John Mann MP asks for verdict on Ed Miliband

I just love the advertisement John Mann has put up for a new staffer which you can read here.

Applicants are invited to answer the following questions…..

1. What are Ed Miliband’s strengths and weaknesses?

2. Who is the most effective member of the Cabinet and why?

3. How would you improve Labour’s economic policy?

But do not fear job hunters, as “The successful applicant will not be judged by the precise answers given, but by the coherence of written argument and the honesty and clarity of expression.”

Be bold. Be honest… I just wonder if Ed would like to read some of the responses.


Managing Expectations

The companies you love in life are ones that are masters in managing our expectations. On the whole organisations such as Amazon are worthy of note. They tell me my package will arrive within 5 days, so when it comes in 3 I am pleasantly surprised.

If only the same was true of Sky broadband. Perhaps it’s my own fault. I should have realised that living in a rural location I wouldn’t get good broadband. But that isn’t the problem. I’m not concerned about the speed. I’m getting more and more frustrated about not having any broadband at all, and dealing with a customer services operation that seem to know nothing about either customers or indeed service.

The whole saga started when I ordered a TV, telephone and broadband for the house we recently moved in to. Right on time came a very helpful chap who installed our dish and got us up and running. The next day the phone line went live, and in the post came the broadband router.

Lovely I thought. It shouldn’t be long until I can use the internet. Oh no. What they initially failed to tell me was that they don’t put in the order for your broadband until they have completed your phone line order. A bit disappointed, but I understood the reasoning, and was given a date 2 weeks after ordering my package for broadband to go live.

November the 1st arrives – the day I get my broadband. I get back from work and guess what. Broadband isn’t working, so decide to call them the next morning. A 30 minute call later they suggest it could be a router problem but I will need to be at home.

A second call that evening, and I am literally forced to do all sorts of tests such as swapping filters and screwing the plate off the master socket (even though it is clear this isn’t the problem) before I am told that it looks like broadband hasn’t actually been activated. I am promised a call back an hour later.

Guess what. Expectations not managed again, and I have to call back after ten, only to be told that my case has apparently been sent to another team, giving them 72 hours for them to do something, during which time they will not let me speak to that team. I politely pointed out surely I could speak to them now. Oh no, but if I do not get a call within 72 hours then I have to call and only then can I speak to them.

So essentially it feels like they are giving themselves some time in the hope the situation will sort itself out.

Perhaps more frustrating than anything is the companies twitter account @skyhd. When you point out you are getting absolutely nowhere fast they respond with ‘helpful’ comments like ‘I’m sure they will sort the problem out’. Are you? I’m not – or at least not in a very timely fashion. When you ask if they can get someone to call you they suggest twitter is not a secure platform and so can’t discuss specific accounts.

Funny how many FTSE companies us DM on twitter to engage with customers when they have issues. So I am left being able to communicate with a company not providing a service I am now getting billed for via twitter, who will not do anything. If I call they suggest they have a 72 hour time frame, but steadfastly refuse to let me know what actually will be done in those 72 hours, and because I work, and will need to be at home if and when they call, my time slot is between 9:00pm and midnight. Superb.

So in order to manage my expectations I am resigned to having no internet connection for the next month, resigned to having to be on the phone to Sky as soon as I get in the door at 8:00pm every evening for a couple of hours, and resigned to the fact that each night I will be taken through the script of checking broadband filters, master sockets and other tedious things.

Anything else will surely be a bonus.

This article first appeared on Dale & Co

UPDATE:- It is now November 6th. We have had a BT Open Reach engineer who having spent about 40 minutes doing not very much let us know he couldn’t spend any more time on the issue and left.

I then phoned Sky who told me according to their system the issue had been sorted. My patience being sorely tested I point out that no – still no resolution and currently they are trying to clear the “issue sorted message” so they can rebook an engineer.


So…. Broadband ordered 17th October. Promised November 1st. Paying for service since November 1st. Around 2 calls to Sky each day since, and still no closer to getting any ‘service’. Superb.

Latest from @skyhd was “Have you checked online to check the status of your broadband. Err a) Status said it was provided 1st November b) Sending links to people complaining about a lack of broadband is the shoddiest customer service I have seen!