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How our call centre teams, engineers and build crews are helping the country stay connected



30 March 2020

 

From public services to homes and businesses across the nation, our teams are working day and night to ensure the country stays connected.

Right now we are all relying on and using telecoms services more than we ever have – whether that’s broadband to work remotely and video chat with loved ones, a trusty landline or mobile to make calls and send messages  or TV services to keep us informed and entertained as we spend much more time at home.

However, none of these things would be possible without the work carried out by thousands of our people. These teams of dedicated workers are making sure you get the services you need and expect in these unprecedented times.

The Government has been clear that Virgin Media operates critical national infrastructure and that it expects us to keep our services running and to maintain and continue building our network. Our people are at the heart of making this happen so we wanted to update you on what’s happening in some of these key areas.

Call centres

Despite our call centres facing tighter resources, and increased call volumes, our people are working hard to help – that’s everything from fixing problems and boosting services to helping customers better manage their bills in these difficult times.

As we prioritise assisting our most vulnerable customers, we’re encouraging you to only call us if it’s absolutely necessary and to look at our online support pages in the first instance. However, we know that sometimes you do just need to speak to someone directly. Our critical call centre workers are vital to making this all possible so please be understanding if you do need to get in touch. We’ll answer your call as quickly as we can.

To keep our people safe we have put in place strict hygiene and safety measures as well as increasing remote working capabilities wherever possible. We are also recruiting more than 500 more people into our UK centres to help answer calls.

 Engineers

Understandably, some people have asked why our engineers are still going into homes. To provide some clarity and reassurance we wanted to explain the situation.

Lots of what we do can occur without the need for anyone to enter a property. Our engineers will only enter a home if they need to in order to fix or install services and will adhere to social distancing guidelines when inside. Leaving our customers with no services just isn’t acceptable to us.

We are already taking steps to minimise the amount of in-home work we need to carry out. This includes:

  • Encouraging self-installation wherever this is possible, for example installing a new router in a pre-wired home, or even using WhatsApp video calls to help customers install equipment or fix any issues they may be experiencing

  • Prioritising fixes for vulnerable customers and those experiencing a total service loss or  significantly slower broadband speeds

  • Limiting the areas of a home an engineer needs to enter by focusing on installing our main services and not installing boosters around a home or fitting multiple TV boxes in different rooms, for example.

We are frequently checking the health and wellbeing of our engineers and also check with all customers before a visit takes place to see if they, or anyone in the household, is self-isolating or has flu-like symptoms. We will not enter a property if that is the case.  Any engineer who falls into the vulnerable category, as per the latest Government guidance, is now working from home and taking calls from customers to support our contact centre colleagues.

If a customer does not feel comfortable with an engineer entering their home then we will work to rearrange an appointment for a suitable time in the future or see if there’s a way for services to be self-installed or fixed remotely.

As for installing new customers - Virgin Media is the biggest competitor to Openreach with an expanding network that reaches more than half of the country. When people switch from an Openreach provider, like BT or Sky, to Virgin Media they are also switching onto a new network. In some cases this can mean we need to install a new cable into the home which is something that can’t be done remotely. In order to make sure the many people who have already decided to switch to Virgin Media are not left without connectivity – a situation which could put them at risk – we are still installing new services. The same safety principles apply to new installs as they do with any other engineer activity.

Building our network

As a critical infrastructure provider, the Government expects network building to continue in order to ensure better connectivity is still being delivered to more parts of the country. As such you will still see our network building teams working in some areas.

All of our crews have been told to adhere to strict social distancing policies and follow safety and hygiene advice. We also continue to keep in close contact with local authorities and communicate directly to residents in areas where we are carrying out work.

We’d like to thank you all for your support and understanding in these difficult times and we’d also like to recognise the work being carried out by thousands of our engineers, call centre staff and build crews. Their continued dedication and hard work is truly helping the country to stay connected. Thank you all for what you’re doing.

As we work to keep you connected, please stay home and stay safe.