back to article The award for worst ISP goes to... it starts with Talk and ends with Talk

Beleaguered ISP TalkTalk has once again been named worst UK internet provider in a biannual survey of providers by consumer charity Which? For the fifth time the provider has come out as worst Brit ISP in a poll of 1,700 customers, raking in a satisfaction score of just 40 per cent. Users said slow speeds, frequent connection …

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"We strive to give customers the best possible experience...

... by outsourcing our customer service to Indian call centres."

How does one utter such bilge with a straight face? It's either a bizarre genetic mutation or they stick their heads in a bucket of botox for half an hour.

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Re: "We strive to give customers the best possible experience...

How does one utter such bilge with a straight face? It's either a bizarre genetic mutation or they stick their heads in a bucket of botox for half an hour.

Not sure. But we could find out by checking with other champions of shit customer service. You know, the crap companies that are always in trouble, always bottom of the league tables in their respective sectors, like Npower, Capita, Ryanair, Southern Trains, Sports Direct. There's clearly a lot of hard work these companies put into being the worst, often in sectors where there's plenty of challengers for the title.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "We strive to give customers the best possible experience...

"We strive to give customers the best possible experience...

... by outsourcing our customer service to Indian call centres (and trousering our six/seven figure salaries, hurrah!)."

FTFY

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Re: "We strive to give customers the best possible experience...

The companies at the bottom of these lists just don't give a toss. They will spout some crap about how much they love your business and want to do right by you. But when all is said and done they can offer a crap service and people still buy it, I imagine the CEOs spend quite a lot of time laughing their arses off.

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Re: "We strive to give customers the best possible experience...

How does one utter such bilge with a straight face?

With a big fat salary in their hip pocket?

Consider it a 5 minute acting job...

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Re: "We strive to give customers the best possible experience...

And here's the full list to rub in the difference between the best and worst. Posted (smirk) through Zen ;-)

1. Zen Internet 85% (86%)

2. Utility Warehouse 76% (81%)

3. SSE 68% (66%)

4. John Lewis Broadband 66% (68%)

5. Plusnet 63% (65%)

6. Virgin Media 54% (52%)

7. EE 53% (48%)

8. Vodafone 49% (50%)

9. Post Office 47% (48%)

10. BT 46% (45%)

11. Sky Broadband 45% (49%)

12. TalkTalk 40% (38%)

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Re: "We strive to give customers the best possible experience...

Our ISP is also small (and perfectly formed). Been with them since 2004/5. Would rate them 100%.

Always get to speak to someone who knows what's what (not a call centre agent). They always call back when they promise.

The service is still delivered via BT's infrastructure, but if there's a problem, they kick BT for us until it's fixed. That's how we discovered BT had outsourced their core network support to India as well as the 'retail' side.

Who are they?

Beaming in Hastings.

Tell Steve I recommended them.

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Unhappy

The companies at the bottom of these lists just don't give a toss.

Correct.

They, like banks and utility companies rely on customer inertia.

Because they know it works.

This will continue while they can retain customers by just bribing them for the (small) group who decide to change.

British readers. You get get the service you push for. While very few of you will push that will not change.

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Re: "We strive to give customers the best possible experience...

It doesn't say they succeed, only that they strive. It doesn't say that their strivings have any chance of success, only that they strive.

Before I figured out the trick*, for many years my haemorrhoids meant that most days I had to strive mightily to have a shit. Striving and succeeding in a timely fashion are two different things.

*I realized I was suffering from chilli deficiency. Chillis irritate the intestines, so they secrete mucous. Which makes the shit softer. Which means it can pass through constrictions more easily. So chillis act as what doctors politely call a "stool softener" (with the amount of chillis I eat, it's more like a park bench softener). Only downside is a fit of coughing can result in a penguin walk home for a change of underwear.

Mine's the one with some Carolina Reapers in the pocket.

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Re: "We strive to give customers the best possible experience...

Is this just a truth - or do you work for Beaming? The CEO perhaps? We should be told - before the government dreams up some new regulations - fake news anyone? Sigh.

