Australian (dis)Organisations refuse to talk to their customers

 Grumpy Old Man Gripes, Poor Customer Servce  Comments Off on Australian (dis)Organisations refuse to talk to their customers
Jul 212014

What the hell is up with major Australian organisations in that they are refusing to talk with their customers.

I’m looking at you, AGL.

And I’m looking at you, Telstra.

Both of you are out to pasture. Gone with the wind.

A bunch of useless bodies, with minds that seem unable to grasp the simple concept of COMMUNICATING WITH YOUR CUSTOMERS.

Let’s take AGL, who first of all deliver cold water, but charge their customers for hot. On the rare occasion that their meters actually work. I’m about to have the fourth one installed in about ten years. Why is thier hardware so bloody unreliable?

But that’s not the issue. Because their hardware is unreliable, they decide that they’ll just take a wild guess at what your usage might be.

And by wild guess, I mean wild.

About double what it should be.

So, I try to do the right thing, and call them. They’re staff have no interest in talking about the issue. I’ve now called them SEVEN FUCKING TIMES about their problem. I’ve left messages.

I’ve left my number.


But do they call back?

Nope. What a bunch of useless pratts.

But at least their call centre is located within Australia.

There’s a few things that I refuse to do, and I’d recommend that y’all consider this too. First of all, I refuse to talk to off-shore call centres. They take our jobs. YOUR jobs.

But what’s worse is that the staff there do not speak Strine. Tring to communicate with people in offshore call centres is like talking to your cat. And expecting a sensible response.

And when the offshore call centre calls you, unannounced, and then asks you for personal identification information ???

I’m sorry, but no. Go to hell.

I have no way of verifying who the hell you are, and there’s less than a snowflake’s chance in hell that I’m going to give you any personal identifying information.

I really don’t know that you’re who you say you are, and I value my privacy way more than your offshore call centre is worth.

Which brings me to Telstra.

Who tell me that according to their records, I am not receiving spam SMS messages from them.

Except that their records are wrong.

And over the last two weeks, they have totally and abysmally failed to contact me with even an apology, let alone an explanation for their abhorrent, illegal behaviour.

Their so-called social media team keeps on telling me that a case manager will be contacting me. How nice. They’ve said that more times than there are days in the week.

But I’m still waiting.

For the next SMS spam, probably.

For an organisation that’s supposed to be in the business of communications, they’re providing a fine example of how not to communicate.


Microsoft Surface sinks. As does their so-called Surface support service

 Grumpy Old Man Gripes, Poor Customer Servce  Comments Off on Microsoft Surface sinks. As does their so-called Surface support service
Nov 052013

I recently purchased a brand new Microsoft Surface RT. This was the original Surface, 64GB. The price was very good; the deal seemed to be too good to resist – 64GB Surface, with keyboard, for less than the asking price for a 32GB Surface, without a keyboard.

I went in to the deal with my eyes open: I knew that the OS is a somewhat brain-dead OS, but that’s also true of the iPad. When you look at both devices, they’re both essentially designed to consume data rather than create it.

But the Surface seemed to have a couple of possible advantages: the OS is derived from Windows, and with an included keyboard, I felt that there might be some potential.

Looking at the overall package, I also felt that there might be an opportunity for writing some software for the (radio) station. Within the station we have very little in the way of available funds, but knowing both software development and the station’s needs, there seemed to me the possibility of doing something for the station, plus learning more about the Windows RT ecosystem.

But as I write this, I’m about 19 days into my ownership of the device, which has now spent more time in an unserviceable state than it has in an operational state.

While I accept that it’s fair that occasionally a device might fail early in its life, the way that the matter has been handle by its maker has been nothing short of the most astounding serious of misinformation, failures and bungles that I have seen in a long time.

When the device initially failed, I was somewhat disheartened. Nobody likes to see anything that they’ve just bought fail within a few days of purchase. My initial thoughts were that I should just take it back to the store where I bought it from, and have it replaced.

But I tweeted about this, and received what seemed to be a very positive response from Microsoft’s Social media support team for the product.

Surface Tweet 1

And lodging the requested service request also seemed to be a positive choice, suggesting that there would be a very prompt turnaround …

This is an example of what Microsoft's lodgement form tells us

This is an example of what Microsoft’s lodgement form tells us

You then go on and order a courier pick-up – again indicating that the whole process will be completed promptly –  and so I went down this path.

Talk about a stupid mistake on my part. But how was I to know? Microsoft offered less than zero transparency about the process, and no visibility whatsoever about the timeline involved.

