Modern Day Communication Reliability

Two weeks ago today I mentioned that I'd ordered a Virgin Media cable internet connection as a redundant 2nd connection in case my first goes down.

Today the engineer is due to come and connect me up. Yep, a two week wait to get connected. Luckily I'm already on the internet, otherwise there's not a chance I'd ever wait that long.

Anyway, I booked a date and the AM time slot for the visit and went about "waiting". Then, yesterday I got the message below:



Which sent my overly-paranoid and analytical mind in to overdrive.

These kind of text-based (non verbal) systems concern me. Note that I got no reply to my confirmation reply to say "Thanks for confirming". I now have no idea whether the engineer is coming or not. The time slot was 8am-1pm and it's now gone 10am...

Did I get my confirmation reply wrong maybe? Should the postcode have been all uppercase? With no space? Maybe the "+" sign is needed? Maybe "confirm" should also be in upper-case!?

I have no idea whether it's a) a person at the other end reading it or b) a PC with a badly written and intolerant string parsing function.

It reminded of something I said on Twitter a while back:


Dear Virgin Media, if you want to confirm that I still want the timeslot I've been waiting two weeks for, CALL ME.

If I had been waiting patiently for 2 weeks for a connection and then took a day off work to wait in, only to find that nobody came because, oooh, I dunno, your SMS didn't arrive, or my reply didn't, or I lost/damaged my phone, or changed my number, or I had my phone turned off, or my kids were messing with my phone and marked the SMS as read, or any other scenario that really could happen, I'm going to be pissed off.

It's the kind of conversation I get in to with my customers when "brain storming" ideas revolving around communication with their customers. Even the best ideas come with a myriad of "But, What Happens If..."


    • avatar
    • Nick
    • Thu 8 Aug 2013 06:22 AM

    Had something similar, they didn't show up because I didn't pick up the phone...it was an 800 number or a blocked number, so we didn't answer it, thinking it was a telemarketer. They said I didn't confirm on the day of. I said, the original request should have been enough, and should have had your name on the phone call. They disagreed. That they outsourced it. Not my concern, the schedule was with them, and the phone call should have come from their number.

      • avatar
      • Jake Howlett
      • Thu 8 Aug 2013 06:26 AM

      What they should have done in that case, which I guess they didn't, is leave a voicemail to say "please call us back urgently, if you don't we won't come".

      There's never any common sense in the way companies work. It beggars belief sometimes.

      BTW: They did turn up and I'm now connected. The point is still valid though.

      Show the rest of this thread

    • avatar
    • Nick
    • Thu 8 Aug 2013 12:28 PM

    Yes...of course your point is valid, and no they did not leave a message. You are right, I would have called back and confirmed that way.

  1. Even the best ideas come with a myriad of "But, What Happens If..."

    Jake, you can call yourself a happy man, if your customers do even appreciate the approach of asking such questions. Nowadays, more often than not, you must be happy not to be written of as a notorious skeptic and naysayer, hindering revolutionary vision, if you try to think through a process end-to-end.

    Also, many big companies seem to be so busy in designing, documenting, approving and then redesigning their internal processes, they really don't find the time to worry about how the customer may fit in.

    • avatar
    • IanB
    • Sat 10 Aug 2013 10:23 AM

    Glad it's all sorted. Can you do a blog post on how you're all set up once you've got it how you like?

    I'm considering virgin, and presume (given your other post about getting rid of the BT line) that you've gone for the broadband only option, and I'm wondering how cost-effective that is.

    It's a minefield now as prices increase if you [I]don't[/I] want something.

    Also interested in how you configure it all for load balancing and failover.

      • avatar
      • Jake Howlett
      • Mon 12 Aug 2013 02:47 AM

      Leave it with me. Blog post on its way

Your Comments


About This Page

Written by Jake Howlett on Thu 8 Aug 2013

Share This Page

# ( ) '


The most recent comments added:

Skip to the comments or add your own.

You can subscribe to an individual RSS feed of comments on this entry.

Let's Get Social

About This Website

CodeStore is all about web development. Concentrating on Lotus Domino, ASP.NET, Flex, SharePoint and all things internet.

Your host is Jake Howlett who runs his own web development company called Rockall Design and is always on the lookout for new and interesting work to do.

You can find me on Twitter and on Linked In.

Read more about this site »

More Content