TIO Customer Service Survey Highlights Telco Run Arounds

Hands up if you work in a call centre? Two hands up if it's for a telco. I feel your pain. I've had sojourns at both One.Tel and Vodafone in the past (yeah, I should stick to writing). It's tough navigating issues from the inside, let alone as a customer -- which is why I'm not shocked by new data released by the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) today. For instance, 39 per cent of the 516 customers surveyed tried more than 6 times to resolve issues, and around 20 per cent spent over 9 hours doing so.

It's that bouncing around with wait times that aggravates me so much. But asking for a supervisor doesn't always help. The TIO says 142 customers in its survey group said their request to speak to a supervisor had been declined.

Still, you should always ask for staff higher up the food chain. The TIO says that "90% of cases appeared to be resolved after the TIO referred the consumer’s complaint to senior or experienced complaint handlers at telephone and internet companies, as these consumers did not re-contact the TIO."

The whole point of the study was to learn why customers end up in a dispute, but the clear side effect is the research justifying the need for external escalation. The Australia Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) is currently exploring guidelines for things like minimum wait times and connection windows, and they couldn't come sooner. [TIO (PDF) via Lifehacker]