Poor Customer Service? Time for a Song!

BT Broadband Song Tombstone
BT Broadband Song Tombstone

As many of you know, I was recently inspired to write a song about the lamentable customer service BT was providing to Darren, one of their broadband customers. The song proved to be a big hit, attracting much more attention than I anticipated. According to the BT customer service team, it also helped Darren in his quest to get his service restored (though he had to endure nine days without service first). The good people at BT Care got in touch – firstly to say:

Just posted a comment on your video about your friend’s broadband problem. We would love to get this sorted for him, could you ask him to drop @BTCare a tweet or send btcare@bt.com an email with details of the problem and we will get on to it ASAP. If you ask him to put YouTube in the title of the email I will know it is him.

I would really like to get this sorted for him. Thanks

Then after they had been in touch with their customer and started to sort things out they contacted me again:

It looks like we have been in touch with your friend and are getting things sorted for him. Thanks so much for your help with this.

I really appreciated the way BT Care engaged with me – good work.

Their reaction was a marked contrast to Ian Livingston, BT group CEO. He saw the video and called me three times in one day to remonstrate with me about the song. He was aggressive towards me and made veiled threats of legal action. The song was tongue in cheek – and I don’t think there was anything in it that warranted BT taking legal action. I discussed the matter with friends and the general agreement was ‘the song served its purpose – maybe you should take it down?’

Judging by the way Ian Livingston had reacted I had clearly caused offence, albeit unintentionally. As my friends said, the purpose of the song was to help Darren, so to that extent, mission accomplished. I removed the video from Youtube.

Ian Livingston contacted me again the following day asking

Can you let me know what you decided to do about it all as I can¹t see anything?

I replied confirming I’d already taken the video down. He responded again – here are some of his final words to me (and though I clearly wound him up I was at the time a BT customer and shareholder):


Your song had nothing to do with Darren getting sorted.  It was picked up before we saw your song. I had got it from his email to me which as I dealt with almost immediately as I do with all customer emails despite the assertions in your song….Customer complaints have reduced by 50% over the last 18 months so perhaps we are making some progress and the RFT (edit – right first time) programme is delivering although we have more to do….For someone who prides themselves in engagement skills, you clearly struggle.



Author: Doug Shaw

Artist and Consultant. Embracing uncertainty, sketching myself into existence. Helping people do things differently, through an artistic lens.

5 thoughts on “Poor Customer Service? Time for a Song!”

    1. Hey Pete – it didn’t quite pan out…he came out of the tower, but only to hound me and tick me off. Can’t help but feel that if customer issues were pursued as ruthlessly the whole place would probably tick along much better. Your comments appreciated as always. Cheers!

  1. Hello Mark, that’s a brand I’d be happy to take. Though Joe Strummer would trump it for me! This proved to be a very interesting project, one I would like to adapt. Seems there is some demand for it 🙂 Appreciate you popping by.

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