Wednesday, August 28, 2013

In praise of Optus customer service

I have been of line because I have had no internet connection. First my phone went dead, and then my internet.

I like rewarding customer service and have the power to do so via this blog.

I know a lot about technology, but am hopeless on mechanical details. I rang Optus customer service and got Vanessa. She talked me through the problem and then said that she could get the technicians to check the line, but if the problem lay in my equipment there would be a $150 service charge. We talked about the issue and agreed the following:

  • I would buy or borrow a new handset to check the connection.
  • She would divert my home fixed line to my mobile and arrange for me to get a credit on the mobile to cover costs. That came through the next day.
  • I would buy a Telstra prepaid USB Wi-Fi, and Optus would credit the costs to my account. Why Telstra? Vanessa checked, and i live in an Optus wireless blackspot. Telstra customer service, by the way, were very good in helping me connect the device. Optus would reimburse me for the costs.
  • She would ring me back to review the situation when I had done these things.

Tonight I rang the Optus call number to report progress. Vanessa wasn't there, but as it turned out a friend answered the call. I reported that the new phone hadn't worked and that my internet had finally collapsed. I had also changed some of the connecting cables to check that. She checked technical support and found out that there was, in fact, now a broader outage problem in my immediate area that might be fixed tomorrow but might in fact take to Friday.

She took the receipt number for my purchase of the new Telstra USB Wi Fi and the price and said that she would arrange the credit to my bill. She said that she would let Vanessa know what had happened and pass on my thanks. They would SMS me when the broader problem was fixed, and I would ring back Friday if I still had problems.

I know that it is annoying when things go wrong. Certainly I was annoyed. But isn't it nice when you get someone who who can offer practical help?  Neither Vanessa  nor her friend had and idea that i could or would take their help to the world.


Anonymous said...

Wow with that level of service no wonder Singtel is languishing compared with its peers (eg TPG, iiNet, etc); since 2007 its ROE has plummeted from about 45% to 18%!


Jim Belshaw said...

I had wondered, DG, about the point you made. Thinking about it.

Optus has, I think, been losing market share. They need to stabilise that. I have a mixed home phone/broadband package for which I actually pay quite a high fixed price plus a charge for calls to certain mobiles. Then my mobile (prepaid) is with Optus. All this makes me quite a high yield customer. If I walked away, Optus would take a revenue hit of something over $80 per month.

Now look at the elements of what I got. As best I can work out, the credits on the mobile are revenue neutral from an Optus perspective. As a prepaid, I still have to maintain my normal monthly payment.

The reimbursement of the USB+Wi-fi costs is more problematic. The offer itself costs nothing. To take advantage of it required me to actually go and get the damn thing and then install it. So I waited for a few days before buying it. Then I might not have claimed it back if service had been restored. After all, it was a piece of kit that I might well want to use again. However, when the outage continue, I asked for reimbursement.

This was provided via a credit to my normal phone/broadband account. This does have a revenue effect in that it reduces my annual payments by roughly one twelfth. However, without it I would have asked for a discount on the bill anyway since they were not providing service and really protested if they hadn't provided it. I would also have been pestering them all the time.

As it happens, the fault was an exchange one and, after a week, full service is still out. By keeping me in touch with what is happening and also acting to meet my immediate needs in an apparently generous way, they have kept me if not happy, at least happy with their service.

Michael Shannon said...

I think that's sad since that company's one of my personal favorites. I even wrote a bit about Optus packages here on my latest blog entry. Hope they can do something about their customer support system.

Jim Belshaw said...

Michael, I got a malware warning on your site so didn't visit.

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