An open letter congratulating the CEO of Virgin Media, Lutz Schueler for perfecting the art of completely ignoring customers.
To Mr Lutz Schueler, CEO Virgin Media
We must congratulate you on perfecting the fine art of ripping off consumers. It’s astounding what you’ve achieved in terms of making Virgin’s grand scam sustainable – to over-employ the market’s current buzz-word. Your plan is blindingly simple and obvious, no one has noticed: don’t let customers communicate their complaints, therefore giving the impression Virgin all works perfectly.
Your customer communications policy is genius, and I wish I’d thought of it…
Its so simple: If a customer is unhappy, guide them into an endless labyrinth of meaningless chat-bot discussions, leave them on terminal death hold waiting to speak to customer service staff, and remove any and all ways for customers to contact the firm. It’s the cap-stone of a marvellous business model; suck in the punters with the promise of high speed Broadband, fit equipment that doesn’t work, don’t give them any opportunity to complain, keep charging full fees and don’t ever let them leave.
Customers can only respond in one of three ways:
- Get so frustrated they have a heart-attack and die.
- Get so frustrated they give up and let Virgin keep ripping them off
- Get angry and write lots of very angry letters telling Virgin how angry they are, which isn’t a problem as Virgin will just ignore them anyway.
The way you’ve handled our problems has been almost perfectly frustrating.
Lets see, what have been the highlights of our 3 month Odyssey of frustration and pain? Deliver us a new broadband system in April, which didn’t work. Send round an engineer to repair it – which he didn’t. Send round another engineer to repair it again, who said it was a cable problem. Send round some contractors to look at the cable – which they didn’t because it was under the ground and it’s not their job to dig it up. Send round another team who did dig up the cable and said it was bust. Send round another team to fix the cable, which they didn’t. Send round a team to fix the cable – which our builders had done for them by putting it in an armoured sheath under the drive – and pronounce it does work. Send round an engineer to agree the cable works, but the hub doesn’t. Send round another engineer to replace the broken hub the previous engineer had fitted. Send round another engineer to put new bits on to make that hub work.
When the broadband still didn’t work – an intermittent fault said the chat bot before switching me off – another engineer was sent round. He didn’t show up – a neat refinement in raising my frustration level to 11 after taking a day off work to wait for him. Despite not showing up he still managed to complete a “problem resolved” report on the internal automated customer problem report site – which is remarkably efficient. I was told that by a chat-bot, which then switched me off. Case closed.
Equally efficient is the speed at which you have addressed the multiple customer complaints we filed – each one has been diligently investigated by Virgin and recorded as “resolved” – sometimes within minutes of us making the complaint – which from Virgin’s perspective is a massive confidence boosting verification the system works, but is less satisfying for us as our Broadband still doesn’t work.
We’ve tried to communicate – and congratulations to your whole team for not giving a flying feather. We’ve spent hours being asked pointless questions online by chat bots – using our phones as mobile hotspots (which works perfectly adequately by the way). The ultimate in self-flagellation is to actually call – in which case we’ve been treated to a 40 min hold listening to punishment music before being put through to some poor-tele-worker who explains it’s not his fault before putting us on terminal death hold waiting to put through to a technical department we don’t believe actually exists. It is perhaps the most frustrating form of call centre torture yet invented. Its brilliantly painful, costs Virgin little and reduces customers who dare to complain the frothing-at-the-mouth imbeciles.
What makes the Virgin coms scam simply perfect is nowhere on the multiple websites is there any mention of customer complaints, an email to send emails to be ignored at, or even an old fashioned address. Instead every single customer engagement is carefully scripted to be circular and maddening. Genius, pure genius.
Its perfect… In Virgin Media no one can hear you scream because no one is listening.
So Lutz, how can we profit further from Virgin’s success in divorcing itself from its paying customers? Perhaps you should think about taking your skills to be CEO at a bank, an airline or an online retailer. All of them are pretty good at ignoring customers, but your skills would take them up to Virgin’s level – actually removing customers from the equation. As I said.. genius.
The only small fly in the ointment.. is… well, we actually do need Broadband so we can work from home, keep in contact with family, and well, buy things from the internet. Just thinking out loud… but if we, and all the others of equally frustrated Virgin customers, can’t access the net to spend our furlough pay… then other companies and investors might suddenly twig that Virgin is causing the collapse of Western Capitalism, in which case the stock market price will collapse, and you, dear Lutz, will be out on your ear..
