Gobs on Sticks

Thoughts mostly (but not always) about the voice-over business, from London Voiceover Artist, Mike Cooper

  • About the author

    My name is Mike Cooper. I'm a full time Voiceover Artist living and working in London, and this is my blog. Find out more about me on my main website (there's a link further down this column), or if you'd like to hear some of my work, check out the files below.

Progress is over-rated. BT? Not so much…

Posted by MikeCooper on November 13, 2008

I know. It’s my own fault. I shouldn’t have spoken so soon (and certainly not in public). The March of Progress has slowed to a slow shuffle, and there’s been a lot of lost time these last two weeks.

Firstly, my shiny new computer – promised to me on the Monday morning as “should be with you by the end of the week”, eventually turned up the following Tuesday, after I cleared two separate days to wait in for it.

Then the monitor I ordered on the Wednesday (and which should also have been with me by the Friday) went astray and got delivered to someone else. How do couriers manage this, exactly? When the replacement finally turned up, it was without either of the promised cables, so could be connected to neither the mains nor the computer. Replacements were acquired to save wasting any more time, a dispute lodged with the eBay seller to recoup the cost, and £24 and a trip to Maplin later, I was in business. Getting Windows XP to play nicely with my Mac and share files properly will probably be the subject of another post, but hey…

Finally, and most upsetting of all, has been my experience with BT over my ISDN line. I placed the order on 27th October, with Ahmed at the BT Local Business office, and was told it would be ten to fifteen working days for installation. Having patiently let the first ten working days pass, I thought it might be wise to give them a call, just to check, you know, how it was progressing… Imagine my delight when I found out that Ahmed was not only on holiday (until 15th December, no less) but that it didn’t look like he’d even placed my order before he skipped out of the building!

His colleague Sylvia, meanwhile, was helpful, and my order was placed by the end of the day. I called the After Sales team to see what would happen next. Maurice was very helpful indeed, made lots of sympathetic cooing noises, and told me my case would be “escalated” to make up for the delay. Someone in “another country” (unspecified, but I don’t think he meant Rupert Everett) would call me back. It wouldn’t be today though, it would be tomorrow morning – within four working hours, no less, but the time difference with the mysterious “other country” meant they’d gone home already.

Tuesday morning passed without a phone call, so in the afternoon I called After Sales again, and was surprised to learn from John that he’d never heard of Maurice, and that – as his was a team of only twelve people – he ought to know. Not only that, but my order was very firmly still awaiting action by the Sales Back Office team. Time for another call to BT Local Business, and a nice chap called Raj.

Raj then tried to call After Sales to find out what was going on. The first time he called he detected a definite air of “can’t be arsed”, beginning almost precisely from the point where he explained he was calling from BT Local Business. So he called again, spoke to someone else, and was assured that my order was, very definitely, “escalated”, and that someone would call me on Wednesday, no question.

It’s Thursday today, and having received no call yesterday I decided to try After Sales one more time – my next line of attack being a letter by Recorded Delivery to the CEO’s office. Alan Moore (I love it when you get someone’s full name) kept me on the phone for a very long time. But that’s fine, because at the end of it, not only had I got a Job Number for the installation, but he also told me that by the end of today I’d have a date for the installation. OK, he’s since called me back and told me that the engineers are dragging their feet, but all the same, it’s the closest thing I’ve got so far to actually getting the bloody thing installed. And my order has now been “escalated” some more, just for good measure. I hope it doesn’t get a nosebleed.

So, as the recession begins to bite, and I ponder how much work I’m losing in terms of clients who don’t want to pay a studio fee on top of my session fee, I’m left with very mixed emotions about the whole thing, which should – in theory – have been so simple. They’re a telephone company, after all. Surely putting in a new line shouldn’t be too far beyond the call of duty?

I note from today’s news that BT has announced the loss of 10,000 jobs. Service like I’ve received makes me inclined to applaud in response, but hopefully they’ll get the rot out and (if there’s any justice), people like Alan won’t be among the ones to go.

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