Have corporates become more Machiavellian, more inept, or a mixture of the two?
I ask because it’s been quite a week. It started on Tuesday with a common complaint: broadband malfunction. That little light on the modem, a beacon in a troubled world, failed and so bye bye online.
Communication with a call centre on the other side of the world prompted a technician to test our line and confirm what we already knew. It was dead. So an engineer was scheduled for the following day. So far so good.
Wednesday the light came back on. Should we ring and cancel, since who knew if the problem would reappear? Better safe than sorry, and risk being charged for unnecessary call out. But on ringing the provider, the first recorded message indicated that a problem in our area had been fixed.
Fixed? We’d checked yesterday with technician who said it wasn’t an area problem. And when I got hold of a human being on the Wednesday I was informed that it was, that our engineer had already been cancelled, that we wouldn’t have to wait in between midday and 4pm and that, no, they weren’t going to tell us. Nice.
Thursday got an insurance quote confirmation in the post. Nothing startling about this, you might say. But the first one we received was 20% higher than the one originally discussed on the phone. Still, the second looked more in line with that conversation. Until on Friday got another quote in the post, the third, even higher than the first.
On to Saturday. The end of a week that’s seen energy companies announce huge profits and price hikes. I listen to voice mail: my gas provider reminds me that it’s time to take a meter reading and send it back to them or they will estimate consumption. One problem: a decade or so ago they installed a meter box outside our property to which only they have the key.
Penny pinching or what? Surely they can still afford to send the meter man out?
And finally the bank posts a letter informing us that there will be no more monthly paper statements, only quarterly ones, to ‘protect the environment’. Now, I don’t object to this. Indeed, I laud it. And with online banking paper statements are a bit of an anachronism. But do I believe it? No! They’re saving money, and if they came right out and said I would have far less of an issue.
As corporates merge to fight their corner more efficiently in the global marketplace my perception is that, in fact, customer-facing efficiency and service flies out through the window. I’m sure I ‘m not alone. And the highlight of my week was a little item in the press about a DIY operation to provide broadband to the far flung outposts of Skye.