Let us hope things don’t ever get so bad you have to use Virgin Broadband…
So, please accept our congratulations on your contempt for your fellow humans – it’s the only way forward for modern media and tech – and feel free to keep up the good work by ignoring this letter in the same spirit as your company has ignored us…
Bill and Nicky Blain
Virgin phones are even worse. Upgraded a phone and gave away a cheap simcard for use on old phone.
What nobody said, and what only a complicated internet search could confirm was that international calls to the EU were charged at £1.40 a minute. Which generated an £84 bill for 60 mins of chatting over 3 calls.
Of course anything over 12p would be a rip-off.
Superb. A magnificent read.
I have a solution that is guaranteed to work. I know because a friend of mine did this and his problem with VM was immediately resolved.
Phone them and tell them the following:
“Hello, I am a black, disabled, transgender Muslim and my broadband is not working.”
I guaranfuckintee Lutz himself will be at your door in a Saudi nano second, in overalls, toolkit in hand! Best of luck!
Bill, we use a local company for our phones and broadband, if we have a problem you talk to a human and they are very responsive. We have been with them for many years and do not have the issues you are having.
We use a local company so we don’t have the issues you are having with Virgin, these large companies are all the same – crap customer service and high costs.
If you would like me to pass on contacts or get them to contact you, please let me know and I will pass on your details. We also use them for our IT support, when we have an issue they just log in to our systems and fix issues! Let me know – Best Martin
Bravo Bill, for shining the harsh light of publicity on Virgin Media. There is, as always, an appropriate quote “It’s probably God’s will that civilization will grind to a standstill”
Sorry Bill – everyone has known for years that if the name includes “Virgin” you will get a right royal shafting.
Virgin Media, Virgin Internet, Virgin Trains, Virgin Mobile, Virgin Money (you see the picture?).
Otherwise how would the bearded space warrior have made his money?
So true. Interesting that common post on our local street What’s App in S London is a variety of ‘is your Virgin broadband slow/not working/hanging. Never seem to hear it about other providers
I’ve just dumped talktalk for similar reasons and appallingly customer service on top of very slow broadband speeds ( 2.6mbps). I eventually went the local 02 shop in Hitchin; their service was excellent; bought a 5G router which solved the speed issue.
In the convoluted way these companies work I had to take out a credit agreement which then I should cancel a few days later. To cut a long story short this involved a 90 minute phone call passing through 4 people before the 4th dealt with it in less than 5 minutes. Isn’t tech wonderful.
At least I got there in the end and managed to talk to people.
NO NEED FOR A RESPONSE. I read the porridge, with interest, every time you get it out; thanks.
Absolute genius. I salute you sir!
I feel your pain Bill, so frustrating! It’s not the first time I’ve heard Virgin and poor customer service in the same sentence. I myself ditched, an albeit reasonable service from Sky, and hooked up with Three HomeFi. No landline or Sky subscription for a much cheaper and quicker broadband service all through a mobile router.
I fell down the exact same rabbit hole with this company. Months of surrealist misery ended only when I wrote a 4-page itemised letter detailing the lunacy endured, and posted a hard copy to their Head of Customer Services. In terms of sheer CS chicanery they are outranked only by eDreams. Hope you manage to get a resolution eventually
,The mobile network can be a good option if having problems.I have used it for a number of years both in Spain and the UK.As you say you need a good quality router.Many of the nightmare issues Bill has encountered could be avoided with a decent router and mobile service. Good for standby as well.
We have much the same experience. Eventually we left them – or tried to. They deal with this quite brilliantly. A couple of people actually ring you (a first) to find out why you are leaving and what can they do to hang on to us. I gave a long list (politely). and left. I then tried to arrange the date for the equipment to be removed and the new supplier to start. They could not have made it harder to synchronise the two. A real risk of having no internet. So leaving them is as irritating as staying – another brilliant bit of marketing.
We got rid of Virgin for the same reasons. Utterly death spiral communication protocols. Hours of ones life wasted! They had the cheek to front a person from “retention” to try to keep our account, he got both barrels and a keel hauling. Our new supplier Zen Internet is not only cheaper but the people you speak to are in Lancashire so no echoes on the phone calls. Can’t rate their service highly enough -oh and they’re cheaper! 😃
Perhaps VIRGIN could rename itself? Completely Unresponsive Noncaring Telecoms Services? You get the idea? CUNTS
Made my weekend , best letter to ” customer Support” I’ve probably ever read . Well written .
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