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Calls to VM being disconnected after long hold times

Just a thought, not disputing times on hold but looking at various posts on the forums, VM systems seem to tend to cut off calls after people have been in a queue for around an hour.?

This prompts the customer to redial, which is a nuisance, and can cause complaints, but can actually save the caller money.  Possibly tying in with most landline phone providers giving free calls for the first 60 minutes, then charging for anything over that.

Not sure if the systems notice  if calls are from a mobile, and leave them continue  as most mobile plans  don't seem to start charging  for calls over an hour, however that would be dependent on individual call plans? 

Just wondering if anyone else has ideas

Dave

The Service you do for others is the rent you pay for your room here on Earth - Muhammad Ali
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Re: Calls to VM being disconnected after long hold times

Most calls to customer services will be from a VM landline or mobile, so won't be charged.  I also doubt there's any sophistication in VM's telephony, and it's more likely that the do a "bulk dump" of calls on hold for more than XX minutes when the queue volumes start to get beyond any sensibly manageable volume.  Any telephony system will easily produce the data both historically and real time for call volumes, maximum and average hold times, customer-abandoned calls and so forth, and they'll be looking at average predicted wait times of (say) four hours and say "no, we can't deal with that, let's dump all calls waiting for over an hour, that way at least people calling now will have a faster response, and the dumped calls can just phone back later".   

VM know full well that they're offering a third rate customer experience, but absent any regulatory pressure they see no need to change their behaviours.  If an energy supplier offered customer service this poor, they'd have their licence suspended by the energy regulator, but since Ofcom are merely an expensive and  unfunny joke there's no consequences for poor customer service in telecomms. 

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Re: Calls to VM being disconnected after long hold times

I wouldn't also bet against, say at 7pm when the lines close in 1hr, and they have enough calls queuing to already take them upto closing time.. the call queues are closed to new callers.

I'm not sure I entirely agree with andruser on there being no consequences for poor service - Ofcom is indeed a toothless regulator for the most part but there's also a tradeoff here. How much poor service will customers tolerate before they become a customer service "issue" or a PR "problem" - in either case, a liability.

I dare say most people would consider short waiting times in the current climate, entirely reasonable - but I'm talking perhaps <20 minutes there. Not an hour plus. If you get a major network failure, that's going to drive calls and you don't want to find yourself caught out.

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Re: Calls to VM being disconnected after long hold times

I'm sure you're right.  

On the topic of "consequences", I think that there's a couple of factors at play that mean the company don't believe there's any meaningful commercial consequences.  Hitherto, VM were the only high speed game in town for most customers, so many customers would in fact tolerate the poor service.  As FTTP gains ground that won't apply if there's viable competing high speed offers but it'll be a long time before there's a big overlap of VM and OR FTTP footprints, so I suspect this remains true.  You might have a miserable, many-hours long phone marathon to get a fault fixed, but many customers will still prefer VM's speed advantage of whatever VDSL options exist. 

The second factor is that VM operate a high churn business model.  So (from previous investor announcements) around 12-18% of customer cancel each year, and VM operate a huge marketing effort in the region of £150-200m a year to replace the churn-out.  With a management mind set that is sales and marketing led (with no real customer service culture at all), the attitude will be "if we lose too many customers we'll just put up some shiney incentives to boost sign up" - hence the offer of a "free" 43 inch UHD TV late last year, and other similarly generous offers.

It'll be interesting to see if there's any difference between ISPs in the Ofcom complaints data which gets published tomorrow.  That'll primarily reflect Lockdown Mk1 rather than VM's performance since then, but my experience has been that although all companies have been affected, some have managed a whole lot better than others.  VM's ongoing refusal to offer support and customer service by email is an obvious example of something that could have harmed its relative performance, but if other large ISPs performed badly too, then maybe it'll be the usual story of VM bouncing along, not the worst, but persistently below average for the sector.

If VM moved as much customer service as possible to email (appreciate that you can't for faults where the service isn't working at all) that would enable most people to avoid the misery of the current telephone "experience", and if they enabled full management of customer accounts online, that would further reduce costs and staffing requirements (and reduce the incidence of misselling and inaccurate contracts).   These things aren't difficult, other companies do them some of them very well, but VM management seem surgically bonded to a 1990s service delivery model dreamt up by management consultants who never had to live with the consequences.

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