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920 posts

Ultimate Geek
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Topic # 57817 25-Feb-2010 15:22
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I was tempted to put this in the Telecom forum, because my current issue is a Telecom one (and who knows, someone here may know the answer), but on the other hand - it's become a rant about the difficulty in contacting real live people who can assist you these days. Every organisation has become faceless behind 0800 Voice Recognition Systems, web page forms etc and caters for the lowest common denominator in support.

Telecom Email Issue
I support a charity who use a Telecom ADSL connection with dynamic IP addressing, who have an SBS server and use smtp.xtra.co.nz as an SMTP Exchange "smart host", with Port 25 unblocked - which avoids the issue of having to worry too much about mail delivery issues.

They have recently received a number of delivery errors on outgoing email with "452 Too Many Recipients" errors, so I went to the Telecom web site to establish what the limit was. However, I couldn't find anything relevant there, or on the linked Yahoo!Xtra Help Pages. I decided to email xtrahelp@xtra.co.nz, in preference to camping on the phone for who knows how long and needing to explain myself many times over. However, I got an email back saying this mailbox had been closed and suggested a bunch of URLs, none of which were relevant - with a link to a web form to complete. This of course has the usual miniscule text box to type in (thank goodness for copy and paste) and when you click send, then presents the same bunch of URLs which you have to click past before it actually submits the query.

What an effort to ask a simple question.

Telstra Clear Issue
Recently a driver lost control of his car in our street, in the middle of the night and took out both a Telecom and a Telstra Clear cable junction box outside our house. While the Telstra Clear junction box was completely demolished, the cable appeared okay and I phoned the next morning to report this. An IVR of course, and I'm not a Telsta Clear customer - so to finally get to a real person to report the issue, while not having either a Telstra Clear Customer number or phone number, was buried about six levels deep.

At the time I wondered how people were supposed to cope in an emergency and I subsequently discovered on their web site, the statement: "Open 24 hours for emergency fault situations. When prompted by the automated voice to make a selection say TECHNICIAN". However, I had no internet access at that stage and was relying on the good old printed white pages. Given the state of mind of people ringing in a real emergency, wouldn't it be a good idea to state that somewhere within the voice menus?

Medical Practice
I phoned my elderly Dad's Doctor recently to inquire about the results of his eye test (I have power of attorney) to renew his driver's licence, as he was a little confused as to how things had gone -  and found myself confronted with an IVR system. This is not a large metropolitan practice, it's provincial North Island and needless to say there were no options to deal with my sort of query, so I selected "reception" and asked to speak to Dr xxxx's nurse. I was informed that I needed to speak to the telephone queue nurse as the others didn't deal with phone enquiries - "oh and you will need to ring back and select option 2, I can't put you through". "Ah, I'm on a toll call". "Sorry still can't put you through".

I honestly think that customer service for a lot of organisations has gone to the pack and in the name of $ savings - attempts to streamline customer service have actually become a complete barrier to delivering it.

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Master Geek
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  Reply # 304273 4-Mar-2010 08:55
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The problem is separating sensible, legitimate calls from those from people who just want free hand-holding and corporate welfare subsidized by capable customers.   There is a cost in learning any new thing and some people prefer to have a personal tutor [who costs nothing if they can get them] rather than reading the instructions.

But my experience is that personal handling of any calls can be expeditious.   Sometimes people have to be told that their problem is their problem to solve and that they'll have to get a paid expert to help them figure out how to work their computer.   

I haven't come across anyone who, if they are treated politely and helpfully to a reasonable extent, doesn't understand that services are not free.   

Globalstar Australia [when I was a director of it] had a customer service centre with calls back to customers during busy times.   It was great for customer service because customers would be impressed to get fast calls back as soon as somebody was free.   It's not always possible to answer a phone straight away.

Rapid responses by competent people to phone calls is a great way to get business.   People like dealing with people and human relationship identity formation is what life is all about, and why people buy, at the most fundamental level.    The reason people intensely dislike "Your call is really truly utterly important to us which is why you are being sent into an automated madhouse of maze going nowhere" is that they are being treated as no more important than a piece of livestock to be herded into holding pens en route to being fleeced prior to being delivered to the abattoir - and being lied to on the way.     


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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 304285 4-Mar-2010 09:52
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allan: 
Telecom Email Issue
I support a charity who use a Telecom ADSL connection with dynamic IP addressing, who have an SBS server and use smtp.xtra.co.nz as an SMTP Exchange "smart host", with Port 25 unblocked - which avoids the issue of having to worry too much about mail delivery issues.

They have recently received a number of delivery errors on outgoing email with "452 Too Many Recipients" errors, 

Medical Practice
I phoned my elderly Dad's Doctor recently to inquire about the results of his eye test (I have power of attorney) to renew his driver's licence, as he was a little confused as to how things had gone -  and found myself confronted with an IVR system. This is not a large metropolitan practice, it's provincial North Island and needless to say there were no options to deal with my sort of query, so I selected "reception" and asked to speak to Dr xxxx's nurse. I was informed that I needed to speak to the telephone queue nurse as the others didn't deal with phone enquiries - "oh and you will need to ring back and select option 2, I can't put you through". "Ah, I'm on a toll call". "Sorry still can't put you through".



Do you know for sure that the mail error is ADSL / ISP related or Server related, I have a small business and I consider myself reasonable tech but when it comes to the SBS server I get a specialist in, just not worth the hassles and time, $100, hour and half later al done compares to me researching for a day and then spending another day trying to implement it.

As for the DR's, do you realise just how busy the Dr's and practice nurses are, if they took every phone call that come through they would never get to see patients. Did you think about asking to leave a message so you could call back or make a phone appointment. Our Dr's nurse has a set time each day to take incoming calls and this is advised to clients. 

 
 
 
 


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  Reply # 304291 4-Mar-2010 10:01
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Oh the other hand you have some good intentions with extremely bad implementation.

For example Vodafone New Zealand charges $1 (from Prepay customers only) to answer calls.

Their reasoning is that there was an enormous amount of unnecessary calls - people calling to ask what time is it, or what's the weather like in some place. By putting up a barrier (the $1 charge) they claim to have reduce these calls.

However, people do call to complain about legitimate network related problems, not ones cause by the customer but something that's obviously on the Vodafone side.

I am told these calls are reimbursed. But, I read stories of people trying to recharge using credit card, and not being close to a dairy to buy a ticket or close to a computer to do it via the web tried calling. After not being able to recharge over the phone (for whatever problems Vodafone always seems to have) they tried to call the help desk for a manual recharge - but the call could not be completed because of lack of funds.

I think Vodafone should charge, but impletement a big red button on the CSR's screen. If the call is someone asking what time is it, or something like "I have an imported phone and can't configure it" then the CSR should click the big red button, read an announcement and charge it. Charging before even knowing what the call is about is strange.

Of course you can do the Trade Me way and create a 0900 number. This way everyone knows beforehand the call will be charged, so idiots won't call.





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