Customer service? Not!

4 01 2007

One of the tedious tasks when moving house (and boy, had I forgotten just how tedious!) is informing respective utilities and providers of your change of address. In the case of utilities, this also entails making sure that final readings are done for water, gas, electricity, etc.

So today I thought I’d start on a couple of easy ones that don’t rely on the ‘unconditionality’ of the “offer to purchase”. Like Optus… to check what happens to the long-distance arrangement we have with them on our Telstra phone; the redirection of water bills to us instead of the property manager for the house down south; and arrangements for the transfer of the electricity into our name at the house too.

I figured Optus would be the easiest. Right in theory – wrong in practice! First you’re taken through this 20 questions thing with a recorded voice and have to reply to it (it’d be quite clever if it worked as I expected it to). Then you get put on hold and finally a ‘customer service’ person comes on the line. But despite you answering the 20 questions to the recorded voice, they have no clue who you are and you have to repeat yourself all over again. I did this FOUR times! Twice I was cut off (once immediately after getting to a real person; the other time I got lost in the ether somewhere), then I was routed to the wrong division and “no, they couldn’t transfer me – I’d have to call another number”. Ummm… Hello! Optus is a TELECOMMUNICATIONS/PHONE company – and they can’t transfer me??? Give me a break… Finally I got a real person who was helpful and dealt with my enquiry in about 1 minute – after I’d repeated myself to the recorded voice answering the 20 questions, and being on hold for a few more minutes, then verifying my date of birth etc. with the real person.

“Service”? Optus don’t know the meaning of the word!

I girded myself for the next ones – Synergy (the power company) and the Water Corporation. Both experiences were great. I got through quickly to a real person who was helpful and answered my questions and got the transfers done in a matter of a few minutes. Thank you Lorraine (Synergy) and Rachel (Water Corp) for ‘serving’ the customer.

The last call was to my ISP (iinet) to ask about transferring the phone, switching my broadband plan from ADSL2 to ADSL1, what were the charges with VOIP, etc. Well, now there’s a shock! I had a helpful sales person (Lester), but the news is not good. Not only will I be on a MUCH slower connection (1500 thingies compared to 24000 thingies), but they’ll charge me MORE! About another $30 a month more for the ‘privilege’ of going slower, and that’s not including VOIP at another $10 a month. Hello??? Lester said it was because it was cheaper for them to provide ADSL2, than ADSL1. Well, that’s all well and good, but in the country YOU DON’T HAVE A CHOICE! ADSL2 is NOT an option; no providers have ADSL2 to regional areas – only ADSL1. So where does iinet get off penalising a 10+ year customer with extra charges for LESS service? I’ll be investigating other ISPs, even though I didn’t want to change initially as, with all the other changes associated with moving, changing ISPs was not something I wanted to do consider now.

Harrumpph! It’s not been a good day…