Today I discovered what Telecom customer service means. If this Mickey Mouse outfit really is going to be entrusted with most of New Zealand's fibre rollout, our communications infrastructure problems have only just begun.
We live about 20km from Hastings in an area that is technically rural, but hardly the back of beyond. Yesterday our landline quit working. Today it was still down so after checking with the neighbours to make sure we weren't the only ones, we tried to report it.
I say 'tried' because Telecom has never managed to make its cellphone coverage work in our area. The old analogue phones did fine but the only way to get even a marginal signal on the new! improved! models is to climb the high hill behind our house. So what happens when you finally do manage to bleep 1-2-0? First, you get a voicemail that everybody's too busy to help you. Then you get a smug lecture about how 25% of all faults are actually due to the dumb customer. Finally, you are given a choice to hang on until your battery fails while listening to promotions for wireless gear that Telecom can't make work at your location anyway, or request a ringback at some indeterminate point in the future while you sit in the weather like the fool on the hill. (Later, after the landline was working again, I did just this, and it did indeed take hours, so I'm glad I wasn't still on that hilltop.)
What we did instead was ring a friend in town to submit a complaint on our behalf. An appointment was made for the following day though we had no way of knowing that since we couldn't be reached. (Telecom is also incapable of delivering broadband where we live, so we are on dial-up).
However, the landline magically started working again a few hours later. I rang the friend to thank her and she said I also had to cancel the appointment so I rang 1-2-0 and the automated nonsense started again. Eventually I left a ringback request with a message. Hours later the phone rang and, for no reason I can fathom, started playing my message back at me (it's not like I didn't know what I had said). I hung up in disgust. A few minutes later, it rang again. It has continued ringing every few minutes since then.
Apologies to any Telecom execs who see this, but on the basis of this experience and others, I think you are all a mob of overpaid worthless w*nkers [censored by Geekzone - lighten up people]. At the very barest minimum, you should have one number dedicated to fault reporting and nothing else (certainly not sales) and you should have enough people available to answer it immediately. The current level of service is not just pathetic, it is shameful.