It’s easy... but just all too hard
It used to be simple. You would move into or build a house and you would get the water, the power, the gas, the phone, whatever, all hooked up and it all worked.
If something didn’t, you could make a quick call and someone would slip around to have a look, make a diagnosis and then make it work.
While this methodology still operates with some essential household utilities, our household telecommunications have become a different monster.
In the advancing digital world, where we have so many wonderful opportunities at our fingertips, everything is supposed to be getting easier.
That is, unless you are trying to develop confidence in the National Broadband Network and telecommunication firms from the service.
It can be annoying, after buying a product and expecting it to provide all the benefits it claims, to then have the service fail to live up to expectations.
But that’s not the worst part. It is the next phase – trying to get problems fixed – that can be the most frustrating.
To use an example, a Horsham household was having trouble with its NBN signal consistently dropping out and causing all sorts of headaches, from children’s homework to online movies and landline telephones.
An obvious solution? Call the service provider and get it fixed.
Sounds simple, but no. After getting the many operating through on a helpline, there were immediate difficulties. There was uncertainty that the people on the other end of the call understood concerns then made the right decisions.
At the core of concerns was an obvious communication problem.
Expert explanations, in perfect English, came quick and fast but were laced with thick foreign accents.
‘Pardon?’ and ‘sorry could you say that again’ or ‘I didn’t quite get that’ dominated conversations and in the end left everyone confused. On ending the call, all that was understood in Horsham was that apparently work was happening ‘on the system’ and that calls would come through in the next 48 hours asking whether connections had improved.
The drop-outs continued, the calls came and the appropriate answers provided. Ultimately, a final call came where a person, again hard to understand, summarised quickly that a new costly whiz-bang modem was on its way and the best thing to do was to sign up for specialist services at a cost of $10 a month – a bit rough, considering the household was already paying for something that should be working anyway. Surely the service provider could provide a technician to come around and have a look. Nope.
The modem arrived, the same as the type that was already in operation, and the household did nothing, putting the issue in the ‘deal with later’ basket and hoping the service would somehow right itself.
The new modem remained in the box and the family decided against signing up for the special service. But sure enough, in the mail came the confirmation letter congratulating the household for signing up to the special service.
Groan! Time to get on the phone again.