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Tech Talk Radio Show 33 of 2011
Transmission date: August 15, 2011
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Ep 33 of 2011
August 15

Last Friday, Australia’s telecommunications industry ombudsman released the organistations findings into how consumers are treated by Australian phone companies.

The TIO research paper titled Resilient Consumers, reported on a survey of more than 500 consumers who lodged complaints with the TIO between July and August 2010. The survey found:

  • more than 55 per cent of consumers surveyed reported contact with their service providers five or more times before contatcting the TIO
  • 60 per cent reported spending three or more hours unsuccessfully trying to solve their complaint before approaching the TIO, with one in five saying they spent more than nine hours resolving their complaint
  • 50 per cent reported contact with more than three different departments and
  • the most common reasons for complaining to the TIO were because there was no solution offered by the service provider or a promise to resolve the complaint was not kept.

Simon Cohen, head of the TIO said consumers who come to the TIO report spending substantial time and effort trying to solve their complaints. They report being transferred from department to department, not being transferred to supervisors and, perhaps most frustratingly, getting no solution or a broken promise for their efforts.

The report found that once these complaints were lodged with the TIO about 90 per cent were easily resolved when referred to the right contact within the service providers.

Mr Cohen said most of these cases should not have come to us in the first place. The fact that they are most often resolved by referral by the TIO to the right department is strong evidence that consumers can be treated better. AS a result the Ombudsman has recommended introducing clearer pathways for consumers to make complaints, and making sure all employees can recognise when a complaint is being made and who is best able in their company to deal with it.

Old Phone

So what is the underlying reason for such complacency within the Australian telecommunications industry? Are telco’s trying to cut costs by running off shore call centres, and in turn alienating customers, and more importantly, is the cost saving in running an off shore point of access for consumers worth it, when it comes to the company’s reputation? Personally, I like someone local who understands the local topography. It’s part of the decision making process when choosing a service provider. Does it matter to you?

This week on Tech Talk Radio

China find another 22 fake apple stores, Games find their way to Google +, Optus has a loss, Microsoft patch 22 issues, Adam gets all romantic about the census, and the mobile phone in Australia turns 30 years old.

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