Communication - how hard can it be?
Tuesday, May 19, 2015
With the internet, SMS, tweets, texting, MMS, mobile phones... it's getting so easy to communicate with anyone, anywhere, at anytime.
Unless they happen to be a communication company... like Optus.
A month or so ago I noticed Optus advertising a new plan which bundles your internet and home phone for only $90 a month. As I was already paying Optus $115 a month for the same deal (well, a lesser deal actually. The cheaper new deal also included bonus items like Fetch TV and Netflix) I was surprised they hadn't contacted me offering to change plans (as they usually do) or even just automatically switching me over instead of letting me pay $25 a month more than everyone else.
I tried to change my plan online, as their website says to do, but the website then said it couldn't allow me to do that online.
So I popped into the Optus shop. #Optus
After waiting for quite a while I finally collared a staff member who told me I need to phone Customer Service and offered me a chair I could use while I call them from the comfort of my own phone. I explained I have tried calling but the wait times average an hour and include frequent disconnections. She gave me a special phone number and assured me I would get through in 2 minutes.
So I went home and called the special phone number... it put me through to the Optus main switchboard and, sure enough, it only took two minutes to select each of the various options to guide me through to the right department. After two minutes the automated service switched me through to customer service and I was placed on hold where, after about an hour of waiting.. I was promptly disconnected.
A friend assured me that I should try the Optus Live Chat. He said he always get through to technical support. I spent about twenty minutes on the Optus site trying to find live chat, then eventually he sent me a direct link. Optus live chat was down.
I posted on the Optus Facebook page (as their main webpage recommended me to). However, my comment was never replied to.. nor were the five or six subsequent messages answered either.
I got on my Twitter account and posted a public complaint about Optus and, lo and behold, an Optus rep responded within about 5 minutes! He sent me a link to a form I needed to fill in on the Optus website.. where a staff member would then call me back within ten days.
All I wanted to do was change my plan!
In about a week I was finally called and the lady was very helpful. She changed my plan and emailed me a confirmation and reference number (at my insistence).
So three days ago, the internet here was suddenly ridiculously slow. Speed checks came in at 12-21kbs.. KBS not MBS.
It took 18 hours to upload an 8 min video to YouTube. I tried to upload one to Vimeo but the frequent "connection lost" crashed the browser and restarted the process from scratch every time.
Again, I attempted to communicate with Optus.
Phoning them was a fruitless exercise - 2 hours plus on hold and hung up on again.
Posting on their Facebook page is pointless as my posts (about 30 this time) were lost amidst a sea of literally thousands of complaints.
Their website offered a box into which you could type your question - but it never gave a reply - and the suggestion to register for 'Optus Community' (a long registration process) and ask other consumers what they think the issue might be.
I couldn't find Live Chat anywhere.
Again, Twitter was the answer. I tweeted about the 12kbs speed I was experiencing and got the reply "Sorry for the wait Tim. Did you speak with tech support though? Tris".
I explained that I was disconnected and another guy tweeted to help "What speeds do you typically see on the service? Can you confirm how it's connected? Dave"
This made me very cross. A multinational company trying to do tech support through a series of tweets. The ultimate example of cutting costs at the customers's expense. That was all I heard from Dave.
Last night I went online and submitted an online complaint to the Telecommunication Ombudsman #TIO.
Well, I spent 20 mins filing out the form and when I finally pressed SUBMIT.. nothing happened.
This morning I tried calling them (otherwise it's deliver your complaint in person or "send a fax" lol) and I was met with the recording "Due to the overwhelming number of complaints we are experiencing at the moment, you will experience long wait times." They then advised me to submit my complaint on their website...
So, out of curiosity, if you have NO INTERNET AT ALL and your PHONE is out of service... the only way to complain is to visit the TIO office in the city personally...
Communication - how hard can it be?
I mean seriously... why is the communication industry in Australia so incredibly BAD at communicating with its customers???
This morning I received an email from Optus confirming that my new plan starts today. Remember, I switched from $115 to $90 a month? I had them email me to confirm it
"Confirming your rate plan change for your home phone and broadband service. Unlimited home phone and broadband bundle. $115 at $90 per month for 24 months."
This mornings email said:
"The Monthly plan for Username, timellismagic, will change from: Optus 'yes' Fusion $110.00 Unlimited to $115 Entertainment Bundle"