Last week I spent over 2 hours on the phone to Optus trying to fix something they had stuffed up, the third try, after speaking to their techies and emailing the bloke who “signed” a form letter to, thanking me for taking on the service they stuffed up. Annoying? no, bloody irritating, being shuffled around their departments, nobody taking any responsibility for the stuff-up,  but reciting how important my call was to them.

With the emphasis on speed nowadays, how quick is the connection, how rapidly fulfillment happens, how quickly the email is answered, we are used to “quick” and when it does not happen, we get angry very quickly indeed.

Clearly Optus are cutting costs, employing people in their call centres who have no authority to fix a problem, or even suggest a solution, and anything not on the printed frequent question/appropriate response list gets shuffled elsewhere. They wasted a lot of time, across several departments, and I wasted a couple of hours, and need a new head gasket. No wonder these Telco’s have a lot of customer churn, how easy it would have been for the first person to whom I spoke to be allowed  just a little bit of initiative and it would all have gone away in 5 minutes. 

It may cost a little bit of money to enable staff to deal effectively with customers, but how much would be saved in time, customer churn reduction, and reducing the advertising and deals necessary to attract the annoyed customers of other Telco’s  to come to them to replace those leaving?

This is a challenge for every organisation, as the speed of things increases, the expectation is the effectiveness of the response will increase at the same rate, and it doesn’t, so we get pissed, and everybody wastes time, effort, resources, energy and perhaps most importantly, hard won brand loyalty.

What a waste.