Always knew he was brain dead and clueless
Admittedly I don't know where Sugar lives but I'm pretty sure BT moved all their exchanges to ADSL2 years ago and the current maintenance will be either for ADSL2+ or fibre.
Alan Sugar showed UK business how to secure tip top service from BT today, pursuing a dual strategy of ranting on twitter while pulling the "don't you know who I am" line on the call centre staff. Trouble first started brewing about six hours ago, with LordAlun taking a break from slagging off Piers Morgan and touting his new …
Nope..... still on plain old up-to 8meg ADSL here and many other market one exchanges where the lack of ability to move from the BTw network means there is no commercial imperative for BTw to bring us into the new millennium despite us paying higher bandwidth charges for using the slower (upto 8 meg adslmax) service.
Seems like cable/llu areas get upgrade after upgrade while we are left further behind paying though the nose for the original flavour ADSL. Just another BTw rip-off.
Grenade.. BTw upgrade planners need one... and another for OFCOM for waving through a price hike of over 20% for IPSC before WBC was available right across the country
A lot of exchanges have been upgraded but not all. Mine hasn't (Brackley) even though it's a market 3 exchange and due to get FTTC this time next year. We don't get ADSL2 until February.
Well..I say it hasn't been upgraded to ADSL2 - but it's only BT who've been slow. It's a market 3 exchange so several other telcos have installed ADSL2 equipment. I've been using BeUnlimited for over three and a half years now.
So a lot of what Sir Alan twittered is true. BT are pretty useless and his exchange may indeed be in the process of being upgraded :)
Same thing happened to me at my old job. Spent hours on the phone over the course of 3 weeks trying to get a line disconnected. Complained on Twitter once, and it was sorted in minutes. Bizarre customer service BT have, they only do anything if you complain on Twitter!
I'll never use BT for anything again. Beyond hopeless
Way to show how in touch with IT you are there Al! What were you running before? Also, if you make routers, why investigate a Belkin? just use one of yours (though i don't doubt it will go titsup in exactly 366 days!)
I suspect that the frizzy haired spiv is actually a complete moron when it comes to IT.
...the full price of MS-DOS to what I think he described as 'a pittance' then I'd say he was a good businessman.
Obviously, MS were desperate to build a monopoly and could be forced to give their software away if you were aware of it.
Still the same today - if a council says it's going to migrate to OSS then MS will come over and give you millions of pounds worth of software for free. It worked for Newham council and I'm surprised more councils and companies have not pulled the same stunt.
Of course, you end up with MS software and nothing works properly but hey ho!
"After 5 mins told BT bloke on phone who I was and I make pc's and routers for day job. Made no diff still went tru stupid check list.Help!"
To be fair Alan, they probably thought you were joking. Unless the staff were over 35 they wouldn't remember the last product (other than yourself) that you actually sold.
and to be honest, the last thing he'd get off me by pulling the "don't you know who I am" line is good service. From what I can see and recall of his various doings, he's one of the most ignorant and inconsiderate people to ever be involved in the IT field. And considering the range of socially challenged people who seem to be attracted to the profession that's not an accolade to be proud of now, is it?
>Have you EVER heard anyone say "ooooooh an AMSTRAD! I wish I had one of those...."
Not recently, they are rather out of date. I doubt you'll here anyone say "ooooooh a Commodore PET! I wish I had one of those...." either.
As for his attempts at manufacuturing computers, I have a PC1512 which still works, as does the only upgrade to it, a 20Mb Western Digital filecard, so both he and WD must have been doing something right, and WD still are.
talk about putting a jumped up barrow boy on a pedastal! - atleast 'tory plan b' (so nearly an anagram) the old PM did it for a wheelbarrow full of money.
I was taught networking by one of the poor sods that degenerate had reverse engineer the bios for his first 99.9% pc compatable computer. (the missing .1% being... any functionality at all) drove the man to drink... and even worse teaching at a crappy provincial college
Most of the time, I'm quite happy to think of BT as the source of all that is dark and evil in the Universe, and whenever I'm in London, I shudder if I have to get too close to Barad Dur. But now I find myself cast into doubt.
