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Peter Reynolds

The life and times of Peter Reynolds

Posts Tagged ‘consumer

A BBC Preservation Order

with 6 comments

TAKE NOTICE

This noble institution should be preserved.

It is not perfect but it is better than any alternative.

It contributes enormously to the culture of the nation.

It is our BBC

This notice should be nailed to the door of Broadcasting House and all BBC premises.  Damaging or cutting off parts or branches of the institution is not allowed.  Adequate space must be given to the institution’s roots which must not be interfered with.  Severe penalties will be applied to anyone who knowingly or recklessly damages the institution in any way.

Then David Cameron, Nick Clegg and a heavyweight team need to take Mark Thompson aside and give him a good talking to.   We want to preserve the BBC and its unique qualities but we need a hard pruning of dead wood and unproductive growth.  Preserving the roots and fundamental strength are the most important objectives.   Cutbacks in the right places will stimulate stronger new growth elsewhere.

I agree that Sky should contribute towards those commercial channels that it broadcasts free-to-air.  It ties viewers into its subscription packages because they are comprehensive.  This is gives it an unfair advantage throughout the market, as does its coverage and bandwidth.

Sky is a parasite on traditional TV companies.  Its unfair advantages have enabled it to develop the best user interface and experience in the market.  Even so, it is expensive and has a reputation for appalling customer service.  Its relationship with Newscorp means it is part of a monstrous media empire which requires much more regulation in the interests of consumers and the community at large.  It should be required to invest more in original programming and production.  If necessary, a new media tax should be introduced to enforce appropriate investment and safeguards.

The BBC’s biggest mistake is the level of executive pay.  There is no justification at all for anyone in the BBC to earn more than the Prime Minister.  It is public money.  Anyone unhappy with this should resign today.  No one is indispensable.  The BBC has always been the best in its business at bringing on new talent.

The Licence Fee should remain unchanged.   It is fantastic value for money and shows just how expensive Sky is.   The BBC Trust should be strengthened in its primary role as regulator and it should enforce cost savings, efficiencies and executive pay.  It should also ensure that the BBC becomes more responsive and closer to its audience.  Its complaints and feedback system is fundamental to this.  It needs to be brought back in house and given real priority.  See here.

Britain adores its BBC.  Let’s ensure we preserve it and allow it to flourish.

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A Fundamental Problem At The BBC

with 3 comments

I am very close to being the BBC’s biggest fan.  It is a remarkable and entirely unique institution.  Somehow it occupies a place between the state and the people which I can find no comparison for.  It would be easy to define it as some sort of socialist idea but it is genuinely independent from the state.  I do, however, have some concerns about its accountability.  I am very concerned about the way it handles complaints.

No Complaints Accepted Here

I have grown up with the BBC and I trust it.  In fact, I think that it’s done a better job of maintaining Britishness and values of integrity, tolerance, fairness and justice than any UK government of any political complexion.  That’s why the curmudgeons in all political parties turn against it.  I think Jeremy Hunt’s recent attacks and comments were particularly poorly judged.  He hasn’t a had a good start in government at all has he?

I made a complaint to the BBC recently and I am very, very unhappy about the way it has been handled.   The subject is not relevant here.  I shall write about it in future but for now it would distract from my point.  I am horrified to discover that the BBC does not handle complaints itself.   They are outsourced to Capita in Belfast which describes itself as “the UK’s leading outsourcing company…at the leading edge of redefining and transforming services to the public.”  For me that needs a huge pinch of salt, a mountain in fact and even then I’m choking on it.

Handling complaints should be at the very heart of an organisation.  It is the essence of your brand.  There is no more important management function.  Contracting them out is an abdication of responsibility.  More than that, it is a complete failure of integrity, a massive mistake.   If an organisation is truly committed to meeting its customers’ needs it must be as close to them as possible.  This irresponsibility strikes at the very heart of everything I value about the BBC.  I am deeply disillusioned.

If this disastrous decision had resulted in a well administered service then that might be some consolation but not a bit of it.  It is dreadful.  Every bit as bad as any horror story you’ve heard about British Gas, BT or yes, even a bank.  This is the British consumer experience at its very worst.

Not What It Used To Be

In sharp contrast to the rest of the BBC’s websites, try making a complaint online.  It’s like something from the very early days of the internet with clumsy, badly aligned fields and an archaic feel.  I almost expect to hear a modem whistling away in the background.  From a complainant’s point of view it’s quite useless.  You don’t get any option to save a copy of your complaint or email it to yourself.  You don’t even get an acknowledgement once you’ve completed it so you’re left with a completely unsatisfactory feeling of uncertainty.  Did they get it or not?  Will I get a reply?  When?

It gets worse.  Complaints are lost.  They don’t get answered at all.  They certainly don’t get answered within the 10 working days promised.  One answer I received was just laughable in its anodyne, crass simplicity.  It was nothing more than an patronising acknowledgement of what I was “unhappy about”.

Useless

I could go on even further but I won’t.  It does get even worse and it becomes embarrassingly so when Capita start to trot out the oldest excuse of all about “system problems”.  It is an excruciatingly bad, defining example of appalling customer service.  I’d say it takes the biscuit.

All this is the inevitable result of outsourcing your complaints procedure.  That aspect of business that should be one of your most important tools.  What’s worse is that Capita are absolutely useless at doing the job.

It is no exaggeration to say that, for me, this rocks the very foundations of everything I believed about the BBC to the very core.  It is not the organisation I thought it was.  I feel betrayed.  I am “disgusted of Tunbridge Wells”.   In fact,  I am very, very, very disgusted of Weymouth, Dorset.