 2, press 3, press 5 etc thing.

I said that I assumed that it was to direct each particular type of query to someone who specialised in that area. He said that he didn't know why they did this as all types of calls ended up being routed to the same team of people anyway!
At VM it does affect the team you are routed to, but even if it didn't, it still gives the agent information about who you are and why you are calling, so it shortens the length of the call. And many calls can be handled completely automatically so you don't need to speak to anybody.
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Old 21-10-2017, 19:31   #26
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Re: Are VM frontline staff now discouraged from escalating customer issues?

Cheers SP, helpful as always
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Old 21-10-2017, 20:04   #27
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Re: Are VM frontline staff now discouraged from escalating customer issues?

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Seriously ?

I'm amazed anyone helps you tbh, if you tried to "correct" me you would be told where to go.
'You' wouldn't need correcting if 'you' gave the correct information in the first place.
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Old 21-10-2017, 20:45   #28
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Re: Are VM frontline staff now discouraged from escalating customer issues?

With regards pressing the option numbers for various departments where I worked these did route you to various departments. In all cases however the system would also automatically read the incoming number anyway and if it was a new connection it would send your call to my department regardless of what was pressed or if the system recognised the number as a high spending customer it would route the call to a special VIP department where the calls would be taken much quicker and agents able to do more for the customer than other departments. Most customers have no idea that depending on what they spend can influence who they talk to lol. Makes business sense I guess.
The system would also have markers for customers if they have been difficult or abusive in the past so the agent as a heads up as they answer. Also it would say how often customer calls as we had a right first time policy if the customer had to call back again within a certain time frame it would be a black mark against the call handler. No idea if VM has these systems in place as it was a different mobile provider I worked for.

Last edited by dodgem22; 21-10-2017 at 20:50.
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Old 21-10-2017, 21:51   #29
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Re: Are VM frontline staff now discouraged from escalating customer issues?

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Originally Posted by RichardCoulter View Post
Thanks for adding some more insight from a management perspective; much appreciated.

Research has found that customers often feel better if something is reaffirmed by someone in higher authority, even if the answer is exactly the same.

Can I ask if you would find it acceptable to find your staff tutting, sighing or refusing to escelate any issue to yourself at the insistence of the caller?
It was a face to face environment but in my experience while not absolutely refusing to escalate matters it was certainly not the case that "I want to speak to a manager" led to member of staff coming to get me to deal with it.

My organisation appropriately trains it's staff to deal with enquiries and complaints. In the first instance staff would be encouraged to explain the situation and why a manager isn't going to change that.

While it make people "feel better" that I tell them instead of a subordinate I bring you back to my previous point about adequate use of time and resource. If everyone who asked to speak to a manager was handed to me I'd have got literally nothing else done.

I do however think that it's amateurish in a call centre that, no matter how much disdain you hold for the person on the other end of the phone, you cannot conceal it given you are only heard on a crackly telephone line.
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Old 21-10-2017, 21:54   #30
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Re: Are VM frontline staff now discouraged from escalating customer issues?

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Originally Posted by dodgem22 View Post
With regards pressing the option numbers for various departments where I worked these did route you to various departments. In all cases however the system would also automatically read the incoming number anyway and if it was a new connection it would send your call to my department regardless of what was pressed or if the system recognised the number as a high spending customer it would route the call to a special VIP department where the calls would be taken much quicker and agents able to do more for the customer than other departments. Most customers have no idea that depending on what they spend can influence who they talk to lol. Makes business sense I guess.
The system would also have markers for customers if they have been difficult or abusive in the past so the agent as a heads up as they answer. Also it would say how often customer calls as we had a right first time policy if the customer had to call back again within a certain time frame it would be a black mark against the call handler. No idea if VM has these systems in place as it was a different mobile provider I worked for.

Have you ever tried using commas?
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