Monday, March 05, 2007

Virgin Media Proves Good Copy Isn't Good Customer Service

Having discussed copywriters on Friday, I feel the need to talk about the art of copywriting today.

You may have noticed the launch of Virgin Media (the communications equivalent of Frankenstein’s monster, with an array of sub-standard corpses stitched together into a shambling, incoherent hulk) in the press and in those ads featuring Uma Thurman. From a professional standpoint, I was interested to read and listen to the ads as I’ve always admired Virgin’s tone of voice. It’s always admirably human, cheeky and clear.

I happened to be an NTL customer before it was subsumed by Virgin media, so received a lot more literature telling me how well looked after I’d be and how this was a fresh start and so on. Again, lovely copywriting – lots of chutzpah.

Then I moved house and needed to reconnect my broadband and upgraded to get cable telly too. Virgin Media sent a load of information in advance of the reconnection, including essential pin-codes and account numbers. The engineer came on Friday to install it all and arrived when they said he would. Then I came home to make everything work. There were instruction booklets dropped off and, again, the copy had admirable clarity. Goodness me, it looked like connecting my Mac to broadband would be remarkably simple.

Of course it wasn’t. The copy was nicely written, but it was ALL LIES. They’d missed out several crucial steps in the set-up. I had to ring their support line to get the address of a web page on which I needed to register my details to complete the connection process. It would have helped if this crucial piece of information had been available in the instructions. As it was, I spent 30 minutes on my mobile phone trying to get through to an autistic man in an Indian call centre (I hate to think how much that cost me).

All pin numbers and account numbers Virgin had sent me and told me that I’d need to set up broadband? None of them were used – the pin number I actually needed wasn’t in any of the literature – I had to get it off the man on the phone.

OK, so after 2 hours of brain-mangling the broadband was working. I sat down to relax in front of the telly. I then discovered that all the channels I thought I’d signed up for were locked. I rang the support line again. This time it was shut down for the night. Then I tried again this morning. I rang 8 times and was disconnected before I spoke to a human being.

Utterly, utterly infuriating. I’ve just gone from NT-Hell to Virgin Vexation. I have now sworn to buy a ground-to-air rocket launcher from any passing Iraqi insurgent and shoot Richard Branson out of the sky as he begins his next ridiculous round the world balloon trip. As the bearded buffoon spins to his flaming death, I’ll be waving all the great literature I’ve received from his company and reflecting on the power of good copy.


Steve said...

Yes but doesn't Uma Thurman look lovely on the TV ads?

Tristan said...

It's all LIES, Steve - it's not actually Uma - it's that granny that Wayne Rooney used to visit as a sex trade customer...

Steve said...

Yes but doesn't she look lovely?