BT upset Alan Sugar. Can they *really* be all bad, in that case? I do hope that whoever got the "do you know who I am" treatment gave him the deserved response of "there's a shouty bloke here who doesn't know who he is".
 Or the BT Tower, as *they* pretend it's called
Sir Alan, being a businessman, should understand how a callcenter like that operates. It doesn't matter how skilled or unskilled the person doing the support is. They have been given a list to go through in order. Their calls are monitored. If they don't go through that list as they have been proscribed to, they will be disciplined.
Call centers are a horrible business anyway.
It's really easy - they have a list to go through and the faster you get through that list then the faster the problem gets fixed. You can do it the hard way or the easy way - it's really up to you - after all, it really doesn't matter who's the problem is so long as it gets fixed does it?
What an idiot.
Alan Sugar: My internet bust!
Call centre: Have you checked your router?
CC: You're sure?
CC: Absolutely positive?
AL: For the f*ing last time yes!
CC: Do you mind if we just check as well?
AL: <insert curse words>
CC: We've checked the line and it's fine. Are you *definitely* sure you checked the router?
AL: <explodes> and call in IT
CC: Have you checked the router now?
AL: Yes...and it *might* be broken. But it's still your fault
Yes, these call-centres are pure purgatory for us techs, but sometimes it help to actually do the fundamentals first before kicking off, eh Alan?
Fragmentation suppositories all round...
Even harder for non-BT broadband generally. And little wonder why they pretty much force you to use the router they provided in the first place in order to eliminate f**k ups like this.
I always tend to feel sorry for those who don't realise BT was split up a helluva long time ago and are not really able to control the entire line/equipment to properly identify a problem. Not to mention if he was in some dodgy extension socket etc, and probably shouting "absolutely nothing has changed my end, it must be your end"
So BT change ADSL to ADSL2 or ADSL2+ or something and don't have a policy in place to deal with routers which may have a problem with this.
Sralan's BB is working fine. BT change something and then Sralan's BB isn't working anymore.
And somehow this is Sralan's fault.
Your answer is - Belkin router - nah good mate - wotcha got one of them for - us intelligent techies wouldn't touch with barge pole etc etc.
This is exactly the problem the IT industry has - as summed up years ago in a famous Not the Nine O'clock news sketch - a gramophone, grandad?
For you and all the upvoters - customers don't care about IT - or you. They just want service. Stuff which works. The industry produces over-complicated tech which goes wrong and needs techie level expertise to fix.
Answer - keep things simple and reliable rather than cutting edge and a pain for the customers.
...that Sralan has been conned into blaming Belkin.
I've had clients who've had exactly the same problem with Netgear routers.
And why can't we have decent ADSL routers? Because the ADSL in the UK is different from all other ADSL in the world (thanks again BT for that) so big manufacturers generally only supply domestic level routers to the UK market (unless you want Allied Telesyn etc). That's why we need to put in a basic ADSL router and then link that to pro level stuff for companies.
At least Demon confessed up to the issue and sent out replacement routers after a phone call.
Here's an idea for BT - don't upgrade if it's not needed. And if you do upgrade carry out checks first to see if customer routers are OK with the upgrade. And switch back to the original ADSL in event of a problem. And communicate with the customer.
Of course, BT don't have to do this cos they're a shoddy private monopoly who have no real competition.
as the original poster I'll reply as follows:
- the general point is, that the router (regardless of brand) was *broken*. Not mis configured, wrongly chosen or poorly installed. Broken. This should have been an obvious check, which was my point.
- You also miss the point that IT want stuff that "just works" too. You think we like being called out at 2am because a flaky server shat itself, or cleaning up our relatives malware, or fixing their now-mis-configured pcs/phones/<insert tech here>? No - we want it to "just work" too.
- agree with your points on BT though. Biggest bunch of bastards ever.
...the router was fine. The problem was caused by BT upgrading to ADSL2[+].
The first tweet was 'Big problem at home with BT internet they r tinkering to change to adsl 2. '
Probably the router wouldn't work properly to ADSL2. One of our clients had the same problem.
