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Monday, August 29, 2016

Goodbye Easynet/Interoute/MDNX/Solution 1/Viatel/Griffin/Iconnyx/Telecomplete/Fused/Man Bytes Dog/Allurian...

I'm starting my new job tomorrow, not only my new job but my new career - the one I have been striving for for a few years, especially the last two.

Joining MDNX (as it was then known - of which I only twice mistakenly used the somewhat more illustrious similar 4 letters) was not something I strived for.

Going back in time, ooh 10 years ago, I had joined Verizon as a Debt Recovery Analyst.  I absolutely smashed it in the first year, becoming one of the very few members of staff to achieve the highest rating.

My business studies degree was coming in useful (I was still actively studying for it), I was focused, enthusiastic - getting great support and encouragement from an excellent manager, who left me alone to do my job.  I was smashing all of my targets by miles - and millions.

Then a team leader job came up for it.  I didn't have the confidence in myself to go for it, plus it 'required' foreign languages.  So I didn't apply.  And a witch became my manager.

Work became hell.

Eventually she was managed out, but not before I had totally lost motivation and interest.  I did get back into it, but never quite on the same level of enthusiasm - I had seen how absolutely useless a large corporation could be, and how uncaring one could be towards their staff.

Eventually I moved on - a promotion - to the commissions team.  Which was dreadful.  Managed by a lesser-witch and a sly champagne socialist, there was nothing to do for the first two weeks but read terms and conditions and I knew on the first morning that I hated it.  I wanted to leave immediately.

Spending all day staring at a spreadsheet with 900 rows and 2000 columns trying to find something that might be out of place, for 2-3 days, then having next to nothing to do all month was not my idea of work.  I was miserable and hated every day.

I succeeding in being made redundant - and successfully spent all my money having fun.  Which led me to having to find a job.  MDNX came along - they found me - I didn't really want to work in Bracknell.  I absolutely did not want to work in Bracknell.  But the redundancy money had run out and I had no option but to take it.

I nearly walked out a few times in the first three months.  Boy was it hard sitting in a hot office, going back to credit control, after 6 months chilling and partying.  I actually had a decent manager, but for one aspect - she was a micro-manager.  And I had plenty of credit control experience.  I bit my tongue as she was a good soul, and had given me a chance to get back onto my feet.

But I was bored in the job, I had little interest in it, not enough work and couldn't stand Bracknell.  Not to mention that it reached 31'C in the summer in the office.  It was further encouragement towards studying - though by time I reached the weekend I just wanted to get drunk.

Once she left, things changed drastically.  A much more chilled out manager was employed (I may have had a sneaky word with the financial controller suggesting that it would be encouraging to work for a company that employed from within - I knew we'd get on) and we took over a shambles of a company - it was to be my job to sort out the mess.

Finally - a challenge!  I still didn't want to do credit control but I had something to get stuck into.  And holy crap it was horrendous.  In terms of credit control I have never seen anything such a mess, so many problems, so many customers complaining and shouting (and that was before I got stuck in) - not to mention MDNX caused a fair few issues of their own during the migration.

It was a disaster.  But something I could fix.  Ideally it needed 3 people to work on it to recover as much debt as possible.  For a while, there was just me.  Though thankfully they eventually employed a temp.

I saw the company grow hugely whilst I was there.  From 120 staff when I started, to I guess, 900 before we were bought by Interoute.  I didn't particularly grow.  I matured further.  I stopped coming in on just 2 hours sleep on a Friday after going out.  But I was going nowhere and after 2 years, I realised this.  Which was when I set my 10 hours a week target for studying - I had to get out of credit control.

Credit control can be a real misery.  Rarely do you get the opportunity to make anyone happy other than the financial controller.  I almost always reached my target.  I achieved as much as possible within the time constraints.  At one point I was receiving and answering nearly 150 e-mails a day.

But day after day you get shit thrown at you.  Customers call to shout, account managers have a go, sales managers, directors - nobody likes the credit controller.  I had to harass not only customers, but staff members that couldn't be arsed to do their job.  It is quite a negative experience at times, you really do have to have broad shoulders.

I always followed procedures and was never afraid to suspend customers if they didn't pay.  Which always seemed to surprise them.  Day after day I was having arguments with customers about various aspects of our terms and conditions that they didn't like, day after day I was having to make decisions which were difficult.  Most days I would take at least some abuse.

Examples?  Of course, I have examples:

This guy is a disgrace to your organisation and I now want to raise an official complaint about him… this guy seems intent on destroying any relationships you have.
 
Forgive my brevity, for whatever reason James has personality traits that would offend anyone, on and off for a long time now we find ourselves dealing with him and his disgusting approach to interacting with us.
 
