Making the Most of User Feedback

Yay monster cupcakes!

This is the third and final part in a mini series of posts on using a community forum to exchange ideas with your users.

Part I: Why and when should I start my own community forum?
Part II: Setting up your forum: Top tips for using Get Satisfaction
Part III: Making the most of user feedback

In the first part, we looked at the right time and right way to get started with a community forum. As we picked Get Satisfaction as our platform of choice, I then outlined a few top tips for it. Today, we’re looking at what happens once you’ve successfully created a place for conversation and the users begin to trickle in.

If you thought that once the community existed, you could kick back and relax, think again! Now comes the best part: Finally interacting with your users. You’ll meet the most wonderful people, as well as the occasional user who seems to relish being your daily pain in the backside.

So how can you deal with vast amounts of feedback, good and bad, yet retain your sanity?

Read More

British Telecom: The Enemy of a Successful Business

[See updates at the bottom of this post]

This feels like groundhog day. British Telecom has managed to screw up yet again. Last time, they pissed me off to about a 4 on a scale of 1-10. But this time, I’m not sure the scale even stops at 10.

BT has somehow managed to get itself in enough of a muddle to close our account and disconnect our phone line without prior notification. And what’s reliant on a phone line? Why yes, it’s our ADSL home internet connection. Which is where we run a business and develop Alfred. See where I’m going? This isn’t good news when trying to develop a new product!

Below is the letter I sent to BT last night. The only positive here is that a nice Scottish advisor from the BTCare Twitter team called me this afternoon – but couldn’t help much, unfortunately.

All I can do now is hope that by some miracle, our issue gets fast-tracked and resolved. If anyone at BT can help, please let me know.

Letter to BT on 25th March

To whom this may concern,

We called BT last night after being notified by a friend that our phone line appeared to be inactive. According to your call centre rep, our phone line was disconnected on 22nd March after being restricted on 6th March. As we only have a landline with BT for the purposes of our internet connection (provided by for business use), we were unaware of this apparent restriction until today.

After over 45 minutes waiting on a never-ending ringing line, we finally got through to an advisor. According to the advisor, we were sent letters on 1st February and a final reminder in early March – I can categorically confirm that none of these letters were received. When I asked the advisor to confirm the address on file, she read out our old address [redacted], from which we moved back in March 2008. She sounded flustered when I said that this address was wrong, and that we’d received letters from BT to this new address [redacted] since. She backtracked her story and assured us that recent bills had gone to the new address.

At this stage, and prior to closing a customer’s account, why does BT not attempt to contact customers by phone? It baffles me that no direct attempt at contacting us was attempted other than by the notoriously unreliable British postal system.

The advisor requested on 25th March for the line to be reactivated, but this cannot be done until Tuesday 30th March. At this point in time, it seemed to surprise your advisor that our Internet connection was still functional. As we run a business from home, it is critical that our phone line remains functional, so my only hope is that the incompetence of your team at disconnecting a line will work in our favour this time and mean that our internet can remain functional until reactivation on Tuesday. We have been given a temporary number of [number redacted], which I hope will not affect our Internet connection.

I’ll make it clear at this point that, should our Internet stop working between now and Tuesday or be affected following the reconnection on Tuesday, I will absolutely be seeking damages compensation from BT.

I’m furious with BT’s incapability to answer any questions last night, and implore you to review your shambolic processes so that mistakes like this one are avoided in the future. We have been BT customers for many years, paying faithfully as soon as a bill is received, so the lack of attempts at resolving this issue on BT’s part is truly disappointing.

As a word of note, we pay every other bill we receive by Direct Debit. However, there’s a very good reason we were no longer paying by Direct Debit for BT services. In late 2007, BT took £223 from our account without our permission following an engineer visit for which we should not have been charged. We received no apology and spent hours on the phone before we were refunded the amount.

You may want to read the past exchanges I’ve had with your colleagues and familiarise yourself with some of the comments left anonymously by some of your own staff on the 20th December ’07 blog post:

The original post:
And the follow-up posts:

I have faith that the recipients of this letter will have more power to act upon this issue than call centre advisors have, and trust that you will resolve this matter in a prompt and efficient manner. I would like a BT representative to contact me ASAP to provide more information on resolving this.

Please find all of our contact and account details below.

Vero Pepperrell

Anyone? Help?

[Update at 10:20am, 27th March: Last night, following my post, I was approached by BT’s MD of Customer Service, Warren Buckley. This morning, a member of his team called me, having reactivated our line with the temporary number, assuring us that our old number would be back in place this afternoon or Monday. Fingers crossed, the Internet might not go off. A huge thank you to JP Rangaswami, Warren and Alison for their speedy response.]

[Update 28th March: Phone number reinstated by yesterday afternoon, ISP made aware of the account number change. In theory, this ordeal is over and our Internet shouldn’t drop at all. Will hold off celebrating until about Tuesday, but it’s promising. Thanks again to those who got involved.]

[Update 26th May: As of today, I’m closing the comments on this post as this isn’t an official BT support channel. Get in touch with them on Twitter @btcare if you need a hand with resolving your issue!]