Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Firm's Service Vow after Barrage of Complaints

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Firm's Service Vow after Barrage of Complaints

Article excerpt

Byline: Audrey Forbes

Cable giant Ntl has given assurances that customer service is paramount after a spiralling number of complaints to the Gazette.

The company prides itself on being the leading UK provider of high speed broadband, digital TV and telephone services for the home and also data, voice and Internet services to business customers.

The reassurances were sent after calls flooded into the Gazette from customers who terminated their contracts and continued to be billed.

Many more said they have had trouble when trying to get through to call centres.

An ntl spokeswoman said company chiefs were "very sorry" to hear about customers who have had recent difficulties with the service, and sent apologies to those who have experienced any inconvenience.

"During a recent systems upgrade in the Teesside area, a small number of customer accounts were affected by an IT system error.

"This was identified and has been resolved by our technical specialists."

She said customer service was ntl's number one priority, and added that the company has changed its structure and now has three dedicated call centres and four centres. Each focuses on support services such as installations and fault resolution in Teesside.

Within this new call centre structure the company believes customers are already waiting less time and although this is an improvement it is striving to reduce the wait time even further.

"Every call centre in the country sets targets and effective performance is part of delivering customer service."

Andrew's story

Former NTL employee Andrew Broadbent accused the company of caring more about targets and statistics than customer service.

He told the Gazette: "You had to answer ten calls in one hour and someone would be listening to your call, signalling you to hurry up if you took too long.

"They cared more about performance than customer service."

Mr Broadbent, pictured above, blames the speedy installation of a new computer system at Christmas, together with a lack of training for staff for causing the problems.

"They just rolled it out. They did it too quickly and it all went wrong.

"I don't think the staff have been trained to use the new system properly."

The 22-year-old from Stockton worked for ntl in Teesside for more than two years.

He left the company last year as he said redundancies were looming.

He said the amalgamation of nationwide calls centres to three in Swansea, Manchester and Scotland was to blame for the poor response experienced by customers with problems.

Norman's story

Pensioner Norman Carson, 73, of Salters Lane, Stockton, terminated his digital TV account in September last year.

The digital box was collected but, he says, he continued to be hit with spiraling bills.

Ntl claimed he owed pounds 108 plus pounds 500 for the box, even though it was collected the same month he terminated his agreement. …

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