As for the rellies - they've all been told to get Macs. Support calls then go to my brother-in-law who's had Macs for years. Anyone else who calls RE some Windows PC gets informed that I don't use Windows and haven't done for years. I pass them a number of a firm who will fix on a charged basis.
Thanks for confirming RE BT - we recommend Demon every time and have done for years.
And my wife gets the some model phone as me every time - that way I don't have to learn two phones!
I agree with you that 90% of customers want a service, not a product. So they buy a broadband service, get a modem (cos they need one), plug it in as explained in the glossy pamphlet and ... away they go.
Great, right? No.
Because customers are canny now, and they shop around for the best deal for their broadband. When their year's contract is up they decide they're going to change to another broadband service, so they receive another modem and glossy CD, follow the instructions and ... away they go again.
If they're lucky. I promise you three cycles of this will cause all sorts of chaos in the average home PC. I've had the distinct pleasure of having to sort out a PC that had BT, Orange, Freeserve and finally BT again attached to it. The easy CDs were full of poorly written code hanging off shockwave graphics and, surprise surprise, completely nonced up Windows' settings, the Hosts file was enormous and it took a fair amount of work to straighten everything out again.
However a simple set of instructions detailing what buttons to push and what data to enter would avoid all of these problems. Most customers will run a mile from this - arrgh! Too scary!, so the Easy CD has its place, but why then make it so difficult for someone who knows what they're doing to find the settings required and bypass the easy CD - I'm looking at you O2 and Orange? Most customers know someone who works as an unpaid technical advisor - usually their son/grandson/son-in-law who can do this, so why so tricky??
Most customers will run a PC for four, five years so will probably change broadband providers two or three times. How's a support line going to be able to unravel the internal mess on their PCs? Why should they? It wasn't their CD necessarily that cocked it up in the first place.
I agree things should be simple - wifi setups on PCs and Mac show that it can be done (Detect, click, enter password, go). I also believe that ADSL setups should be as simple - it only needs a batch file to be run FFS.
Don't get me started on companies that supply ADSL Modem/Routers and then don't support anything but the modem (yes, you again O2), so when the routing table gets f**ked up they refuse to assist. Fine, I could handle that if there was any other form of help for the device, but no - even Thomson, who make the thing, couldn't help because the SW in it was bespoke O2. Twats.
BB providers don't help themselves in many cases...
Sugar's principal money came from Amstrad. He took his returns in cash and put them into extensive property holdings in Mayfair et al.
At one time Amstrad were Europe's largest PC manufacturer; by his own admission, he underestimated the speed of change in the PC market, and didn't innovate fast enough to maintain that position. But he made a lot of money in home computers, one way and another.
Similarly he made a lot of money from Binatone clock radios and such like. The Sky boxes came later on, and were profitable, as was Viglen, but the main money is in property.
He is shrewd and pretty honest, including about himself. I'm no defender of his, but he is what he is and has done well from it. Most of us are in no position to criticise!
... I worked at Northamber and they sold Amstrad PC's. They had a very simple and effective repair policy.
Amstrad supplied boxes of replacement main boards and power boards.
If an Amstrad PC came in for repair the technician just had to figure out which board was at fault and switch for a new one. The faulty boards then went back in the same boxes used to send the new ones.
Customer was happy cos the PC was replaced in a couple of days. Meanwhile the other PC's were having new bits soldered to mobo's etc. The techies enjoyed the challenge but the customer might have to wait weeks.
I think that Sralan has made his bunce by getting the basics right and keeping the customer happy - something other companies could probably learn from.
Why do BT and similar send people to a call centre (I think BT's is in South Africa rather than India) staffed with people who have a printed sheet and nothing else...
I guess its just simple and cheap... for most idiot customers this is adequate. They should have a question first - are you the normal moron or do you know how to do up your shoe laces? If you answer 'moron' you get the check list, if you know anything you talk to someone sensible.
Of course this is probably not te best Sugar rant I've seen, its a pity we can't forward the email he sent to Steve Bulmer when Steve shut down the Mobile Explorer team (the ones behind the Sony browser/email client and the emailer software).
From what I heard earlier in the year BT are in the process of moving all their call centres back to the UK due to all the complaints they get about foreign ones.
