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