Saturday, 31 January 2009

Can Telstra utterly screw up? Yes we can!

We have two sets of lines coming into our house - a personal line, with Optus, and a business line, with Telstra. The business line supports a fax and phone, which J uses to run her company.

Last week, J got a call from a customer saying our fax was not working. On investigation, she found it had been disconnected. We'd paid our bill, so there was no explanation for what happened.

J spent two hours on the phone with Telstra. Two very annoying and frustrating hours. For some unknown reason, someone at Telstra had decided to cut that line off. At first Telstra thought she might have decided to move to another carrier - they asked her to call a certain number and listen to the recorded message - that would tell her which carrier the line was with. She rang it, and the message said, "thank you for selecting Telstra".

Apart from taking two hours to sort out, it also took several phone calls to a number of different divisions to sort it out - and none of those divisions were able to talk to each other and pass on information about her problem. When I got home, I found she had wasted half a day trying to get it fixed.

We experienced something like this at work last month. The company I am currently working for spends a lot on Telstra services, and has thousands of phone lines with them at different sites. Those lines are used to book incoming sales orders. One of our offices suddenly found that instead of getting dozens of calls per day, it was getting none. Then, the manager of a competing company down the road rang them to say that they were getting a lot of calls from people wanting to talk to our company! It turned out that, out of the blue, someone at Telstra had made a change in some software that diverted all the calls from our company office to our competitor. Talk about an utter balls up.

So I was not surprised when they cut off J's business line. We don't know how long it was down for - potentially days, which could have cost thousands of dollars in lost orders.

Here's the kicker. I just got a call from Telstra. They were not calling to apologise for their catastrophic and uncalled for cock up. No.

They were trying to get me to convert our Optus line to Telstra!

The Irish backpacker on the other end was most insistent that I listen to her spiel. I had to yell at her to get her to shutup, and I then told her about Telstra's recent attempt to liquidiate J's business. She took that in her stride, and then carried on with trying to get me to dump Optus.

I had to yell at her to go fuck herself and then hang up in order to get rid of her. Even after yelling at her to go fuck herself, I could still hear her babbling down the line as I went to hangup. I reasoned that if I didn't make it abundantly clear to her that I didn't want to switch to Telstra, they'd just call back.

I hope I made my point.

1 comment:

1735099 said...

Telstra divisions operate in silos - there's no sideways communication. I used to think government agencies had cornered the market on this until I had similar problems with Telstra.
If you really want an organisation to stuff up big time, put a Yank corporate cowboy in charge. They spend five dollars on marketing for every dollar on customer service.