Byte Me Article 339 – Dealing with Telcos

7th October 2017

Challenges Dealing With Telcos

As an IT company, we often hear firsthand from customers about their worst phone experiences.  These range considerably from total disconnections when they simply requested a billing name change to existing services that are established – again just to get a billing name change.

This week we had a customer that simply wanted to get their home phone billing changed from a former business name to personal account name.  Again, it resulted in the service being totally cancelled and a new mobile phone being issued to them instead.  They were further impacted by this debacle as they then also lost their ADSL connection in an area with limited ADSL ports at their local exchange.

In the example above they had previously had a $60 / month unlimited ADSL account and the best replacement they could obtain was a 40GB wireless broadband plan at $75 / month.  They have teenagers that will smash this data allowance in just one week with Netflix.  So how could something so simple end up such a train wreck?

As regular readers will recognise a lot of the blame for miscommunications in the communications industry is due to off shore call centres and their associated language barriers.  It may work to some degree to order a pizza when there are language barriers but in the heavily technical based service industries such as phone connections these language barriers have become a bad joke.

Some of our largest Telcos insist on paying peanuts to their offshore call centre employees while making record profits from within Australia.  Some of these same Telcos because of their size have a near monopoly in many areas of the market.  So how do we best deal with this situation?

So, some hot tips here may save you lots of grief.  The large Telcos offer a 24-hour service for phone and Internet connection faults so if this you then try to leave the call until an odd hour of the day.  If you are calling after 10 pm at night or before 8am in the morning the wait cues will be far shorter.

The next tip is to be less nice and more insistent.  If you are having any problems understanding the representative on the other end of the phone (which is entirely likely) then ask for their supervisor.  They will try to prevent this – so you will need to be very insistent or even a little rude.  If the supervisor has little grasp of the English language then ask for their supervisor or a team leader – eventually you will get someone more easily understood.

During the call when it has hopefully become quite clear what you are asking for, make sure that you get a case number.  Write this down along with the date and a brief description of what was said or promised.  Apart from making a coffee before the start of the call – this case number will become a vital part of the contact as it is near inevitable that a follow up call will be needed.

This leads to the next tip.  Be sure to get exact time frames from the person that you have spoken with – and it could be a time frame that you don’t like (e.g. a week away).  This is about all that can be done in the one call.  If the call was about a fault the next thing to do it to wait 10 minutes and ring straight back.

You now have a case number and you will still have to get past the lower paid non-understandable first points of contact.  When you again get to someone that you can understand, give them the case number and ask for the time frame to be escalated.  In most cases this will bring the wait time down to less than 24 hours. 

Future Byte Me topics can be emailed to [email protected] and Bruce is contactable at Kerr Solutions, 205 Musgrave Street or on 49 222 400.

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