Ziggo is a new cable company here in The Netherlands, that was formed when three major television providers (including mine) recently merged. They introduced their new philosophy in what is probably the worst-recieved TV commercial of the year, so they rubbed me the wrong way even before I had to contact their support desk today. If it wasn’t already clear, this is going to be one of my ‘incompetent companies’ posts…
Ziggo is trying very hard to convince us customers that they’re new. We of course know that it’s the same people who worked at the three independent companies before, and who managed to frequently make the weekly top three of worst support helpdesks that a Dutch consumer TV show compiles.
In the commercial, an elderly man is introduced. While the voice over says “Hello, I’m Ziggo. I’m new here”, the man is shown wandering through the city, admiring everyday life as if it’s completely new to him. Quite frankly, this makes the man (and Ziggo) look like an imbecil. The ad then goes on to promise “we’re going to listen very well to what you want”. Yeah right. So now I have a moron listening to me? And why didn’t they do that before the merger? I’m offended on so many levels by this commercial I can’t even begin to explain why.
I bought a decoder box a two weeks ago, and as part of that deal I was supposed to get a bunch of channels for free for three months. I mailed in the registration card, and was just really starting to enjoy DHTV. This morning however, all of the channels were replaced by a message telling me that the trial period had ended.
When I dialed their support number and went through several menus, a recording told me that the wait would be longer than ten minutes, and that I’d better call back later. By then I had been asked to enter my zip code twice(!). I had actually tried contacting them once before and given up, but I wanted to get my cable box working again before the big football match tonight, so I decided to wait. So much for listening to me.
Five(!!) minutes later, a representative informed how he could help me. I’m pretty sure I heard him yawn just before he spoke. I explained to him what was wrong, and he started typing my details into a computer system. He asked me what channel package I’d like, and I told him I wanted ‘Z1’, one of two packages offered by Ziggo (yes, the other one is called ‘Z2’). I was quite shocked to hear him ask “what is this Z1 you speak of?”. Apparently, having two options was a bit much for this particular support person.
When he tried to re-enable my account the system crashed, and we had to start over. The representative by now was sighing and mumbling as we entered the details again. I was then told to leave the set-top box on for 48 hours, so that the settings could be sent to it. Less than three hours later, all the basic channels were restored. If I remember correctly, I was supposed to get a few more channels for free for at least wo more months, but I’m not going to risk calling them again until tomorrow, after the Dutch teams defeats France ;).
Objectively speaking I was helped reasonably well. Signal was restored pretty quickly, and the wait wasn’t all that bad. But it’s ‘how’ I was helped. By an employee who could not care less, who neglected to apologize on behalf of Ziggo for causing the issue, did not explain anything, and who was unfamiliar with his own company’s offerings.
Adjusting the commercial to reflect reality…
Here’s how I feel the TV ad should look. Three men in gray suits that have been stitched together struggle to walk through the city. They’ve all got their fingers in their ears. The voice over starts talking: “Hi, we’re Ziggo. We’ve been here for so long we’ve pretty much lost interest…”. You get the picture.