Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Buggered by BT!

A couple of months ago my first (yes I am planning more) book "The Leftovers Handbook" was published and I was all proud and excited and full of big plans.  In the course of reading up about being published I soon realised that the real work starts after publication and that it is up to the author to work As Hard As They Can to market the book.  That was fine with me, I already had a popular foodie blog "Sudden Lunch" and also an infant blog about my writing experiences - yes this very one!  I have had several articles published in national magazines and have also self published a couple of ebooks to help establish myself as a food writer. 

My agent the lovely Jen Christie of Graham Maw Christie has been wonderful and Katie Read, the publicity agent for my publishers has done some fine work. I have received lots of great reviews and mentions in the press - see tab above - and the most exciting publicity so far has been an interview Katie arranged with Talk Radio Europe yesterday.  All in all I've been feeling pretty good about the marketing and full of ideas for the next few weeks.

As if this isn't excitement enough for an old dear like me we are sort of moving. We have a barn at the end of our garden which my real man has converted from a shell to a wonderful little home and we are now moving in whilst he guts and renovates the house.  Part of this move involves transferring our phone line to the barn and this was arranged to tie in with the final part of the move on 26th July. 

The engineer was scheduled to visit between 8.00 am and 1.00 pm so we got up early (for us!) and although said real man had lots to do elsewhere he stayed home to oversee and/or help with any drilling through the barn walls that might be necessary.  Meanwhile I excitedly moved our last bits and pieces into barn and started arranging my cooking and writing areas.    

And then BT buggered us thus ...

                     At 12.55 pm ("cutting it tight", I innocently thought) the phone went dead and I assumed this was the start of the job although I couldn't see any BT workmen outside.
                     A few minutes later I received a text message on my mobile saying ...

"We are really apologize (sic) that the engineer could not visit your new address to activate the telephone line.  Reason for Delay: Job Delayed with TRAFFIC MANAGEMENT.  Next Update Friday 16 /08/13.  We will keep you updated so that you needn't call us back.  Thank You Bt (sic)"

                     At about 1.15 pm the dialling tone returned to the phone but it is impossible to make calls  (all numbers are "not recognised" ) or receive calls (nothing happens)  and I have no internet.
                     We borrowed our neighbours' phone to call the 0800 number (0800 800 150) and was held in a line for about 20 minutes. I then spoke to a very helpful and sympathetic girl in India who gave me the number to call.  It was 0800 800 150! 
                     I called again and got to talk to a guy in Birmingham who was also very helpful and got in touch with the engineers who told him that the work could not be done because "it is a very busy road" and they need clearance from the council.  Seemingly they assume a road is quiet till proved wrong! 
                     I asked, of course, for the line to be switched on again but was told this is not possible till 16th August.
                     I asked if there was anyone in charge I could talk to and was told I could write to someone called Warren Buckley, I think.  I said it was more urgent than that and was told a manager would call me back on my mobile within the hour.  He/she didn't.
                     Just after 4.00 pm I called again and spoke to another sympathetic and helpful girl who said she would do her best to arrange for the service to be switched back on sometime Monday (although transferring the line would still not happen till the 16th) and would call me back to let me know how she gets on.  She didn't. 

So far as my book and my work are concerned (in addition to the problem I had about the interview - luckily my neighbours lent me their phone) this is a real problem; I have sent out press releases and pitches to magazines which I need to keep track of and respond to in a timely fashion.  Furthermore I blog and tweet and use Facebook, Linkedin and so on daily and what I do in these areas really makes a difference to my book sales.  And that's by no means the worst of it ...

On a much more upsetting note for us (and sorry to bother you with my personal life) is the fact that we have a family member with terminal cancer and really do need to be available at all times.  Can BT seriously think that a text message deals with all this?  
In case you are wondering, mobile reception is not very good in this part of Cornwall, our neighbours are elderly and do not have internet and we are miles from the nearest library or internet cafe etc.

So, to cut to the chase ...

My Advice to BT 

Don't permanently disable a line till you are sure you can finish the work!

Thanks for reading this, all the best,

Disgusted of Cornwall

PS.  Since writing the above I have managed to speak to someone sensible at BT!  I think his name is Davraz, (I wrote it down but can't read my own handwriting!) who has set up a temporary line for us until 16th August (the road outside being quiet, of course!).  We'll see how it goes.

PPS.  I know it is important to break up posts with some pictures so here is one I just copied from The Cartoon Blog which seems excellent and which I will be investigating further (just as soon as I get back online)!

customer service