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It’s not the engineering, it’s the silence that’s frustrating

Updated: Oct 27, 2023

Imagine the scenario. Outside the sky is blue and there are few clouds, but it’s bitterly cold – you’re so glad to be working from home.

You consult your schedule and it looks like a pretty straightforward day. You grab a coffee and join your first TEAMs meeting. The project you’re working on with your customers is going well and everyone is happy.

Then suddenly you drop out of TEAMs. You try to log back in but can’t.

Then you notice the dreaded icon on your computer – the WiFi is off.

Trying to stay calm but imagining your customer wondering where you’ve gone, you check your laptop. Maybe it has just lost the signal? No, that’s doesn’t work. The laptop can’t find your home network.

Okay, that must mean the home gateway has a problem. So, you soft reset the gateway on your laptop.

Nope. Nothing.

At this point your son comes downstairs. He was in a seminar for his university course. His connection dropped too. “WiFi?” he asks. “Did you try a soft reset?”

You role your eyes. “Yes, of course. But it didn’t fix it.”

“Well, nothing for it then,” he says sighing before goin off to switch the gateway off and then on again. You watch as the light flickers on the front of the box and it begins rebooting.

“Is it back on?”

You grab your laptop and search for the network. “No!” you say, getting exasperated. “I don’t have time for this!”

“Wait,” your son says. “It says something about Ethernet…”

The penny drops. Going to the window you pull back your curtains and look outside. You can see the street cabinet opposite, and there in front of it is a smart engineer dressed in his company’s uniform, sat in front of the box.

“There’s an engineer outside,” you tell your son.

Now it’s his turn to roll his eyes. “I’ll go and ask him what the problem is,” he says.

Meanwhile you go back to your laptop and decide to create a hotspot with your mobile phone so you can rejoin the meeting. You apologize and explain. Everyone is sympathetic and shares their own stories of unreliable networks.

10 minutes later the meeting ends, but you’re still frustrated.

“What was the problem with the network?” you ask your son.

He shakes his head. “Routine maintenance.”

“Did you tell him that taking the network down without telling us is unacceptable?” you ask, incredulous.

Your son nods. “Yes, I did. Of course, I did. But it’s not his fault – he’s just an engineer. He said they don’t always notify people ahead of time.”

“It’s just not good enough. The least they could do is tell us. I could have used my mobile hotspot at the start of the meeting. Or I could have gone into the office today.”

“Why don’t you tweet customer service and complain?”

“You know that’s a good idea. I think I will.”

A customer somewhere @acustomersomewhere 6 October 2022 We’re not very happy that your engineer cut off our services without warning. It’s a terrible customer experience and it’s not good enough. #telecoms #CX #customerservice 💬436 🔄159 ❤️ 166

A big network operator @abignetworkoperator 6 October 2022 Replying to @acustomersomewhere I am sorry to hear your service has gone down, please report this to your provider who can raise a fault for you and if the service stays down we make sure you get back on asap. ^Dave 💬1 🔄0 ❤️0

A customer somewhere @acustomersomewhere 6 October 2022 Replying to @abignetworkoperatorhelp You're missing the point Dave - it's planned engineering. We shld have been informed ahead of time so we could plan our day accordingly. It's a communication failure on your side. Try proactive texts or even cards through the door! #CX #customerservice 💬1 🔄0 ❤️0

A big network operator @abignetworkoperator 6 October 2022 Replying to @acustomersomewhere I do understand your frustration and we do update the communications provider of planned work but we cannot always do letter drops in an area but I will pass your feedback on to the correct department. ^Dave 💬1 🔄0 ❤️0

A customer somewhere @acustomersomewhere 6 October 2022 Replying to @abignetworkoperatorhelp It's not good enough when you're in the middle of a videoconference for the network to be switched off without warning. Just not good enough. Text message would suffice. 💬1 🔄0 ❤️0

How different it could have been…

Whether your customers are connected by 4G FWA, 5G FWA, mobile broadband or fiber, Subtonomy’s Network Experience Platform enables you to pinpoint exactly which customers are going to be affected by planned network maintenance. This allows you to proactively message affected customers before the maintenance takes place, so that they can make contingency arrangements.

Not only that, but when there’s an unplanned network fault, our Network Experience Platform helps you rapidly and accurately pinpoint the impact, ensuring only those customers affected are updated, letting them know you’re working on it and keeping them up-to-date on progress – most importantly informing them when everything’s back to normal.


  • avoids customers becoming frustrated and calling your contact center to find out what’s going on

  • ensures your engineers can get on with their job without being interrupted by frustrated customers asking what’s going on

  • helps keep your customers informed and happy. Because while they might understand that routine maintenance can’t be helped, if the network fails without explanation and there’s no communication from you, they’re going to quickly become annoyed

  • means that customers that are not affected are not spammed with support messages that don’t apply to them.

In the old days you could perform maintenance on suburban networks between 10am and 3pm - confident that few people would be using the network because they’d all be out at work, school or doing their shopping. But we don’t live in the old days. Now that people work from home, study from home and have homes packed with connected devices, operators need to take a new approach to managing network engineering.

Why not contact us today to find out how we help our clients avoid frustrating their customers with planned maintenance and network faults?

Or read more about our Network Experience Platform here. With so much upgrading going on to mobile network equipment and home broadband connections, the sooner you get a better system in place to keep your customers informed, the sooner you can deliver the kind of network experience they now expect.


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