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Re: "We strive to give customers the best possible experience...

i can not believe SSE is number 3, heard a lot of bad things about them. I am with Plusnetg and had a major problem a few weeks back, still have a problem, but at the moment it is working fine. Plusnet customer service was pretty good the problem is more to do with a BTOR network problem.

I have been with Plujsnet for over 2 years and to be honest most of the time they have been fine.

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Coffee/keyboard

Re: "We strive @ handleoclast

Mine's the one with some Carolina Reapers in the pocket.

Post of the week sir!

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WTF?

Re: "We strive to give customers the best possible experience...

You got to be jesting, VM @ no.6, WTF did they pay off to get that high ?

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Re: "We strive to give customers the best possible experience...

Are you sure that Sky should be so high up on that scale? My experience is that Sky was a lot worse than TalkTalk.

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Re: "We strive to give customers the best possible experience...

always bottom of the league tables in their respective sectors, like Npower, Capita, Ryanair, Southern Trains, Sports Direct.

You forgot Microsoft, their support is crap ... like, when you have to explain the poor support fellow how the software he is supposed to support ACTUALLY functions ... that is, when you get a guy competent enough to understand your query ,,,

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Someome needs to tell

Their aggressive chuggers then.

They tell everyone it's the best thing since sliced bread and the service is wonderful.

Of course, the chuggers are "offshored" to other companies and don't even work for Talk Talk.

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Re: Someome needs to tell

>>Their aggressive chuggers then.

I don't think they're chuggers if it's not a charity (chugger = charity mugger). Or is that what's happening here? Is TalkTalk a charity outreach program for incompetent CEOs who would die in the real world? Now that I could believe.

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Re: Someome needs to tell

Whose aggressive chuggers?

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Re: Someome needs to tell

I am glad I am not the only one who think they are aggressive, I saw one chase someone in town to get their attention. When they approached me once I told then I could not use a company which was hacked by someone so young.

I would not go with Talk Talk if they was the last provider in the UK.

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Anonymous Coward

Is the Pope catholic ?

I'd like to curse Michael O'Leary with only ever being able to use Talktalk and see how he likes it.

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Anonymous Coward

I'd like to curse Michael O'Leary with only ever being able to use Talktalk and see how he likes it.

Why? I quite like the way he introduces X Factor.

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"Why? I quite like the way he introduces X Factor."

I know, it's odd to say that. I mean, if it it was Dermot O'Leary I'd understand. He's made a balls out of that Ryaniar company so he has.

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I wonder how much having to advertise their rank in this on all advertising material in a large font would focus minds?

eg:

TALK TALK only £X/month

Worst customer service 2017

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Anonymous Coward

I wonder how much having to advertise their rank in this on all advertising material in a large font would focus minds?

They'd just use that as an opportunity to charge people more, with options like "Your data held securely - £15.00 a month extra", "Customer service centre in the UK - £20 a month extra", "Fewer random disconnections - £5.00 a month extra". All caveated with a best endeavours, no guarantees clause.

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They already do!

Though I've never had problems with Sky (but apparently they do on their BT reseller option links), they are now advertising how they don't get congestion due to some "magic sauce". I've not paid enough attention to the add to know if they charge extra for it though.

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I am not surprised that Zen have some well. Their customer service is second to none in my experience. You pay a premium (which can be significant if you live beyond the sticks as I do) but it is worth it. Talk talk and BT offers come through the door weekly it seems and are routed unopened to the recycling bin.

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Well that's a shame. Return to sender so it costs them.

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Well that's a shame. Return to sender so it costs them.

AIUI, Royal Mail don't charge the sender for returned items, so the only costs the sender incurs is handing the returns themselves or contracting out the returned mail processing to companies that specailise in this. I'm guessing costs would be about 50p to sort returns, open each item, do the data capture of the "duff" addressee and any reason for return. This third part processing is why the return address on junk mail from famous companies is often some unlikely sounding location like PO Box 1245, Scunthorpe.

