Thursday, February 16, 2012

Dear British Gas

Dear British Gas,

When our Baxi combination boiler broke a few years back, I did a little bit of shopping around for quotes to get it fixed and, as a result of this, signed up for your Homecare scheme. You’re no doubt familiar with this one as it still features quite heavily on some of your terrifying TV advertisements where all mankind is portrayed as freakishly deformed two dimension beings living on small planetoids. It seemed quite reasonable at the time – a payment for month for peace of mind in the form of a yearly boiler check and that any repairs would be carried out efficiently and quickly and, more precisely, would be covered by the monthly cost.

On Monday it broke again. The house itself is still heating up fine but hot water is intermittent – When we’re running the hot taps the boiler no longer flicks up the reassuring red tap light. “No worries, Dave”, I thought to myself, “We’re covered by the incredible Homecare service that British Gas provide. A quick phone call to them and we’ll be sorted in no time”.

How happy I was when I only had to be put on hold for a mere ten minutes before speaking to a human being. And not only that, a human being who, haven taken my details, assured me that an engineer would be with us the next day between 12 and 6 p.m. Now it’s a couple of days later, so – with the benefit of hindsight - let us assess how this whole situation could have fared way better;

1) Much as we all like to be entertained by hold music – I don’t know about you but it’s one of my treats in life – I was never really a fan of “The Universal” by Blur in the first place. But the fact that this tune is interrupted with advertisements trying to sell me the service I’m already paying for and trying to use in the first place makes it all the more annoying. Please don’t feed me a voiceover telling me how good the Homecare service is when I’m on hold desperately trying to speak to somebody about exactly that. And if my call is so important to you, why not try answering it quicker?

2) The security measures you have in place are very impressive – I like the way I have to tell either an automated system or a human being my contact number multiple times to be able to confirm who I am. However, here’s a useful tip; As you clearly have my contact number – if you didn’t before, you certainly do after I’ve told different people the number three times – why not, in the case of a problem, try to actually contact me on it? Oh, you DID try to call me? What number did you use? As I've never heard that number before and it bears absolutely no resemblance to the one I've given you nine thousand times, it's no wonder that your attempts to communicate with me were unsuccesful. You'd have had better luck with smoke signals or telepathy. This leads us on to my next problem with your service, which I’d argue is the most important. 

3) When I’m told I’ve got an appointment slot between 12 and 6 and one of us has had to remain at home all day for an engineer that ultimately never arrived, could you please call me (on that contact number we discussed previously) to let me know why? It’s all very well that I’m eventually told (the next day after I’ve rung you to enquire about what happened) that the engineers schedule was full so he couldn’t make it, but would it have hurt for you to tell me that? Ooh, maybe even the same day? How about that? A little bit of humility and an apology would go some way to quell my anger – we all make mistakes and over-burden ourselves; it irritates me that I have to chase you for to tell me this though.

4) No, I'm not around for an engineer to call around during the day on that other date you're recommending. Or that day either. Why? Because my wife and I work for a living and can't change our arrangements at the drop of a hat. We need to work for a living so can pay your extortionate fuel prices. Yeah, Saturday will have to do then. Between 8 and 12? FINE. Who needs hot water anyway?

So thanks, British Gas. Thanks for your excellent Homecare service. The service that seems incredibly reasonable, until such a time as you come to actually need it. Perhaps if you spend a little less time concentrating your engineers efforts on 2D beings who live on previously undiscovered planetoids at the edge of our galaxy, I might get to see an engineer at some stage.

All the very best,

No comments:

Post a Comment

I love comments. Love 'em. However, abusive or spam or Anonymous ones may well be sent straight to the bin. Thems the rules.