‘We will all be dead be­fore I get hold of some­one’

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Hang On A Minute . . . Or 10! - By Sa­man­tha Wil­liams

saw­illiams@thek­m­group. co.uk Frus­trated res­i­dents say they are fed up at be­ing left wait­ing ... and wait­ing ... and wait­ing – when try­ing to put a call through to Ash­ford Bor­ough Coun­cil (ABC).

Call­ers are faced with au­to­mated mes­sages, nu­mer­ous op­tions and tinny ‘on hold’ mu­sic when plac­ing a call to the coun­cil’s cus­tomer ser­vice line at 01233 331111.

Over re­cent weeks, nu­mer­ous res­i­dents have con­tacted the Ken­tish Ex­press, ask­ing for ad­vice and help on get­ting through to the coun­cil.

No an­swer

Box­ley res­i­dent Ge­orge Galdes, who has called the KE sev­eral times to com­plain about the length of time it takes to get through, said: “It’s just a night­mare. What’s the point in hav­ing a num­ber if they’re not go­ing to an­swer?

“We will all be dead be­fore I get hold of some­one. I just want to speak to a per­son.”

The coun­cil’s phone sys­tem provider is Mi­tel, which has been ABC’s sup­plier since the call cen­tre be­gan op­er­at­ing in 2003.

In April this year, ABC in­tro­duced a new self-ser­vice tele­phone fa­cil­ity for cus­tomers. This ser­vice al­lows call­ers to find the an­swers to some queries with­out speak­ing to a mem­ber of staff.

Adam Hunter, 30, has had to call ABC sev­eral times dur­ing the past few months for is­sues with coun­cil tax and park­ing tick­ets.

He said: “The phone sys­tem is ap­palling. You just hold and hold and hold. You have no idea where you are in the queue and you hear a re­peated mes­sage ad­vis­ing you to visit their web­site.

“I don’t be­lieve their web­site is very user friendly. It seems like it was de­signed by tod­dlers.

“I un­der­stand peo­ple have com­plex in­quiries that take a long time, but that is why it is im­por­tant that you speak to some­one from the depart­ment con­cerned.

“There is some­thing fun­da­men­tally wrong when you can’t talk to some­one in the depart­ment you have a spe­cific query about.

“I don’t un­der­stand why the sys­tem is so in­con­sis­tent. Out of the eight or 10 calls I’ve made to the coun­cil, only one has been suc­cess­ful. It is very frus­trat­ing.

“I’ve left a mes­sage be­fore with my num­ber and they say they will call you back within 24 hours.

“Once they called me back within 60 sec­onds, other times it has been two or three days. They need to em­ploy more staff.

‘I don’t be­lieve their web­site is very user friendly. It seems like it was de­signed by tod­dlers’

“I don’t buy it when they say it is due to the in­creased calls about the new re­cy­cling ser­vice, be­cause this has been go­ing on for months, since at least Fe­bru­ary.”

Ash­ford res­i­dent Kelly Hill, who has also ex­pe­ri­enced prob­lems with the sys­tem, said: “I just think it’s ridicu­lous try- ing to get through to ABC, and when you do, it’s ‘leave your name and num­ber and some­one will get back to you’ and then you’re left wait­ing for days, even weeks!

“The num­ber you phone is all voice op­er­ated, it’s ‘press 1 for this, press 2 for that’ and you just get nowhere.

“It’s very dif­fi­cult to ac­tu­ally speak to some­one with­out phys­i­cally go­ing into the coun­cil it­self.

“I just think there should be an eas­ier way to con­tact them in­stead of all the trou­ble that you have to go through and end­ing up nowhere.”

De­spite the prob­lems try­ing to get through, Mr Hunter, from Kingsnorth, said: “In their de­fence, they are very help­ful when you do get through.”

What do you think? Write to Ken­tish Ex­press, 34-36 North Street, Ash­ford, TN24 8JR or email ken­tish­ex­press@ thek­m­group.co.uk

Dis­grun­tled res­i­dent Ge­orge Galdies

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.