For instance, when confirming the courier details, Microsoft tell you that the courier’s hours for collection lie between 9am and 5pm.

But nobody had bothered to confirm that with the couriers, it seems: the courier called to collect the device at 8:30 am on the appointed day. And then the driver berated me because I wasn’t there when he wanted me there.

But that’s where the fun – as in dysfunction – really began.

To where was the courier taking the device? Microsoft at North Ryde?


Perhaps a Microsoft service centre; I believe that there’s one in Harris Park in Sydbey’s west?

Again, nope.

Try UPS, in Botany. Yes, that’s right, they were couriering the device … to another courier!

What the hell is this all about? Once it arrived at UPS, it sat, somewhere (the Black Hole Of Botany) for two days, before it finally showed up in a Microsoft service centre.

Somewhere. I’ve not been told where, but I’m led to believe that it is in Sydney.

So, two days, to get from Sydney … to Sydney.

Then, Microsoft’s email tells me that they’ve (a) received the device, and (b) they will dispatch the replacement device in two days’ time. So much for “When your device is received …”.

So, that’s a total of four days minimum when they’ve done fuck all in this matter.

And the current word is that I might receive it back … tomorrow.

All this, when the correct action, and the correct advice from Microsoft, should have been to just take it back to the dealer from whom I bought it, and exchanged it as a DOA unit.

I am totally beyond livid at the way that Microsoft has handled this matter. It’s been a fuck up after fuck up after fuck up, starting with misinformation, passing through the Black Hole of Botany, and just no hope whatsoever in terms of what the hell customer service should be all about.

And even a fairly senior customer liaison person within Microsoft, who has been trying very hard to make things happen, has simply been unable to impress upon those people within the organisation just how badly they’ve screwed up in this matter.

So, we now have yet another reason for why the Syurface RT has failed as a device: it’s not only an unreliable device, but Microosoft’s people simply do not have the technical and administrative competence to help customers when the device fails.






Is Postal Delivery Really That Difficult?

 Grumpy Old Man Gripes, Poor Customer Servce  Comments Off on Is Postal Delivery Really That Difficult?
Sep 042013

If your name is Australia Post, sadly, the answer to that question seems to be a very solid “yes”.

Please start by reading Get Your Head Out Of Your Arse, Australia Post and then Australia Post Fails Geography 101.

As stated in the second of these articles, yesterday we had them try to deliver the package, but because we were out, they needed to card the package and have it wait for us at a local Post Office.

Well, not quite so local: the local post office is just 300 meters down the road from where I live. Yep, a short walk, cross one road, and it’s right there, right on the corner of my street.

But no, that was not good enough for their delivery driver, who decided that a much better option for us would be to card it a different post office, over a kilometer away. Quite a long walk, including needing to negotiate some quite steep hills on the way back. Parking there is, of course, a challenge; this inappropriate (incorrect, as it turns out) post office is in a beachside area, and parking, by any Sydney beach, can be, at best, difficult.

But no, none of this figures at all into the pea-brain that this driver must have been given at birth; clearly he’s not a mental giant. Nor anything else, when it comes to brain power.

So this morning we wandered down to the Post Office, and, I’m pleased to say, finally collected the package – second time round – with no further dramas.

But I would be remiss to note exactly how helpful (ie, not at all) the Australia Post social media team have been through this total Australia Post fuck-up.

They were … slow to respond. Looking for excuses to run away from the problem. generally unhelpful, and with less than no concept of what the concept of “helping the customer” might be all about.

But the best part, the piece de resistance, as it were, of the whole debacle, came when I told them just how bad the choice of post office was. They were told about this about 4:30pm on Tuesday.

At about 9am this morning they responded, pretending to tell me that they understood my frustration. Piffle.

What a load of condescending bullshit. Empathy can’t be faked, and especially not by the talentless non-caring bullshit artists that are employed by (but don’t actually work for) Australia Post.

As noted above, we collected the package earlier this morning. To be honest, I really trust it in their hands any longer than absolutely necessary.

A little while ago, they sent me this tweet.


So, yes, they are finally admitting that they made an error. In fact, they’ve made a whole shitload, but they’ve finally admitted to one: let’s not get too greedy here.

But, what a stupendous offer: they will send it to the correct office, FREE OF FUCKING CHARGE.

Their generosity is absofuckinglutely amazing: Their error, but the underlying suggestion is that I may have had to pay for them to fix it up!

What a bloody nerve!

They have more hide than Jesse The Cow. Wanting to charge me (or at least offering to NOT charge me) to fix up their mistake?

