Friday, August 23, 2013

Last Night a Boomkin Saved My Life

This man is a hero. TRUFACT.

I do my best not to bore you with the mundane details of my life, but occasionally something happens that I feel needs sharing. This story, which has taken place over the last 24 hours, is a perfect example of a number of things:

  • It's a classic #FirstWorldProblem
  • It's what happens when you have to deal through third parties
  • It's about people being brilliant regardless of the circumstances
  • but most importantly it is the understanding that, wherever you go, people play Warcraft.

Rewind to yesterday, which was the date Sky had booked to update us to Fibre Optic Broadband. In the rain, a guy turns up on cue, with a BT Openreach box and replacement socket, fits one and turns on the other and then informs us he's off to connect the exchange to us. Ten minutes later he's back, but there's a problem. We're not where he was told we were in the exchange, so he can't connect the fibre to our house. And off he goes, muttering stuff under his breath, leaving us without Internet.

Frantic phone calls then ensue to Sky, who tell us that the engineer's 'problem' has been passed to Openreach and that they'll do their best to sort a speedy resolution, but we will be without Internet until this happens. We can't just plug the old hub back into the wall either because we're now upgraded 'in part' and that means none of our existing equipment will function. Dead on 4pm, right on cue, BT turn our phone line off too, but Sky are good enough to turn that straight back on. However they then return to inform us that the earliest BT have scheduled to deal with the problem is August 28th, which is when we are away on holiday. That means that we'll have no net on our return, and the earliest we could expect to have the problem dealt with was the 2nd of September.

Needless to say, I was not best pleased.

The guys at Sky, to their credit, were fantastic: patient, understanding and helpful, and though a £30 credit on our account wasn't going to make things happen, it was appreciated. I settled down last night and began to work out what I could do without net access and how I could link everything together just using a mobile phone. Thanks to wonderful people on Twitter I know what a 3G dongle is, and that there are many ways to work without net access. After all, this is what we did before Tim Berners-Lee came along.

I woke up this morning, used my phone to set up a blog post, and then heard the phone ring. By the time I got to the reciever, the line was dead.

Our phone logs calls without the need to be connected to the line, so I was able to see we'd been called by an odd number, one that made me think that maybe something was happening. Sure enough, when Mr Alt phoned it back on his mobile we ended up talking to a BT engineer who was ROUND THE CORNER AT OUR EXCHANGE. Handed over, he happily informed me that he'd located our position in the exchange box, that we were connected, and that fibre was active.

My next port of call, not surprisingly, was Sky.

My Customer Service rep patiently listened as I told him what had just transpired, but according to him, nothing had changed, because BT update records at midnight and here we were, at 9.30am, with only my word from the engineer I'd just spoken to. For a moment, life imitated art.

Computer says no ^^

Then we started talking. We had the updated boxes at our end of the line, and an assurance from a man AT THE EXCHANGE it was working. Could we not just plug everything in and see what happened? My CS rep told me that technically he couldn't tell me to do this because, according to his system, there was no fibre to connect to... but we could do a lot worse than give it a try. As I connected things together over the phone, I told him we didn't use much wireless as the family enjoyed online gaming... and then he asked me what I played.

That's when my CS rep became a Boomkin on Bronze Dragonflight :D

He'd left the game after Cataclysm, like a lot of other players, but he'd come back recently to take a look. He's still not bought Mists yet but is seriously considering it in light of what he's seen on his return. Needless to say, as we happily chatted about how awesome the game is, I established a connection from the BT box to the Sky box. Despite being told there was no connection, there it was. And twenty minutes later, I was back online.

I suppose the biggest hero in all of this is the unnamed BT engineer, who sounded an utterly decent and top bloke, who just did his job. If I'd simply believed what I'd been told via Sky initially I'd still be sitting here bemoaning our lack of connection, which in the current climate would be ridiculous but not a total surprise. Sometimes, you just have to question everything you are told as fact because inevitably it's not: this way, I save having to make countless phone calls, to reschedule engineers, and to chase people over a problem that came about purely because one bloke at the start of the chain couldn't work out how to join two wires together. Okay it probably wasn't THAT simple, but I'm betting it was close.

However, I owe a debt of gratitude to my Boomkin friend for thinking out of the box, for realising that actually what I knew was more information than he had, and that I might be right. In today's' world, that's worth quite a lot to me, especially as it means an improvement to my service. Yes, it is the most mundane of First World Problems, and I've hardly saved the planet, but it matters. What makes it more personal is the guy who helped me was a decent person and he did his job, and then some, and in today's environment that means a great deal.

I'd therefore like to thank my Boomkin friend for his time, his utter awesomeness (which will be represented when he sends me a Customer feedback form) and remind everyone that sometimes being told no should not mean the conversation is over.


Jonathan said...

How utterly, utterly pants that two companies who deal with each other in technological matters only talk to each other EVERY 24 HOURS. That's rubbish by year 2000 standards, let alone 2013.

Hurrah for some common sense among customer service reps. It's rarer than it should be, but always great when it does happen.

Jstmel said...

Another silver lining to the end of your story could be that you get free internet for a day. In their computers they show you as having no net right? I say, use as much bandwith as you can today and take advantage of it!