The irony of trying to connect to telecomms companies when (not) getting connected

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Original copyright ©2009 Axel Buhrmann
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Having recently moved house, and needing the home office to be connected, we were keen to arrange ahead of time the visit from the PlusNet engineer. As is often the case, this was not smooth sailing. All the assurances were there that the engineer was set to come in a 5 hour period between 1pm and 6pm, but after waiting, it got within 15 minutes of 6pm when I phoned the customer service line. I was told to keep waiting as he might still show up.

Given that I was speaking to a telecommunications company I pushed a little – did they not have the engineer’s number? I could understand that they couldn’t give me that directly, but I was incredulous to be told that the customer service team did not have access to this information OR to anyone who did have this info. In such a connected modern world, it seems very odd to me that the person doing the work on the ground who has their own work mobile with them, is disconnected from the teams that the customer has to contact.

In any situation where things are not going to plan, the key to the customer not feeling ignored is INFORMATION. Linking up information and information pathways that support this would surely be a way for one telecoms company to have an edge over the others? Being told exactly where the engineer was at or why they were delayed would have reduced my extreme frustration when there was a no show.

Added to that, following this up to reschedule the visit was also difficult – the frontline customer services staff had clearly not been empowered with either the information required by the customer or the authority to access this. Calling in, I was told that they could not call me back and that outbound calls had to made by a different team – clue, another opportunity to miss information and a frustrated customer who has to go through all the information again when the return call was finally made.

Of course, it did all get sorted in the end, but it took longer than it needed to because the PlusNet staff did not have access to the correct information to sort the problems out. A little internal restructuring and empowerment seems like an easy win to me! I’d be interested to know how others find dealing with this industry?

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