Your ridiculously heavy handed approach to arbitrarily disconnecting completely unrelated customers is totally unprofessional.
 
You have completely disrespected us, and our customers and let yourselves down in the process.
 
I have unfortunately to make an official complaint into the way our account has been handled and obstructive and inflexible attitude of James in this matter.
 
No need to apologise for the manner in which you speak to my accounts team or finance manager (even when you were in the wrong), for the border line rude way in which you construct an email (even when you were in the wrong), or for not investigating our request for a credit properly in the first place (even when you were in the wrong).
 
It is a shame that provisioning issues are not addressed with the same aggression and lack of manners that James delivers his emails with.
 
I reiterate my point yesterday, this is very heavy handed credit control and I'd like this noted to your line manager.
 
Please do not send condescending emails of this nature. We are your customer.
 
This doesn't address the attitude and level of service we receive from James Winfield. At no point has James or anyone else apologised for this ! Also as usual the confusion is down to invoices in dispute - again . I don't see why we should have to deal with someone who is incompetent and rude !
 
There is a massive difference between robust and rude ! We pay every correct invoice on time – CORRECT INVOICE.
 
Also apparently it is not just ourselves that have complained about your terrible attitude – maybe something worth thinking about.
 
Can you NOT get through your thick head.....we are not paying until correct bills are received...get life guys...sort this stupid mess out.
 
I have now rung you four times and left four answer machine messages, I find you very rude in not replying or responding.
 
YOU IGNORANT ARSEHOLE. You haven't replied to call or e-mails so stop sending me this fucking rubbish. You're added to blocked senders.
 
Could you please confirm that this James Winfield exists.
 
Please give me the head of your departments name and email. How dare you sent me such rude and un professional emails.
 
I feel you are being extremely rude to me.
 
A happy new year to you however, it is the first proper working day of the year and you have managed to be totally incompetent!!
 
If you recall I do not want to deal with James and you took an undertaking that you would be dealing with this yourself!!!
 
I have also checked our bank account and funds you are claiming have been sent by our bank to yours, so STOP MOANING…..and get some life your end. Don’t you better things to do?....go and mess up someone else’s account.
 
Both are incredibly rude and unhelpful (even getting the name of a manager for example was especially painful!) – neither of them in my opinion has any customer service skills.
 
I have just received a further communication from James Winfield, as stated several times we no longer wish to deal with James Winfield and ask that a new credit manager is assigned to our account – please confirm this by return and I will go ahead and process the payment as above.  
 
I think this is absolutely disgusting to send us a disconnection notice without checking the account.
 
Well then we will put no further business your ways. Your attitude to us is not acceptable.
 
Once again issues with James Winfield. I am fed up of his incompetence and attitude in the way he communicates. He needs stop rubbing people up the wrong way .
 
I am going to escalate this further with your company and will be putting a complaint into your superiors about you and your heavy handed approach.
We have been a long standing customer of yours and our account is always settled in full, so I do not appreciate this poor level of customer service from you.
 
I will be writing to your directors informing them of your lack of understanding and arrogant attitude, which in part has instigated us moving VITAL user service away from Easynet.
 
I find the way you deal with your customers nothing short of disgusting.
 
I repeat I do not want any contact from James Winfield.
 
As expected form you, complete rudeness. You really should get a job you enjoy and be happy in life.

***

It is, after all, a game.  Customers try to keep their money as long as possible, I am trying to ensure that we receive it as soon as possible.  Each party is trying to maximise their cash-flow.

Receiving abuse is simply part of it - I even had threats of violence on occasion.  Sadly none in writing!  Didn't quite make it to a death threat though.

Have I mentioned how hot the office was yet?

It wasn't all bad.  I worked with some truly wonderful people.  I have little idea why I commuted to Bracknell for 3 years, and then even bloody moved there, other than I was actually happy working with the people I did.  I met some rather special people there and have made at least a couple of lifelong friends, if not more.

And I wasn't the only person to think this.  Time after time, people said that what kept them there was "the people".  Namely myself, of course.  People stayed to admire my hair and in anticipation that I would eventually wear my shiny green meggings.



Which I did.  On my last day.  Though the sequin shoes also got a day out, not to mention that I did turn up in shorts once when I became super pissed-off with the office temperature.

And I could listen to music all day.  Which is a massive bonus.

Though it was the conversations with some pretty special people - along with some great laughs that we had there that will mean that I will somehow always have fond memories.

I worked very hard in that last year to progress my understanding of code, make some websites, design and implement my portfolio, and then eventually get the job of my dreams, which I start tomorrow.

Goodbye Easynet and thank you - I think.