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  Reply # 1073496 24-Jun-2014 15:07
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richms:
KiwiNZ: I prefer phone, it's quicker, friendlier, more flexible and efficient.


Thankyou for calling, your call is important to us, here is some awful music for you to listen to while we are dealing with other peoples trivial problems that are their own doing, and providing them with information they could have found on the website if they bothered to read.



That is one of a myriad of scenarios that require actually talking to another human.




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  Reply # 1073497 24-Jun-2014 15:10
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surfisup1000: 9 times out of 10 I find the phone faster. 

Phone numbers are hardly ever displayed on the home page of a website. I can't recall ever finding a number on the home page actually. 

Badly designed contact forms are very annoying. 

Many times when I send an email or use a contact field I receive a message that my question will be answered within 24/48 hours or whatever. That is too slow when I can phone and get an answer nearly immediately. 

Very few companies do online/email enquiries properly.

Maybe Amazon does an ok job, can't think of any others off the top of my head. 


It depends on the situation though. Companies that have a website and can't reply within a day shouldn't really have a website IMHO, and email should have the same priority as a phone call. Some companies may also display a phone number, but when you call, you never get through, you are either on hold for half and hour or more, or you have a to leave a message. 

 
 
 
 




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  Reply # 1073507 24-Jun-2014 15:22
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That was interesting seems this is quite a hot topic
A couple of things to consider....
I wonder if age relates to method of contact? I am an old fart who remembers bank mangers and secretaries and receptions. So my preference is generally talking to someone. BUT
I also prefer email and txt for other types of communications.

I was also in error when I said the 0800 number I didnt actually mean ONLY the 0800. Imagine in the top right corner a drop down list of all the forms of communications.

Another consideration in choice is whether the customer can touch type.

In case any one wonders what caused the thread I needed to have a conversation asap with TradeMe. As a volume seller they give us a 0800 number to call
I could not find it
so I went to ring the 0900 didn't work on my Slingshot Landline
Tried on my Skinny mobile Blocked
Went to skinny Site couldn't find a number of any kind to call
Went to slingshot I had there 0800 told me all 0900 numbers are Blocked with them same with skinny

In the end I asked another top seller.





Is an English Man living in New Zealand. Not a writer, an Observer he says. Graham is a seasoned 'traveler" with his sometimes arrogant, but honest opinion on life. He loves the Internet!.

 

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  Reply # 1073509 24-Jun-2014 15:30
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gnfb: I want to setup a soapbox, start a cause ! that companies place there 0800 number in the top right corner of the front page of there website to see how customer focused they are!


If you want to do something why don't you petition companies and the web developers they hire to adhere to good web standards.

For example you can see the NZ Govt's standard on contact details here https://webtoolkit.govt.nz/standards/web-usability-standard-1-1/ under heading 2.2


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  Reply # 1073512 24-Jun-2014 15:34
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gnfb: That was interesting seems this is quite a hot topic
A couple of things to consider....
I wonder if age relates to method of contact? I am an old fart who remembers bank mangers and secretaries and receptions. So my preference is generally talking to someone. BUT
I also prefer email and txt for other types of communications.

I was also in error when I said the 0800 number I didnt actually mean ONLY the 0800. Imagine in the top right corner a drop down list of all the forms of communications.

Another consideration in choice is whether the customer can touch type.

In case any one wonders what caused the thread I needed to have a conversation asap with TradeMe. As a volume seller they give us a 0800 number to call
I could not find it
so I went to ring the 0900 didn't work on my Slingshot Landline
Tried on my Skinny mobile Blocked
Went to skinny Site couldn't find a number of any kind to call
Went to slingshot I had there 0800 told me all 0900 numbers are Blocked with them same with skinny

In the end I asked another top seller.



God that sounds like a nightmare. I have had similar situations.  If companies have nothing to hide, a phone number accessible to everyone should be readily found on their website.  This gives the end user the choice of how to contact. 

BigPipe, email support only might work ok whilst you are small and controlling your numbers, I wonder when you grow if email troubleshooting is really feasible. 20 Minutes for an initial response seems pretty responsive, but 20 minutes per interchange of emails over a troubleshooting process would be nightmare. 

