A few months ago, I upgraded my TV and Internet package with HOT, formerly a cable TV company, whose client I have been since cable TV arrived in Jerusalem, but now, a communications giant whose tentacles encompass not just TV, but also the internet, mobile phones and heaven knows what else.
Their customer service is a byword for incompetence and has been the subject of more than one court case (which they have lost).
Lured by the promise of a much faster internet connection, access to all their TV channels except for the “adult” channels and their Premium sports channels (whatever that means, since, even with only “regular” sports channels, I have more than enough – at least half a dozen), a new Wi-Fi modem (I hadn’t had Wi-Fi before, and hadn’t really needed it, since I have only one computer, but it has proved useful, since I can now surf with my smartphone, without cutting into the limited internet package I have with the mobile phone company) and a free telephone attached to the modem, all for a monthly fee of 315 NIS (only 30 NIS more than I was paying already), I decided to take up their offer for “the Triple”.
Frankly, I haven’t felt any difference in the speed of the connection. Moreover, the Wi-Fi is very unstable. Most worrying of all, I felt the modem was getting very overheated. At least, it felt very hot (no pun intended) to me.
So I called HOT Customer Services.
They have one of those ghastly automatic call-routing services, which tell you your place in the queue and then suggest you leave your number (if it’s not the one from which you are calling) and they will call you back.
As my place in the queue was about seven or eight, I decided to let them call me back. Big mistake. I would have been able to speak to a Customer Service representative much faster if I had stayed on the line. It took about three hours before someone identifying himself as Abdullah called me back (HOT is, at least, an Equal Opportunity Employer, I will say that for them). Abdullah was from Customer Service and, after hearing what I had to say, put me through to someone called Adir, from Sales. Adir handed me over to David who claimed that he didn’t work for HOT, but for HOTNET, a subsidiary company and that I needed the Technical Service (I could have told him that!). I was then handed over to someone who identified himself as “Ronny from Hidra’s team”. Once again, I explained my problem(s) and he promised me that “someone from the Technical Department” would call me back.
I have to admit, he was as good as his word. Matan from the Technical Department did indeed call me back – at 6 pm the following day!
When I had explained my problems to Matan, he opined that the overheating of the modem was due to the fact that I turn it on and off too often. I switch it on first thing in the morning, and switch it off last thing at night and when I go out because (a) it is not needed at those times and (b) the Electricity Company advises switching off (and even unplugging) electrical devices which are not going to be used for a long time. Besides which, I have always been taught that leaving on electrical devices which are not in use increases the risk of fire.
Be that as it may, Matan promised to send a technician round the following week to install a new modem. We settled on Monday, between 9 am and 12 noon.
Shortly after that, I received an email from HOT which I was unable to read, because the letters appeared as gibberish, as well as an SMS to my mobile phone, informing me that I would be visited the following Tuesday by a FedEx courier, who would bring me a new modem, which I was required to install myself!
Furious, I tried to message them back, but this proved to be impossible, so I dashed off an email pointing out that they had made a mistake – well, a number of mistakes, in fact. To my annoyance, I received a return email, thanking me for my email and informing me that someone would get back to me within 3 working days!
That would have been too late, so I phoned them again, and once again, went through seven gates of hell before getting hold of someone who could help me. This was Chaim (from Ghanim’s team). Chaim, although he brought forward the visit of the technician, who would indeed bring and install a new HOTBOX modem, could not fit me in in the morning, so I was forced to settle for the early afternoon slot, between 1 – 3 pm.
Naturally, a confirmation email arrived shortly afterwards, at which point I discovered that my address was wrongly registered with HOT!
Once again, I dashed off an email and once again, I received a standard reply telling me that someone would contact me within three working days.
I decided not to rise to the bait and phone them, especially as the confirmation email had stressed that the technician would contact me by phone shortly before arriving, in order to make sure that someone was actually at home and I would then be able to explain that I actually lived next door to the address he had been given. In any case, the following day, I received yet another email from them, thanking me for my mail and informing me that the correct address had now been noted in the instructions to the technician.
At about 8.45 on Monday morning, just as I was sitting down to breakfast, the phone rang. It was the technician – the one who was supposed to be coming between 1-3 pm. He happened to be in the neighbourhood, he said, so would it be okay if he came round sometime within the next 10 minutes?!
Despite the fact that I now had to bolt down my breakfast, I said yes. And he came – with the new modem. And he installed it. And he, too, explained that I should leave the modem on all the time, even though, in his opinion, the modem was not overheating. The heat, he said, was quite normal. And he showed me how to properly check my internet connection speed. And he explained that the fluctuations in the Wi-Fi (which, as I said, I use mostly for surfing with my smartphone) depend on where I am in the apartment and on how many walls and what kind, lie between my mobile device and the modem. And he also helped to set up my smart TV to receive Wi-Fi (I had already figured it out, but it went much faster with his help).
A few days later, I received an SMS from HOT, asking for customer feedback. There were only about four questions. Three of these related to the service provided by the HOT technician.
Let me re-phrase that 😉
Three questions related to the service provided by the technician from HOT – had he been punctual, etc.
One question alone called for me to give a general rating to the service I had received. Since, on a scale of 1 to 10, I would have awarded something like minus 7, and since there was no place for a detailed description of what exactly had been unsatisfactory – and I did not want them to think I had any complaints about the technician, who had been professional, friendly and courteous – I ignored the request for feedback.
I should just mention that, the evening before the technician’s visit, there had been a problem with the HOT television service. There was no signal whatsoever. When I phoned them, I got a recorded message to the effect that they had detected a general problem in my street, and that their technicians were working to fix it. If I wished, they would send an SMS as soon as the problem was solved. I did wish. A few hours later, and long after the programme I had wanted to watch had ended, I switched on the TV again – just in case. My instinct proved sound. Services had been restored. It was not until the following morning, however, that I received the promised SMS informing me of the fact!
And, just in case you were wondering – the modem is still overheating, the Wi-Fi connection is still unstable and the Internet download speed is still lower than promised.