Everyone from the UK should be telling companies that they are pleased that there call centres are in the UK when they are, and complaining about the fact that they are abroad. This is the only way they will ever bring them back to the UK again.
...a lot of companies have UK based sales call centres, so when you call up to sign on you get to speak to a geordie girl and you think, ' well that was nice and simple, i didnt even have to spell my name to her 4 or 5 times and we understood each other'.
3 months later you need to call up the customer service line to deal with a trivial matter and get routed to India / slovienia or wherever else is cheapest to man at the moment.
Then the pain begins.
I'm looking at you Be internet, you didnt even check to see if they could speak conversational english did you?
It's no good having a foreign chap who is able to say , 'Hello my name is x, can i have you name please?' if they can understand the response you give them.
The poor people in those offshore call centres have to endure all manner of abuse from us and it's not their fault, but you have no hope of complaining to the people who put them there unless your name is Alen Sugar. Do you think the CEO of BT is going to give you a call if your broadband has not been working for 4 weeks?
Because companies that do tend to put them in places like Leicester and customers tend to think they're phoning India anyways.
No word of a joke - I'm not saying it means anything but it's just the way it is.
The number of times I've had calls that start with I'm calling you because you're not in india, I phoned my ISP and got through to india and the following communication failure made me a nervous wreck.. When I know full we the call centre is in Nottingham or something.
Call centres are not there to help you. They are their to finish calls. Everything about the way these places are run places emphasis on getting through the maximum number of calls. That's the basis that the poor bastards employed there are paid and their performance evaluated The company that runs the hell-hole tenders on the basis of how many calls they can handle per hour and gets paid accordingly. The company contracting them does so on the basis of how many calls they can deal with per hour per whatever currency the deal is done in.
Customer satisfaction is way down the list, if it's on it at all. From the operator's point of view any bad feeling they generate is directed at whoever they work for, not them. From the employer's point of view, they don't have to deal with (or know about) their unhappy customers. If it get's really bad they'll change supplier and start the game over again.
So when you call these people always remember that they are not employed to solve your problem, they are paid to get you off the phone within their allotted target time.
Sorry but it has to be said. Call centre & Script is the only way to keep the cost of any service of scale price competitive.
In the same way that non-techies universally fawn over iPads they don's want (and actually couldn't really cope with) a conversation straight into third line.
Equally as probably over 90% of faults are fixed by a power cycle or other similar fix BT don't want to be providing all those finely honed third line agents to basically read the paper all day.
Sugar more than most understands that suckers buy cheap - he's made his fortune on it. If he doesn't want to be BT fodder then he should perhaps take his broadband from someone like Be, IDNet or Clara (to just pick a few examples out of the air).
It's not as though he can't afford it is it....
Frankly seeing him burned by someone else's implementation of his own "sell crap but sell it cheap" business model is beautiful! ;-)
And if it was anything like his home computers, it would probably only have a 7-bit bus like the printer port on the CPC 464. I seem to recall someone used to make a dongle and ship a software hack to turn these into semi-serial 8-bit ports so you could work your printer properly...
Oh, and did I mention that these things were frickin' EDGE CONNECTORS. Ranty-rant!
"All fixed thanks to MY IT man"
So in other words, it was a problem with YOUR kit and absolutely nothing to do with BT, or their call centre.
And he claims to be intelligent.
Also, if you have an "IT man", surely he should be the first person to call, not BT???
Of course, any knowledgeable person wouldn't have BT internet anyway, so their call centre staff are correct to assume the person on the phone is an idiot until they prove otherwise.
Whilst he comes across as a rude, embarassing dad who's just discovered twitter, I can sympathise to some extent having experienced BT's customer service, which largely consists of being transferred from person to person, none of which can help you and all of which are listening intently for the special pass-the-buck-to-another-department keyword trigger.
Next time I have a problem with BT I might just try posting on twitter first as I didn't realise BT have a crack squad of Twitter monitors on the case.
Can the CEO of BT give me a call then to apologize for cutting my business phone lines and internet a week before I asked them to?
