It’s easy... but just all too hard

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News -

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.

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