Foxtel drops the ball

3 05 2008

Foxtel’s crisis management plan leaves a lot to be desired. Earlier today 10,000 homes in the Blacktown area lost television coverage when cables were deliberately cut by vandals. Fair enough; crazy hoods with box cutters can’t be helped, but the company’s management of the problem was poor at best.

Five phone calls to their technical help line ended with ‘I’m sorry, all our operators are busy at the moment. Please call back later.’ WTF?

When we did finally get through to a real person, we were told the lines had been cut and they were on it. Why not just insert a recorded message in your automatic call answering system, saving countless calls from irate customers and freeing up service staff to help those in other areas who were having specific technical problems? A very simple solution that will at least keep viewers off your back temporarily. Their website shows no indication of any problems either, another easily executed communication to customers that could also have allayed ‘is it just my telly?’ stress.

Why am I personally so annoyed?

I’m missing the Eels vs Panthers game. (As I write, hubby is in the office doing the angry dance after Hindmarsh scored a try he couldn’t watch – we’re listening via the NRL website. Thank heavens for radio streaming.)

I doubt Foxtel will offer any compensation to its customers, although I think the price of a ticket to the footy deducted from our next bill will make all this much easier to swallow.

AND, all this comes after the previous day’s shamozzle (SMH coverage below)

Foxtel interrupts prime time
Asher Moses
May 2, 2008 – 12:43PM

“Foxtel customers around the country had their service interrupted for up to 30 minutes during prime time last night because the company chose an inopportune time to push through a software update.

The pay TV operator confirmed that it sent a software update to subscribers’ set-top boxes around 9:12pm last night, which users reported interrupted viewing for between 15 minutes and half an hour.

Foxtel said the interruption last only five to eight minutes.

Customers complained of missing large portions of their prime time shows and Foxtel iQ subscribers who had scheduled recordings during that time lost them completely. Users were either greeted with a message saying the service was updating or a blank screen.

Some Foxtel iQ users said they lost their settings to automatically record a series whenever new episodes aired.

“Due to a system issue last night subscribers’ service was temporarily affected by a software update,” a Foxtel spokeswoman said.

“This meant subscribers may have needed to come out of standby mode on their set-top unit once the update finished to restore service. We apologise for any inconvenience.”

IT worker Gavin Adams was watching Dexter with his wife last night when the show suddenly cut out about two-thirds of the way through.

“Foxtel do system updates on the set-top box devices, but the expectation is that they’re normally done between two or four in the morning or the wee hours where you’re not really affecting the majority of customers,” Adams said.

“The main thing is that it certainly wasn’t advertised or anything like that as being an urgent update required, and then to do it nationwide at a quarter past nine when everyone is watching their shows in prime time, I think that’s what irked a lot of people.”

Meanwhile, Foxtel is preparing to launch its high-definition channels and new iQ2 HD set-top box, which will have 320GB of storage, by the middle of this year.”

 Following is the SMH’s article about the vandalism:

Vandals sever cables
May 3, 2008 – 3:32PM

“About ten thousand homes and businesses in western Sydney are without phone, internet and EFTPOS services after vandals cut a Telstra communications cable.

And Telstra customers in Blacktown could be without home phone, mobile, internet and EFTPOS services for most of the weekend.

Telstra says vandals severed two fibre optic cables in the area at about 8am (AEST) this morning, also affecting Rooty Hill, Erskine Park, Arndell Park and Shalvey.”


Britney – you go girl

1 05 2008

I like Britney Spear’s response to constant media & paparazzi hounding – dish it right back in the form of a hit pop song.

‘Piece of me’ peaked at number 6 in the worldwide music charts in late ’07 proving Britney’s recent trash glam antics and erratic behaviour need not be a career-ending bungle. The pop diva’s lyrics, such as ‘they’re still going to put pictures of my derriere in the magazine’ takes her off-the-rails lifestyle choices and morphs them into a matter-of-fact ‘this is me, live with it’ public statement.

It’s a perfect example of negative PR turned into a positive.