Phone troubleshooting is WAY faster than written communication, and the reasoning that your initial time for speaking to someone at the big ISP's being 45+ minutes on hold isn't really fair as they shouldn't have wait times that long.  If you can speak to someone within 10-15 minutes hard to believe email would be quicker.


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  Reply # 1073514 24-Jun-2014 15:36
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Glassboy:
gnfb: I want to setup a soapbox, start a cause ! that companies place there 0800 number in the top right corner of the front page of there website to see how customer focused they are!


If you want to do something why don't you petition companies and the web developers they hire to adhere to good web standards.

For example you can see the NZ Govt's standard on contact details here https://webtoolkit.govt.nz/standards/web-usability-standard-1-1/ under heading 2.2



NZ governments aren't companies though, so those standards wouldn't probably apply to businesses. You often have to wait 7 days to get a reply from government organisations by email. Some also block calling 0800 from mobiles.



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  Reply # 1073517 24-Jun-2014 15:41
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BigPipeNZ:
gnfb: I want to setup a soapbox, start a cause ! that companies place there 0800 number in the top right corner of the front page of there website to see how customer focused they are!


I disagree that simply displaying an 0800 number shows they are customer focussed.

When we have the internet there should be no need to ever call a company if that company is sufficiently focussed on providing a great online experience.  Having an 0800 number is a crutch for bad service IMHO.  (and yes, even if your home internet goes down, you still have 3G/4G, so with a decent website or app, it's not a a problem)

The least customer focussed companies pretty much all have 0800 numbers.  (take your pick)
Some of the most customer focussed companies don't have any number at all.  e.g. Xero

At Bigpipe we don't have a phone number either, and we like to think we are highly customer focussed.

Online support is where support should be in the 21st century - vastly superior to phone support both for the customer and for us.
Rather than treating it like a 2nd class citizen and relying on the call centre, businesses should be embracing online and pouring their focus into it rather than making the token effort that most do (something like 50% of NZ businesses don't have any web presence at all!)

 

  • No waiting on hold for someone to pick up. 
  • No waiting on hold while someone not familiar with your problem goes and asks someone else to help. 
  • No need to patiently explain your issue again and again to multiple people as they pass you off from person to person - everything is right there in your email.
  • Everything is tracked via email so both us and the customer always have a copy of everything that has been said - no arguing over who said what or straining to understand unusual accents.
  • Urgent problems can easily jump the queue in front of non-urgent problems, so they get fixed faster.
  • Cheaper for us to setup and manage - which means better price for your broadband despite the fact we buy more international capacity per customer than any other ISP to provide the best experience.

It's just better overall.
It's funny that some people will look at us and think "Oh, online-only support. That must be bad/budget service" When the reality is the exact opposite. Our average response time to a support request is around 20 minutes. (most businesses will do 24 hours for email). For urgent issues, it's faster still.  
20 minutes is less time than you will often spend waiting on hold with other ISPs - with the added benefit that with us you can go off and watch TV or whatever whilst you wait.
We're not all the way there yet with the stuff we want to do, but already we're seeing the benefits.

As you can tell, I feel quite passionately about this.  Having experienced it here running Bigpipe, it's really something that any business that is internet based should be doing IMHO, not relying on an 0800 number to see them through - even if they do place it prominently on their website.



I agree with a lot of what you say from a corporation viewpoint.
BUT
The era that we are in at present is a, I think axis point Because I am old I don't touch type and I am use to talking to people to get a result. It may be that your demographic is not the 40 and beyond age group. If so that's fine. The reason most organizations do not employ a army of service personnel answering phones is the cost factor. The fact that I as a consumer am not prepared to pay $120 and hour to talk to a tec on the phone, I want to but its not practical. So the solution is to get the consumer to do half the work at least. Starting with a FAQ. 

You see by now I am sick of typing that paragraph because i don't touch type whereas I would be more than happy to sit back with a couple of beers and shoot the breeze on customer service for a couple of hours.

A lot has to do with my past regarding customer service which was mainly all person to person resolution either in Hospitality or retail.

