Ziggo support


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…

The commercial

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.

In practice

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.


  1. That kind of customer support seems to be the norm nowadays. As I am moving house I’ve had to call a lot of companies and where some of them shine in their genuine politeness and desire to help (Nuon was one of the really good ones, which actually surprised me) many others were downright rude, sighing and tutting just like yours did.

    I recently requested a new internet/phone connection via Telfort and the lady on the phone spoke to me informally, as if I was a friend of hers. That might have been pleasant were it not that she is apparently rude and impatient with her “friends”.

    My connection is in a big office building with multiple companies, so I tried to explain that my unit had its own “KPN connection point” and she got very pissed off asking me incredulously, “Where the hell do you expect me to input that information? I have no field for that on my screen.” Her tone was most unfriendly by this stage. I prayed that her employers were listening in on the line… but they’re probably too busy thinking up stupid ad-campaigns.

    Comment by suzero — June 14, 2008 @ 10:10 am

  2. Link: B10[m|g]
  3. Well, I doubt I will get to know Ziggo, a week of little to no internet and customer service that takes 30 minutes of waiting in line. I’m changing my ISP I hope Ziggo gets mugged and beaten while wandering the streets.

    Comment by Drukstylz — September 24, 2008 @ 5:49 pm

  4. As a recent arrival from the USA, I’ve enjoyed every part of my Dutch experience except for my 10+ hours on the phone and skipped appointments by ziggo. I’m now paying for services that I’m not receiving, and since I don’t have a phone to call them and don’t want to waste any more cell minutes on hold. I’m now struggling on how to fix this situation. I thought customer service was poor in the US (outsourced to India), but Ziggo has lowered the bar to unimaginable levels and makes me wonder how this company is still in business.

    Comment by Walrus — October 29, 2008 @ 7:34 pm

  5. Just to keep this discussion alive…. 4 month after the last post the service of Ziggo remains unchanged. In my case I have relocated. It was within same town and in modern quarter so you would expect reasonable infrastructure is already present. Ziggo say they need 4 weeks to relocate me and they charge 30 bucks for that. Unfortunately they do no say in which four weeks of the year they can do it. After 2 and half month waiting, calling (yes, I had to wait in the line, sometimes being dropped off too) and paying there is no change at all. The biggest joke of all – I got even advice from their customer service to cancel my contract sign new one. Obviously, who cares existing customer.

    Comment by David — February 18, 2009 @ 3:35 pm

  6. any chance to communicate with ziggo in english? it is weird that they claim to be international but no word in english on their website. what to do if you are required to live in the hauge but unable to find a decent english langauge speaker in ziggp. any suggestion?

    Comment by amouria — December 26, 2009 @ 1:02 am

  7. Did a search for “talking to Ziggo” and found your website. In NL. In English! Ziggo really has lowered the bar on customer service. Can hardly wait to see what my phone bill is for trying repeatedly, and failing repeatedly, to get my internet back.

    Actually, I do have it now but I don’t know for how long. Getting back onto the internet involved technical things that my boyfriend knows how to do. In my understanding it was this: he spoofed an IP address so that Ziggo’s dynamic IP system would assign me to another gateway. The problem, as it appeared to him, was that the gateway assigned to me was not working. By switching me to another gateway, the problem was solved. Unfortunately, the solution is fragile: if there is a power interruption, I get kicked back to the old gateway and my internet access disappears again. For most of January, I’ve had no internet. My boyfriend estimates that there would be 200 to 500 people affected by the malfunctioning gateway. It’s Ziggo’s gateway that’s malfunctioning: this is important, and I cannot get through to customer service that there is a problem.

    Every time I call customer service to tell them that, they check the connections – at my end only! – and tell me everything’s fine and there shouldn’t be a problem. When I tell them that there is indeed a problem and it’s at their end, they promise to check it out, then put me on hold to listen to music for 10c/minute and then cut me off. (…Oops!)

    I’ve called so many times I almost know their script by heart. Nothing I’ve said has got through to them. They insist that the problem is at my end, although they’ve no idea what the problem could be, because it all looks “just fine” to them.

    So, I stopped wasting time on calls to Ziggo and made a call to another ISP. I’d guess 200 to 500 more people are doing the same thing.

    Comment by Margaret — January 26, 2010 @ 12:14 pm

  8. Aha! Ziggo sucks …… and so does every other ISP here ….. including the expensive XS4ALL! Just get used to the fact that there is no such thing as customer service in the Netherlands.

    Comment by Ihatedenhaag — March 25, 2010 @ 10:48 am