As I’ve been saying, they have not got clue one about customer service.

Australia Post Fails Geography 101

 Grumpy Old Man Gripes, Latest, Poor Customer Servce  Comments Off on Australia Post Fails Geography 101
Sep 032013

Talk about a bunch of total losers. Australia Post has got be amongst the most incompetent (dis)organisations in the country.

Clearly, they were not satisfied with their previous mammoth set of fuck-ups, just one short week ago.

Today they attempted delivery of the replacement products – the originals of which are still unaccounted for, and about which Australia Post flatly refuses to do anything about.

So, fair enough; nobody was home when they called, and they left a card telling us that the goods are waiting for us at a post office. But not the post office that’s just down the road, on the corner of our street, just 300 meters away. That would be way too simple!

Oh, no; putting it there would be satisfying their customers’ needs, or making it easy for their customers.

Instead, this bunch of meatheads has sent it to a post office in a neighbouring suburb, over a kilometer away.

What sort of idiots are employed in Australia Post? Clearly, these are idiots of an extra special kind, as it really takes special talents to not provide any semblance of service at this level.

Where is Australia Post’s management team? AWOL, I suspect: there is less than no evidence that they are running the joint.

Sep 022013

In a brilliant example of how not to win friends and influence people, Australia Post have lost a package being shipped to me. Amazingly, their tracking advice states that it was delivered within a couple of days of being shipped.

The initial problem is that nobody knows where, or to whom, the package was delivered.

But that is not the subject of this post: shit happens, and I can accept that.

The real issue – the customer service aspect – comes into play when Australia Post are told of the problem, and how they react to their error. And that, my friends, is the makings of a customer service horror story.

Let’s go back a step, so that you appreciate the full ugliness of how badly fucked up Australia Post’s attitude towards customer service – and their customers – really is.

About two weeks ago I ordered some fridge magnets from Vistaprint. The price was right, the product offering seemed good, I’ve used them in the past and their service seemed to be fine. I uploaded some artwork, selected the level of postal delivery – which I was paying for – and nominated the delivery address.

Please understand that everything related to the shipping and delivery, except for the actual placement of the product into the shipping package and that package’s delivery to Australia Post, was at my direction.  I selected the delivery service level. I nominated the delivery address. I nominated exactly what was to go inside the package.

And I paid for the shipping.

Vistaprint were, for all intents and purposes, merely acting as my agent in this part of the transaction. They were acting entirely under my direction.

So, when Australia Post then told me that the product had been delivered, but they couldn’t (or wouldn’t – I still don’t know which is is) tell me to whom, or to where, I naturally gave them a call.

But imagine my response, imagine my horror, when they told me that I was not their customer!

Excuse me guys, but please take a look at the facts: I was in charge of just about every aspect of this delivery, and most importantly, I was bloody well paying you for your lack of service! At which point does this even remotely suggest to you that I am not your customer?

Get your head out of your arse, you idiots! I am exactly your customer. Nothing more, and most certainly, nothing less.



This is, and continues to be, a massive condom on your penis of customer service. Whilstever you pretend that those people who pay you for your failures to deliver are not your customers, you are doomed to continued reductions in your customer base, and suffer the reductions in income, and eventual extinction that you so richly deserve.

First of all, and as I said above, don’t dismiss people as not being your customer. It’s very simple: you are wrong.

Second, stop trying to hide behind non-excuses, and passing the buck to others in your feeble attempts to not do your jobs: be open, be transparent, and admit that you’ve fucked up. Call back people when you’ve promised to do so. I’m still waiting for a call scheduled for Thursday last: clearly, you really don’t give a fuck, do you?

There are much better ways to handle this sort of thing: it’s way better to be open, and address the problems, rather than engage your customers in a buckpassing shitfight.

Let’s consider for a moment the other side of the coin: when I realised just what a bunch of dickheads I was trying to deal with when dealing with Australia Post, I then referred the matter back to Vista Print. Within a few hours of my email, they had apologised (for YOUR error, Australia Post) and engaged with me openly, asking me if I wanted them to reprocess the order (at no further cost to me) and also offerring to refund to me the cost of the postage that had been paid.

Oh yes, when I emailed Australia Post the problem, it took you a full TWO FUCKING DAYS to issue a response; a response that again merely passed the buck, and within which you had totally failed to take the customer service challenge seriously.

The lesson here folks is that unless and until Australia Post take their head out of their arse, whenever you have a delivery choice between Australia Post and … anyone else …. take anyone else.