What Customer Service?

Dear Telstra,

I would just like to say that I loathe you with a passion that knows no bounds. Your insidious and cunning nature see you continually draw in your prey with graciousness and courtesy before you attempt to bamboozle them with all possible reasonableness over the phone. You wax poetic about all the things that you could have a different staff member do for them whilst taking absolutely no accountability for whether it will be done or not. Which I am assuming is largely because your staff don’t actually believe that anyone else in that cesspit of ineptitude will bother to pick up the baton once it has been passed. Or put down as it were. I have come to the conclusion that your staff members do not actually pass the baton from one to the other, they throw them out into space and then run away quickly before they hit the ground hoping that nobody saw them do it.

Your laughable customer service (which is apparently something that you’d like to take pride in although Lord knows why) seems to extend only so far as to employ people who can put up with crabby customers. Can you stay calm in the face of severe irritation, uncontrollable yelling and possible abuse? Great, you’re hired. You don’t have a clue what you’re supposed to be servicing? Don’t worry, we don’t actually do anything here anyway. In fact, it is one of your KPI’s to offer as much assistance as possible without providing any of it. If you in any way, shape or form actually address a customer’s actual problem and provide a solution, you will be made to sit in the naughty corner till you’ve learned from your mistake. Or we might fire you. After all, what would a call centre be without calls? And how will we be able to become even more successful and drive up the rate of calls if you keep solving people’s problems so they don’t need to call us anymore?? That would be very poor form indeed…

So in case you hadn’t noticed, Telstra, I am currently most dissatisfied and disgusted with you at present. This is largely because over the past month, you and your accursed call centre have been making my life a misery. I have rung your organisation numerous times with the same issue only to be given conflicting information on each occasion and the repeated “guarantee” that someone will call me back within 24 hours. Can I just say that I find it absolutely repugnant that you allow your staff to use the word “guarantee” because in actual fact, that is a hefty and steaming pile of crap! Your staff can’t even guarantee that I can maintain a call to the organisation without being cut off. How on Earth are they supposed to guarantee that I’ll get a call back?

And just in case you think I am whinging over nothing and that I must have misunderstood your glorious angels in the stinky sales skunk hole let me recap:

First call – I am relocating office and I want to know if we can take our phone numbers with us.
Answer – No, I’m terribly sorry, you can’t.
Fine. I am happy with this answer. This call was not my problem.

Second call – I have been advised that I can’t take my numbers so I am calling to set up new service.
Answer – I think you might actually be able to take your numbers so I’ll ask for a feasibility study. Don’t make any arrangements now, someone will call you back within 24 hours.
I am happy with this. I don’t receive a call back.

Third call – I am waiting on a call back. Where is this at? If they don’t know I need to make other arrangements.
Answer – We can’t find any record of the request. We’ll make it again and you will receive a call back.
Not impressed with this. I don’t receive a call back.

Fourth call – I am waiting on a call back. Where is this at? If they don’t know I need to make other arrangements.
Answer – The request has been made but the other party hasn’t responded yet. Be assured you will get a call back.
Still not impressed with this. I don’t receive a call back either. See where we are going with this?

Fifth call – I’m not going to wait for a call back. I want to set up a new service.
Answer – I can see on your file that a decision was returned and you officially can’t take your numbers. I can’t set anything up for you, please call another number for a new connection.
Really not impressed that no one ever got back to me and it was same damned answer as the first time I called.

Sixth call (to new connections number) – Can I please set up a new line and ISDN numbers.
Answer – I’m afraid I can’t help you and you’ll need to talk to an ISDN specialist. I will arrange a call back within 24 hours. On the odd chance you don’t get a call, ring this number and they will escalate the query and someone will get back to you within about 10 minutes.
Of course you can’t arrange for a new connection when you ring the new connections number! So I’m put out that I’m being passed off again. I didn’t receive a call back.

Seventh call – I didn’t receive a call back so I’d like to escalate the query and have someone ring me this morning.
Answer – I’ll put that request straight through to my team leader.
I was pretty pissed when I hadn’t heard anything by 3:30pm.

Eighth call – What the hell!?!I have called you demented people so many damned times and you can’t make up your flipping minds or return a stupid phone call. I am giving you business you cretinous weasels. Can’t you get off your smarmy backsides for even a short moment and address one of your customers or is it a new business philosophy that you want to get into the Guinness book of world records for pissing off as many people as humanly possible?

Ok, so I didn’t say that. But I think that by this time there were sufficient comments on my file because when I said I was following up the fact that I hadn’t received yet another call back, the person on the line wasn’t game to palm me off again and he put through a work request. For a relocation! Apparently, all I had done to date was make enquiries and request feasibility studies but I hadn’t actually made a formal request so (despite the fact that I asked for a new PSTN line and ISDN numbers) a relocation request was then submitted. If whoever received this request deemed that I couldn’t take my numbers with me, they’d call me and change the request to a new PSTN line and ISDN numbers.

Ninth call – I just received a nice email saying that a relocation has been booked for five days hence. Can you please confirm that you are not going to cut off my phone before I even move office?
Answer – We are going to cut your phone off on the 17th, relocate it and turn it on from the 18th. Was there a problem with that?
Response – Yes [you stupid moron]. I am moving office on the 27th so I need to have my phones connected at the current location [you incompetent toad] until such time as I am no longer at that location. At that point in time, I will need them connected at the new location instead [you blithering idiot]. I asked for a new phone line to be put in on the 23rd because I was expecting to need a new phone line and new numbers [capisce?] but you are now telling me that your organisation has changed its mind again [like a slack harlot] and decided to move the numbers after all and on an earlier date! My moving date has never changed [you git] but clearly my requirements have not been understood by your organisation [is it that bloody hard?]. Can I please therefore reschedule the work date?

I suppose Telstra that you will cry foul and say that the issue should in fact now be resolved so why am I complaining? The work date has apparently now been rescheduled and I have been told that the service is currently due to be cut off and reconnected on the same day, the 27th. As everything is now all happening on “D” day however, I still maintain that this may or may not be a total and complete clusterf**k (pardon my French) of a disaster. You haven’t got a very good track record to date of living up to expectations so surprisingly enough, I am really not holding my breath.

Yours in abhorence,

A Telstra user

* Picture is of Telstra boss David Thodey (no idea whether this is current or not and don’t care) and the caption with the picture when I found it was “David Thodey has pledged to improve customer service”. To that I say “Bah!”. It looks to me like he’s pointing to all his clients and saying “ha ha, suckers!”.