Virgin Support Forum, I salute you

Returning back to the UK after a summer spent in Norway, we found the apartment just as we left it. Everything worked; we had electricity, water, gas and internet. All was mighty fine, except from a small glitch: the TV. The actual TV was OK, but it greeted us with a message telling us that our smart-card (for the set top box) was invalid. Which was strange, since we got a new one before the summer, and we had payed the bills while we were away. So something was fishy.

After restarting the box with and without the card, it dawned on me that I had to contact customer support. Oh, the horror! After one year in the UK, no interaction with a customer center has been a good experience. And from what I had skimmed on-line, Virgin didn’t have a very good reputation, customer service vice. But it looked like there were no escape this time. But I thought I might work the Google on the internet machine to see if someone had experienced something similar, and what Virgin had done for them.

And while searching, I found some postings on Virgins own forum (http://community.virginmedia.com/t5/TV/bd-p/tv) with the same problem. Some had to be looked on by a service man, but some were fixed by sending some signals to the box. But while looking at the forum, it occurred to me the response time from the Virgin people on the forum was extremely short. Some had gotten answer within minutes of their post. Which was strange, since Virgin say they will answer your email within 48 hours, but used 96 to answer me the one time I mailed them. Could it be a fluke?

I had to try, and wrote a post describing the problem: Invalid smart-card after the box had been turned off for over a month. It was posted 18:00. Four minutes later, an answer popped up, asking me to send a PM with my card number to the Virgin operative. I did, and 18:17 he posted a message telling me he had sent an installation signal to me. And all my channels were back, not even a restart was necessary. Thank you, Mike at Virgin!

Everything OK after 17 minutes on a forum? I was stunned, surprised and feeling a little bit bad for assuming Virgin would make my day miserable. So the lessons of today: If you got a problem with Virgin, and don’t want to call, post a question on their forum. And error warning 3014 on Virgin can be easily fixed.