After reading many, many horror stories of UFB installations on GZ, I've doubled-down in my determination to get a timely installation sorted on my property. Sadly, it's slowly slipping away from me, but I refuse to give up.
We're moving in on Friday to a new property in Khandallah. The UFB cables are shiny new on the street and were laid a month ago. The property is on a shared driveway with three other homes, but each property has access to services on the road via individual polls and aerial connections. Existing copper and electricity connections are delivered that way.
18 Apr - House inspection visit, managed to find a Chorus van parked near the house - helpful technician says, "should be a clean, simple aerial install"
19 Apr - Order placed with Orcon, for an "installation date" of Tuesday 10 May. I'm brimming with optimism and a can-do spirit.
20 Apr - "Sorry, you need consents" message from Orcon based on advice from Chorus because the property is on a shared driveway. Spirits crumbling.
20 Apr - I get in touch with Orcon to clarify that the property could be installed via aerial, so it must just be a default knee-jerk reaction to a property description that lists a shared driveway. They commit to getting in touch with Chorus to double-check... but I'm not super convinced and start poking around for ways to get in touch myself. Dogged determination.
21 Apr - After some googling manage to find an email for the Chorus consents team and send a message asking for their help. I get a reply within a few hours saying that they haven't even recieved my order, so it must be a glitch in the Orcon system. A helpful person in the team also reassures me that most Khandallah installs tend to be aerial, and that I shouldn't worry at this stage. Relief.
21 Apr - An email from Chorus letting me know they've "just recieved my fibre order", which also contains an order number. Double relief.
27 Apr - Another visit to the house, where (surprise surprise) another Chorus van seems to be potting around the road - second tehcnician also swears that this should be an aerial install and can't understand why the driveway is coming into play. Triple relief, and a sense that this is all legit...
28 Apr - An email update from Orcon again reconfirming that someone in Chorus let them know that the property *does*, in fact, need consents from everyone on the driveway. WTF?
28 Apr - After avoiding making contact with them given how busy they must be, I send an email to the consents team letting them know that I now have an order number, and that there is some confusion around whether a consent is needed. I fill them in on both the Chorus tech visual assessments. Again, I get a quick response letting me know they'll look into it and come back asap. Reassured, and trying to remain hopeful.
29 Apr - Email from Chorus consents letting me know that this is a single dwelling aerial install, and that they've reclassified it and moved it along. Woohoo! Right?
1 May - No woohoo. Give Chorus helpdesk a call and check where things are at. The note from the consents team has been registered into the system, but they need the RSP to give them a go-ahead to move forward. No problem, I'm a facilitator... I can facilitate this. I can do it.
1 May - Ring Orcon, ask them to move forward - they kindly offer to send an email to Chorus to move things along with an aerial installation. Orcon confirms they will do it right away, and that I should follow up with Chorus the next day. That's it, things are moving.
3 May - Ring Chorus helpdesk - have recieved nothing from Orcon, and a new person kindly points out that the system has put the order on a technical hold for some reason, and that it needs escalation to be resolved. As my spirits sink, she assures me that I'll have an update in 48 hours. It's a wonderful surprise then, that 20 min later, she calls to let me know that the hold has been lifted and that it has been moved to the outbound unit. I should hear back within 5 working days on installation dates etc. Cautiously optimistic.
Clearly, I'm probably not going to have UFB on the 10th of May, unless the Chorus outbound team makes magic happen (please feel free to try Chorus, you guys have been amazing so far). Also, some lessons that are emerging:
1. Comms to-fro RSP and Chorus don't seem that great. There's an almost sad acceptance that these installs never happen to assigned timelines and that there are no SLAs that are worth the extra resources/effort to speed up communications and effort between the two. Fair enough, that's just a cost-benefit resource call, but at least be more honest about it with customers.
2. Chorus internal comms are also weird. The system seems hard to parse - my calls to the helpdesk were sometimes awkward while the wonderfully nice support people needed more time than healthy to read through the notes and check that everything makes sense. It took a third support person to notice the hold on the system... the first two didn't catch it.
3. Chorus are really great at communicating quickly and seem very customer focussed. Not one person was annoyed that I was poking around. For all the Chorus hatred, this installation is moving forward on the goodwill of people at Chorus (e.g. consents team!) who don't really have to be customer-facing but seem to be encouraged to do so by the organisational culture. I appreciate that.
4. Too much relies on the determination of the customer to make things happen to timelines. Left to their own designs, I could easily see how it could have taken many months to reach even this stage of the timeline. It could well end up taking much more time, but clearly trying (in a polite, constructive and apologetic way) to move things along helped get me as far as I have. The unfortunate thing about this is that my approach isn't consistent with Kiwi cultural norms - it's usually best practice to press the "Order now" button and wait it out politely - someone is obviously going to get back to you, so why interfere? I appreciate that, but if the system isn't designed to cater to those norms, then you have to deviate.
Will update as I go along. Just my thoughts - sorry for wasting your bandwidth :)