If Telstra ever wondered why it gets such a bad rap it need look no further than its own phone answering system. It’s one of those stupid computer voices – ‘tell me in a few words how we can help you’. So you tell it, and it promptly either tells you ‘I don’t know what you mean’, or transfers you to the customer service equivalent of Siberia.
Take today for example. I needed to renew an ongoing redirection on a phone number. Should be easy. The arrangement’s been in place for a couple of years, we just need to speak to Telstra each year and authorise another 12 months. Easy?
Call the business line. Get the dreaded ‘voice’. I say ‘extend number redirection’. It says ‘so you mean call forwarding?’ Fool that I am, I say ‘yes’. It then transfers me into an endless loop system of pre-recorded information on how to configure call forwarding on my phone. Which bears zero resemblance to what I am seeking.
So hang up and call again. This time I say ‘no’ to the call forwarding question. And back into ‘so in a few words, tell me how we can help….’. Well gee, let me tell you how you can help – THROW THE STUPID COMPUTER VOICE OVER THE NEAREST CLIFF!!!!!!!!!
On a whim, while listening to more endless computer voice nonsense I try pushing 0, because so often on these automated systems that gets you the operator (not that the computer voice tells you this). Hey presto, I’m through to a ‘consultant’. Incidentally, when did call centre grunts suddenly become ‘consultants’ by the way? Have they all joined McKinseys, Boston Consulting or Ernst and Young? Consultants wear Boss suits and pull down $500,000 a year implementing Six Sigma. Not earning $15 an hour in a call centre answering customer service calls and asking permission to have a pee.
‘Consultant’ listens to my request, but of course can’t help because he’s not in the business area. So he tries to put me through – four times it fails. Including him ringing me back twice, then trying to transfer. His diagnosis – the ‘business’ area must be ‘down’. Good lord, inspires confidence that the nation’s dominant telecommunications company’s entire business services division is off the air. How can you help not have confidence in their products when an employee of Telstra is unable to transfer your call to another Telstra employee because of their phone system is ‘down’?
To the bloke’s credit he did then try and work his computer to see what could be done regarding my request, but he didn’t have the access.
In the end he gave me the direct number of the business division. Which, thankfully, I didn’t have to call because it’s transpired that an earlier fax sent to Telstra about the matter had been actioned – despite them saying they couldn’t action the fax and needed an authorised account holder (eg me) to call in person. Another hour of my life wasted.
I think Telstra have exceeded their right to extract profit from the Australian consumer. Right now they advertise that their Home and Business offices are open for business. But.. an answering machine disconnects callers. After unbearable delays due to their pathetic computer answering service. Right across Telstra the customer is UNABLE to get their voice heard. The “Industry Ombudsman” lacks either the will or legal ability to bring the obviously “off the rails” communications providers into line. Ultimately we are talking politics. The “self funded industry ombudsman” system is failing in many areas. Not just communications.
I went through the Computer message system just today and answered all the stupid questions only to find out they are closed after hours.