Now, if you just throw away junk mail from companies you dislike, they continue to periodically send it, and in the longer term that costs them more. I like to think I'm playing a long game, you see.

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If a junk mailer sends you a pre-paid envelope to send your order in (which they have to pay for if used), then you can use that to send them a flyer from the pizza place, thereby killing two birds with one stone.

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@Ledswinger "Now, if you just throw away junk mail from companies you dislike, they continue to periodically send it, and in the longer term that costs them more. I like to think I'm playing a long game, you see."

I think this works. The biggest offender of "To the occupier" junk with a return address is Vermin Media. I've always done RTS on their stuff and we no longer get any, but I'm not sure if this is just us or because they don't advertise in our area now. It was a long game - about two years until they got the message but every item was RTS until they stopped. It involved effort but will have cost them more than it did me and much easier than trying to call their Customer Disservice in India.

@Roj Blake "If a junk mailer sends you a pre-paid envelope to send your order in (which they have to pay for if used), then you can use that to send them a flyer from the pizza place, thereby killing two birds with one stone."

Homeserve are a particular problem in this area - not only do they bundle their tripe with my water bill but they also send "Important Water supply info" shite to me as well. I pack their return envelope as full as possible as if its over 100g they pay more for the return! Not only that as an application it goes to the main office, not a returns processor.

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I left BT for Origin some time ago and am very happy with them.

The only thing worse than BT's customer service is their hardware, the routers I had were utterly unfit for purpose

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Good to see Origin mentioned...

I have been using PlusNet off and on (house moves, etc) for over 13 years. While unlucky for some, I've been very happy with service and though their CS offering for residential users has suffered in the last 2 years, business users still get 24h service.

However, to add resilience (as I work from home and had my Post Office connection {supplied by TalkTalk} go down twice in a year, with no compensation payments) I plan to get a low cost FTTC service from Origin in the near future.

(I did ask Zen a while ago, for FTTC connection, but they couldn't / wouldn't, so f*** them, I say).

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Re: Good to see Origin mentioned...

The only small complaint I have about Origin, is that they didn't supply my login details in advance of my go live date. I assume they would have come with the router had I ordered one, but seeing as I'd already splashed out on a Draytek router to replace the old bean tins and string that BT had given me, I never received anything in the post so had to phone customer support before ever having been online to get the VDSL credentials.

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I had BT Business Fibre...

...for close to 5 years and it was superb to be honest. I went with them because as the first fibre customer on the estate when it was made available, they were the only ones supplying it.

I always got close to the speeds they'd initially said I would and with very few problems.

When I did have to call them it was to a UK based team that were helpful, knew their stuff and did a good job.

But then a couple of months ago a colleague mentioned Vodafone business fibre and their offer of no line rental so after a few enquiries both online and on the phone I made the switch.

It was painless to switch - didn't even require a MAK code - and all went smoothly. Yet again, the few times I've called them it's been UK based and they've been both knowledgeable and helpful.

The main reason I made the switch was price - the broadband alone was almost half that of BT and then throw in the no line rental charged it was too good to turn away.

Still not a cheap option and that's part of the issue here I feel. When you're rushing to be the cheapest provider of anything, something has to give somewhere and the likes of Talk Talk cut so many corners I am surprised anyone would ever use them.

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Re: I had BT Business Fibre...

I'm with Vodafone (Demon). My connection goes out for a few minutes several times every day. The problem only started in the last couple of years - the ADSL has been in use since 2003.

My Netgear 834G ADSL router was locking up for several hours on the ATM side - even if I changed everything for spares. So bought a Netgear N1500 which seemed ok for a while - then started to experience disconnections.

Finally changed to the Demon supplied router - which has the same problem. The Demon chat line always insisted there is no problem - or that the line needed "equalising" and would be ok after a couple of days.

BT said they would do extended monitoring - but apparently could see no problem as they never came back to me.

I never had any opportunity to discuss the problem with anyone who was not following a helpdesk script.