I appreciate the volume of your reply though!




Is an English Man living in New Zealand. Not a writer, an Observer he says. Graham is a seasoned 'traveler" with his sometimes arrogant, but honest opinion on life. He loves the Internet!.

 

gnfb on trademe travelkit.nz

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  Reply # 1073519 24-Jun-2014 15:42
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networkn: 


BigPipe, email support only might work ok whilst you are small and controlling your numbers, I wonder when you grow if email troubleshooting is really feasible. 20 Minutes for an initial response seems pretty responsive, but 20 minutes per interchange of emails over a troubleshooting process would be nightmare. 




It would depend on the problem. 9 times out of 10 it will likely be a general problem, or a problem they would need to contact someone else about, which would mean calling you back or putting you on hold.
The good thing about email is that it is all recorded, and you don't need to keep repeating things. One of the most frustrating things about phoning a company is continuously speaking to different people, and having to explain things over and over again. Then they may say something incorrect, and you have no proof of what was said, or you may misinterpret something, very frustrating.Where a single email detailing the issue will usually be enough, and you then get a reply in your own time. But it is horse for courses and depends on the type of phone call. I see phone being better for sales enquiries than support for example, and you will often see companies offering phone for sales, but support has to be logged through an email ticketing system.



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  Reply # 1073524 24-Jun-2014 15:49
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mattwnz:
Glassboy:
gnfb: I want to setup a soapbox, start a cause ! that companies place there 0800 number in the top right corner of the front page of there website to see how customer focused they are!


If you want to do something why don't you petition companies and the web developers they hire to adhere to good web standards.

For example you can see the NZ Govt's standard on contact details here https://webtoolkit.govt.nz/standards/web-usability-standard-1-1/ under heading 2.2



NZ governments aren't companies though, so those standards wouldn't probably apply to businesses. You often have to wait 7 days to get a reply from government organisations by email. Some also block calling 0800 from mobiles.


See the word "example" in my post?  Companies operate to standards all the time, both voluntary and mandatory.  There's nothing stopping companies adopting a voluntary standard for web usability and accessibility.  

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  Reply # 1073540 24-Jun-2014 16:04
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networkn: 

BigPipe, email support only might work ok whilst you are small and controlling your numbers, I wonder when you grow if email troubleshooting is really feasible. 20 Minutes for an initial response seems pretty responsive, but 20 minutes per interchange of emails over a troubleshooting process would be nightmare. 

Phone troubleshooting is WAY faster than written communication, and the reasoning that your initial time for speaking to someone at the big ISP's being 45+ minutes on hold isn't really fair as they shouldn't have wait times that long.  If you can speak to someone within 10-15 minutes hard to believe email would be quicker.



We do have the ability to call customers if necessary - and you're right for some troubleshooting this is better.  
It means that we are at the convenience of our customers (i.e. we call when they tell us it's ok, they don't wait on hold - which still happens with some so-called 'callback' systems other people use)

But for the majority of queries, it's just so much faster to reply via email.  
(and I have all the data about the types of queries that come through, volumes, time to resolve - it's pretty rare that you actually have something that requires detailed troubleshooting)

Bear in mind it's not so much that we're faster than phone support (we often are, but not always) but rather you aren't wasting your time waiting for us to be ready.  

With another ISP you might wait on hold for 10 minutes (or longer) to get picked up, then you spend 5+ minutes going through the basic steps (even if you already did them), then you get put through to another person and you have to explain it all over again, then wait on hold whilst they go off and run various tests before they finally come back to you with "yep, looks like a line fault.  I'll have to get Chorus to send a tech out"

With us, you can write us an email and include the detail about what stuff you have tried (resetting modem, including modem stats, tracerts - try explaining a tracert over the phone to somebody!).  We'll bear that in mind, go off and do any necessary digging, speaking to other people if necessary, network team etc before coming back to you with  "yep, looks like a line fault.  I'll have to get Chorus to send a tech out"  

Same answer in about the same amount of time, but with us, you can go off an play Battlefield or watch TV whilst you wait for the reply :D




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  Reply # 1073544 24-Jun-2014 16:18
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BigPipeNZ: 
With another ISP you might wait on hold for 10 minutes (or longer) to get picked up, then you spend 5+ minutes going through the basic steps (even if you already did them), then you get put through to another person and you have to explain it all over again, then wait on hold whilst they go off and run various tests before they finally come back to you with "yep, looks like a line fault.  I'll have to get Chorus to send a tech out"



imo, this is the biggest take from anything said..

for it to be true, you have to be speaking to someone, who actually knows what they are talking about rather than following a book and scripts..


nothing better than having an issue, contacting support, and hearing from someone who knows what they are on about! 