I'm due to move offices on the 9th, but received a letter at the end of November saying that I'll be cut off on the 2nd. I called them up to warn them of their mistake to be told not to worry as the checks they have in place means that this will never happen. Sure enough, 9.15am on the 2nd December I lose connection.
I've phoned them every day so far and the latest news is the turnaround time to get it switched back on in my current office is 2 weeks.
Given that I'll have been in my new office for a week by then I think I'll pass and just phone OfCom instead.
Is a pan-dimensional, intergalactic hypercock. It's been a long while since I read such an arrogant bunch of self satisfied shite. What astonishes me is that he has fans at all. Perhaps they're reading his drivel for the comedy value.
And anyone with English skills that bad has no business insulting the call centre staff. Brain dead? Only you, mate.
...to the first contestant on The Apprentice to ask Sir Alan "What the f*ck do Amstrad still make?"
I have checked their site and it just seems to be a very small range of rather crappy looking set top boxes. They don't seem to have released a PC in 16 years.
Sir Alan what an arrogant, self obsessed wanker.
Belkin are to IT what Iceland are to food.
I find it incredulous that "lord" sugar (in my book, he's called, Mr sugar or Alan) USES belkin gear. Christ, even me, a humble ex IT techie who now kills rodents and other such things for a living has a Draytek...
Pompous arrogant little twat of a man with delusions of grandeur..Built an empire on building shite.
I bet he's an absolute bastard as a gaffer...
Where the arsehole icon?
It doesn't matter what country the call center is in.
Most call centres are staffed by untrained script monkeys who get sacked for showing any initiative.
Being able to understand the accent is a bonus, but there's no guarantee that the denizens of a UK call centre can speak the language, let alone have an intelligible accent or have an IQ above room temperature.
It's possible you might get a work of shakespeare out of them, but it's more likely you'll get a room full of flung dung.
UK consumers get the call centres they'll accept.... and they do accept rather poor standards.
I had a nice little list of people I had some grudging respect for, having owned an early CPC 464 back in the day, Alan was up the list.
Now these people have started using Twatter to tell me about their shitty little, boring super-star life-styles, the mystique has gone and they are nothing but pompous windbags. I suppose they always were, but you never knew about it, with Twatter and blogging I know for sure!
Well done Alan, you just jumped from one list to my other list of "celebs" who should be taken out of my misery!
Sauce for the goose, "Lord" Alan.
Back in the day I used an Amstrad (a PC 1640 if I recall) and it was a dog of a machine. I had to call Amstrad "tech support" once or twice. The call centre was based at Brentwood, Essex, and I remember it was one of the earliest occasions I encountered a premium rate phone number. Needless to say it was pretty much useless as a helpline but the BOFHs there were very good at keeping you on the line as long as possible.
It is beyond belief that such a bombastic egregious opinionated bullying jumped-up barrow boy ever got to be a 'celeb', let alone front a television show. A truly hateful spiv.
Dont forget he owns Viglen - who are a pretty large PC manufacturer with massive public sector and education clients selling desktop PCs, servers and half decent HPC solutions.
Given he's one of the only remaining large PC makers in the UK he deserves some credit, even if they resell HDS SANs rather than make their own.
is speaking to people about fixing thier broadband. I love the calls from It guys who don't know how to configurte a router, assume a bunch of stuff and just plain old get it wrong then blame the service. Correcting them is priceless. You can spot a True It Guy by the simple questions they ask: i just need the settings for the router, the customer's forgotten/lost them. job done. the ones that trumpet for the customer's benefit.. you wait for those.. they even bring their own petard with which to hoist them sometimes..
Belkin routers: these were the bane of my life when I worked the residential lines.. 'we went to PC World and they said it was the best'..salespeople..'nuff said.. Although I can run a config blindfold in about 7 mins with a capable user. They are simple enough.. it's just the signal reception chip or whatever they use to sync up that is made of Fail. Don't put one on an LLU line and expect it to stay 'up'.