AAISP is probably going to get my business soon.

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Re: I had BT Business Fibre...

... a colleague mentioned Vodafone business fibre ... I made the switch

Where I used to work the boss decided to get one of their lines ... last year. As of a few weeks ago they still hadn't made it work ! It was a really simple problem - BT OpenReach misrouted the line as the office building is fed from two different cabinets. All Vodamoan had to do was to correctly cancel the FTTC and re-order it, they were supposed to have done that in January, and NINE MONTHS later they still couldn't fix it.

We got another line from another ISP. BTOR did the same misrouting, and even with that and another problem, it was up and running in a couple of weeks.

Plus, Vodamoan insist on you using their absolutely crap router - it's in the contract terms. The router really is crap and seems to be aimed at the dimmest of consumer users - it certainly isn't of any use to many businesses. And they won't set reverse DNS on a single IP (or the static PPPoE link IP) - you have to pay extra for multiple fixed IPs if you need to set reverse DNS (eg to run a mail server).

Based on my experience - don't consider Vodamoan as a business provider, or better than StalkStalk.

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Re: I had BT Business Fibre...

"...Plus, Vodamoan insist on you using their absolutely crap router .."

http://www.vodafone.co.uk/cs/groups/public/documents/assets/bus-broadband-alt-router-guide.pdf

And in my case they emailed me a few days before with all the static IP and user information including, if ncessary, the VLAN ID to be able to use my own equipment - I didn't even need to ask!

Like most they ISP's if you have a problem they insist you plug their modem in prior to calling for support which is fair enough.

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Re: I had BT Business Fibre...

Well that's interesting - and not a document that was findable when I was dealing with this. I can assure you that they were 110% adamant that you had to use their router - though I was at one point passed through to a techie who was able to provide the DSL login details. All they allowed was to put another router behind theirs and route some public IPs through to it.

Though TBH, we more or less gave up nagging them to fix it a few months ago as we'd already taken the decision to use another provider, and this was only being left "active" as they'd promised not to discontinue another service (leased line on a legacy network they were getting rid of) until it was up and running. Once we'd migrated everything off the other service the plan was to tell them where to stick it.

Dreadful to deal with, and not even a way to get through to business support - we had to phone residential support and get transferred.

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Sky

I'm surprised about Sky. I last had problems about three years ago which came down to damaged wires between the exchange and my house. Sky and BTOpenReach were both very good at getting the problems fixed. Last speed check I performed was about 60Mb/s so the service seems very good.

Maybe customer service quality has gone downhill in the last year but I'd be interested to know how Which conduct their surveys. Is the number of customers polled for each company representative of the relative number of customers each ISP has?

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Re: Sky

If I remember correctly from reading Which in the past, their surveys are of Which subscribers using the service.

So they are both self-selecting, and from a certain demographic.

If I also remember correctly Which do give this info in the reports in the magazines - the number of respondents giving ratings

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Sky

If I also remember correctly Which do give this info in the reports in the magazines - the number of respondents giving ratings

Checks magazine: 300 responses for Sky, and the same or near enough for BT, VM, and TalkTalk, suggesting they stopped when they'd got 300 responses. They all got overall scores in the range 48-51%, so there's little to choose between them if you believe the research. As Graeme says, a certain demographic - older, wealthier, less technically literate, and self selecting in choosing to respond to the Which communications survey.

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Re: Sky

Similar experience here (on ADSL), Openreach were out twice and it turned out to be a degraded connect where the line comes into the house.

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Re: Sky

I agree with you there. Any problems have been resolved very fast by SKY & I have been compensated well each time without needing to kick up a fuss. If I changed to any other Openreach network fibre (cannot get Virgin cable)m the actual connection would probably be no different to what SKY give me other than the customer service will undoubtedly be much poorer.

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Re: Sky

Minor technical port, do not give you a complete internet connection, they port block for starters.