Snap have a ticket system, which unfortunately is underused and doesnt have the best response times, however every time i get someone who knows what im on about, or passes it onto someone who does.
as call centers get larger, there seems to be a theme of people who arent as well clued up and then they bounce to answers.


the other advantage i see in email/ticket support, is there is the time for the CSR to take a moment, and piece together an effective solution.




#include <std_disclaimer>

 

Any comments made are personal opinion and do not reflect directly on the position my current or past employers may have.


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  Reply # 1073570 24-Jun-2014 16:54
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BigPipeNZ: 
We do have the ability to call customers if necessary - and you're right for some troubleshooting this is better.  
It means that we are at the convenience of our customers (i.e. we call when they tell us it's ok, they don't wait on hold - which still happens with some so-called 'callback' systems other people use)


I'd like the ability to opt out of call centre scripts - by a mechanism such as the call centre analysts checking my LinkedIn profile - leaving me the ability to just log a call.  The use of first call resolve as a KPI for contact centres is pretty much the single cause of modern call centres being loathed (and ineffectual). 



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  Reply # 1073575 24-Jun-2014 17:07
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mattwnz:
It would depend on the problem. 9 times out of 10 it will likely be a general problem, or a problem they would need to contact someone else about, which would mean calling you back or putting you on hold.
The good thing about email is that it is all recorded, and you don't need to keep repeating things. One of the most frustrating things about phoning a company is continuously speaking to different people, and having to explain things over and over again. Then they may say something incorrect, and you have no proof of what was said, or you may misinterpret something, very frustrating.Where a single email detailing the issue will usually be enough, and you then get a reply in your own time. But it is horse for courses and depends on the type of phone call. I see phone being better for sales enquiries than support for example, and you will often see companies offering phone for sales, but support has to be logged through an email ticketing system.


A functioning CRM system would solve that problem of repeating yourself, but I know first hand that a company staffed by old people will end up writing their own notes down in their own system and they get quite annoyed when you ask them to email you any requests to call people because "thats not the way I do things"

Yes I am quite bitter about working with a whole lot of old people who are stuck 20 years in the past.




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  Reply # 1073578 24-Jun-2014 17:10
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Glassboy:
BigPipeNZ: 
We do have the ability to call customers if necessary - and you're right for some troubleshooting this is better.  
It means that we are at the convenience of our customers (i.e. we call when they tell us it's ok, they don't wait on hold - which still happens with some so-called 'callback' systems other people use)


I'd like the ability to opt out of call centre scripts - by a mechanism such as the call centre analysts checking my LinkedIn profile - leaving me the ability to just log a call.  The use of first call resolve as a KPI for contact centres is pretty much the single cause of modern call centres being loathed (and ineffectual). 




Or you use a small boutique company which you have a closer relationship with, where you know when you contact them, they will know your level of expertise. When you buy from a large company at a lower price, you are often buying a service that will suit perhaps 80 % of their customer base fine. It is more impersonal, and the phone jockeys maybe dealing with hundreds of calls a day which isn't easy for them, and this can affect the experience. 
But the cost comes with having to follow the same processes that all other customers have to follow each time. So in the case of ISPs, you have to go through all their troubleshooting steps first even though you may have already carried them out and you already know that those are the reason for the problem.

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  Reply # 1073580 24-Jun-2014 17:12
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Half the time the troubleshooting steps are a delaying tactic to get off the call, as call centers value shorter calls over anything else.

Turn the router off for 10 mins to let the line clear type BS like that, when really they know its an outage but its not an outage till marketing say its an outage type things.




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