Nice Support, Dude

A colleague of mine just told me of his encounter with Virgin Media tech support yesterday evening. He’s on cable broadband and we need him to have a static IP address to be able to access certain work facilities, so he phoned them up.

It took an hour and a half for Virgin Media’s broadband tech support, including supervisors, to conclude that they didn’t know whether he had a static or dynamic IP address, or if he was dynamic, how he could get a static IP address from them.

They also told him that if he needed to transfer some files from home to work and back then he should just copy them on to a CD and take them with him. This wasn’t a failing of their system in being able to tell them, they just didn’t know what their addressing scheme was or which was provided by which product in their range.

Now let’s not forget, call centre staff are mostly poorly trained and badly treated by their employers and their customer alike, so let’s not shoot them for it, but somebody should at least train them in the benefits of their different packages and whether a certain product provides a dynamic or static IP address. This is supposed to be technical support.

Personally, I found that shocking, so I thought I’d tell everyone. Every service provider in the world has it’s proportion of dissatisfied customers, so remember, don’t shoot the call centre staff, shoot the policy makers and please don’t take this as an opprtunity to make my blog a focal point for venting your spleen about service providers 🙂

UPDATE: In a second call to Virgin Media broadband support, at 75p per minute, my colleague was bounced around from department to department again, before finally being put on to someone who knew about this sort of thing who told him that you can’t statically address connections (and by connection, I assume they mean a cable broadband end-point) otherwise the Internet wouldn’t work. Shocking.

5 thoughts on “Nice Support, Dude

  1. everyone on cable is on a persistent IP, i.e. you’ll likely retain the same IP when you reconnect the cable modem, unless you leave it off for an extended period of time. but it’s not static by any measure, and it’s assigned dynamically the first time the modem is switched on.

    iirc business class cable from ntl: could have a static IP, never heard of the same being done for blueyonder, so may be dependent on which platform he’s on (the two are still somewhat mutually exclusive from each other).

    and honestly, did you expect anything other than a random level of knowledge from tier 1 support of a very large ISP? 🙂

  2. I can confirm the comment by Neuro about persistent IPs as a friend was on the same IP for over two years until he went ADSL.

    We require anyone on a dynamic IP to VPN into the work network first, it sucks but is probably the sanest work around.

    If you have avoided putting in VPN software or finding it a pita I will recommend: as something that utterly rocks 🙂

  3. You could tell your friend to try the Virgin/Blueyonder/Ntl newsgroups (they were still in the process of migrating the groups over the last time I was there) next time before he calls.
    The techies there usually seem to know more. Also the users have a lot of experience and may be able to solve the problem, or at least prime your mate with some info before he calls.

  4. Having worked for Blueyonder, now Virgin media, domestic customers used to be able to buy what was called a ‘gaming pack’ for about £4 a month, this was two static IP addresses.

    I was looking at getting 20mb connection from them recently, and was told that they no longer do the gaming packs.

    And yes, they were trained on IP addressing schemes, the blueyonder ip range is 82.x.y.z, 80.x.y.z, and very rarely you will get a 62.x.y.z IP range, as that was the first one they had, it was meant for dial up customers.

    If the call went over 20mins at premium rate then you can sue them under the ICSTIS regulations, or if you have called about the same issue 4 times.

    They can’t transfer the call, this can be another legal messup, as the call timer will reset, and so the “techi” will not know how long they have been on the phone for!

    neuro is right in some aspects, but you can cause the modems to release and renew their IP with out leaving them off for an extended period of time. You just type the default gateway of the pc into a browser and you will get the configuration pages up.

    The support is currently being outsourced to IBM.

  5. Agreeing that ISP customer service can be abysmal at times, I must say I had an entirely different experience with my telco provider ( Without using the phone at all, I was able to get a /29 in a matter of five minutes through the chat box on the website.

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