As for the script, I don't ever use one. I have no need. I think independantly and can pretty much spot a fault withing the first 90 seconds after we've done the DPA malarky. Yes, there will always be the same questions, this is because the customer is our eyes on the scene and with a little cogent description and a snigget* of understanding from the customer, I can confirm anough details to spot any localised causes. The fave business one is the fax machine connector *in front* of the filter/adsl cable.. or the nested set of extensions and PDQ machines etc that also use the line without a FILTER.. our questions are generally looking for a way to rule out the customer property equipment. You can't get an Openreach SFI to site unless these tests are done.. partly because the charges are extortionate if the engineer gets to site and can point to CPE as cause if he gains even a hint of service from the line.. they love it.. and the bill comes from us so we look bad into the bargain.. guess who the customer blames?
I've got excellent line diagnostic tools, even the flakey BT wlr2/3 interfaces are sufficient to spot external faults..even with the somewhat less than transparent result descriptors they provide... (when they run and aren't suffering the weekly outage/ run like a donkey with no legs that is.) that said, some our inhouse test hardware has the occassional Snit..
the line from the exchange, especially in a dense urban environment.. urgh.. telecoms infrastructure in this country is horrible.. aluminium lines anyone? and people expect the line to just work or fix quickly.. a customer of mine once had to wait 6 weeks for wayleave to lop a tree branch in london that had downed a line.. the local council just ignored BT's request to be allowed to set up the fix. You take a call like that and advise on a timescale for resolution.. not simple..
And every business I speak to never has a backup solution. 'I'm losing thousands of pounds because the line is down!'. Well Gosh, you built your business round a bit of infrastructure that's been around for this long and has the reputation we all know and love.. and it's a suprise when it dies? and you didn't think to have some contingency plan.. wait, the IT guy you employ suggested the 3G fail-over router but it cost that bit more..
As for migration to a different part of the exchange or LLU line migration/move..? I get a high number of calls per week where BTOR have switched it off early or just plain old stuffed it. New line installation is also nightmarishly overcomplicated to arrange through BTOR's processes.. I could not work in a Provisioning position.. I might go postal.
Anyway.. some of us are quite good at what we do and take some pride in working in a UK call centre and helping people, even when they're Company Directors ( not all of them are Tw@s it's got to be said).
As for Lord Sugar, I'd have dealt with him the way I do everyone. Proffessionally.
Anon.. because all the call center people are.
*a Snigget is half a Tad.
>> After 5 mins told BT bloke on phone who I was and I make pc's and routers for day job
So, erm why are you with BT?
Also you don't make them, you pay someone as little as you can to make them, I don't see routers on Amstrad's web site either so maybe your company does even make routers anyway.
Everyone knows that when you get "the script" you just keep saying yes done that, you get to the end of it quicker than when try and tell them who you are
Mr Sugar.................. Your Fired.
Official fault reports never get past the first phone call.
You need to be brain dead, clueless and whine like a pussy on twitter before anything gets done.
Same goes for any carrier around the world.
Whether or not you _already_ are brain dead, clueless and whine like a pussy on twitter on a regular basis is largely irrelevant.
BT call centre service is crap - we a little lower on the "exalted" scale have been aware of this issue for some time, although as mere mortals rather than Business Gurus we are not accorded the red carpet treatment (complete with hand tooled CEO executive apology trimmed in Moroccan leather!), but continue to be put to the sword "Noida style" until we give up and find another ISP.
However, I am a little surprised that you of all people, as a Business Guru, were shocked at being shown a bit of the old "Bombay Shuffle". As I'm sure you're aware, selling crap, cheap as chips lowest common denominator products and services at a chunky, shareholder-pleasing markup is all the rage these days - and BT are leading the way for Britain at implementing this with gusto.
You've evidently missed the expectation-lowering advertising campaigns (ably helped by business sympathisers in Government!), that have successfully reduced public expectations of getting a useful response from a call centre to virtually zero! We fully expect such outdated concepts as call centres will be done away with entirely in the next few years as so-called users (if they're lucky!) won't even waste the 45 minutes currently needed to be told to switch microfilters by six different minimum wage support staff.
Must say I'm a big fan of the show! Have assiduously followed your advice, and now have my entire family working for me at sweatshop rates stitching cricket balls to sell to Asia - competitive's the name of the game!
A N Arselicker
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