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common factor

the common factor might be openretch, fibre became available in my area ( they installed a cabinet and apparently pulled out exchange only line into it)

sky tried and failed to get the fibre activated for 2 months during that i had to chase them constantly and they had no intention of escalating the issue.

got a new line pulled in with AAisp , they badger openretch on your behalf and keep you posted.

that said they havent managed to get it done yet either.

hence i think bad service = openretch

bad handling of delays = the isp

surprising how much difference it makes when you have a knowledgeable eager voice and lot of effort on the other side of the line, bonus is that you can hear and understand them ( i dont mind where their support is as long as i can understand it and they are knowledgeable and eager )

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Re: common factor

Yes, OpenRetch are a common factor here. BUT ISPs have a menu of options to choose from - most notably they can ay different amounts for the connection depending on the SLA. Basically, you can have a cheaper connection if you are prepared to wait more days for repairs - so guess why the cheaper ISPs have worse stats on repairs.

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Sky

I'm gonna have to be honest (eep!) and give credit where due:

I've been with Sky for several years now and, in the last few years at the very least, they've been very good, including customer service. I know everyone's mileage varies, but mine has been good. Over that period I've had a couple of issues relating to my physical telephone line — I'm a fair way from my green box — and calls to them have been answered pretty promptly and sorted. My parents (bless!) are also with them and a similar story there. Whilst I'm annoyed that my speed is limited because of my location — I only get about 30Mbs on Sky Fibre but it's pretty consistent — I have no reasons to moan about Sky themselves at the moment. Yes, I really did just say that, didn't I. :-)

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Re: Sky

I couldn't get away from Sky soon enough. Was with them on ADSL for a while, and had constant problems with the crappy router they provided. There was a bug in its firmware that meant that connected devices were never displayed properly. I either got a list of the same device connected repeatedly, or, an incomprehensible list of devices in what looked like wingdings. I complained to Sky, who acknowledged that they were aware of the problem, and that Dlink had released a firmware update several years earlier. Sky refused to release that for their customers and also refused to give me my username and password, to allow me to use a decent router.

When fibre became available Sky offered up to 40Mbps, BT offered up to 70Mbps for the same price. We get well over the 40 offered by Sky, usually hitting around 60.

The process of leaving was painful, with quite probably the rudest call centre handler in history, who was shouting and refusing to listen, intent on going through her script of bribes to keep us with them.

Once we'd left, we received regular monthly offers, inviting us back, with the discounts getting bigger by the month. Strangely the offers stopped as soon as our 12-month contract with BT had ended and we could actually take them up on any offer.

One extra bonus in leaving was that we no longer received regular calls from some warranty company, saying our Sky box was out of warranty and we needed to pay them, just in case it broke. Complaints to Sky just resulted in denials that they knew anything about the third party. A claim that seems even less believable as we stopped getting them as soon as we left Sky.

BT aren't perfect, in fact the home hubs are pretty poor, although since we got the HH6, we've not had any problems. When we did, on HH4 & 5, BT sent engineers round quickly, provided replacement hubs and also sent a powerline setup to improve the wifi in the extension, all free of charge. Whenever we were having problems, we had regular call-backs from BT staff, checking if the new hubs had solved the problems, were the powerline hubs OK? At the end of the problems, a nice compensation payout was offered, without us asking, so, couldn't fault their customer service.

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Re: Sky

"The process of leaving was painful, with quite probably the rudest call centre handler in history, who was shouting and refusing to listen, intent on going through her script of bribes to keep us with them."

Yep, I remember leaving Sky about 3 years and the call centre person said ( this no lie ) , "So you're going to Virgin? You do know all their kit is second hand and fails after 3 months? Virgin are not very good at support either, I would strongly advise you to avoid them and stay with Sky."

"Virgin are offering me 30mb/s for the same price I'm paying Sky. Can you get my ADSL above the rubbish 2mb/s I've been complaining about for the last 12 months?"

"Sorry, that's not our problem, that's BTs problem."

"Thank you very much for summing up in one short sentence, exactly why I'm leaving Sky, You don't care about a service and your diabolical attitude to customers just reeks."

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