Monday, 26 August 2013

On hold - is my call really important?

One of the advantages of being housebound and under doctor's orders to rest, is that it frees up time to do some admin.  This morning's task features being on hold.  I've had a lot of time to consider what makes waiting in a telephone queue bearable and what is likely to cause me to throw the phone at the wall.

I have two case studies.  This morning I called the Tenants Union of Victoria for some advice.  They are a small, not for profit community organisation.  I expect to wait when I call them.  While I was waiting I received regular updates about my place in the queue and useful referrals to their website and reminders about what I'd need to have handy when my call was answered.  It turns out that I was on hold for about 25 minutes before my call was answered.  I didn't resent any of the time because the organisation kept me informed during the wait.  My call was cheerfully and helpfully addressed when it was answered.  Regular updates about my place in the queue enabled me to continue doing other things while I was waiting.

Contrast this experience with attempts to contact Crazy Domains.  This organisation has driven me to the point of rage.

I have a simple relationship with Crazy Domains - I have a couple of domain names parked with them.  They came up for renewal on 5 August this year and so began the psychodrama.

Firstly, when I attempted to pay online, via the link in the reminder email, I couldn't remember my password.  I clicked on the link to get a password reminder.  I'm still waiting!  Somehow, I managed to pay on my mobile phone without the need to log in to my Crazy Domains account.  I was happy about that because I didn't want my domains to be picked up by someone else.  When I made the payment through Paypal I received the email confirmation regarding the payment, but no tax invoice from Crazy Domains.  When I continued to receive emails advising that my domains had expired I started to wonder what had happened to my money.

Their website proclaims 5 star, award winning customer service and 24/7 support.  My experience doesn't even get one star and I am beginning to think that the slick front is not representative of the one-person-in-a-room-with-a-phone that is the reality.  On three occasions I called and was on hold for 25 minutes before the call just disconnected.  I was offered the option of requesting a call back which I did on a further three occasions.  The service promise was that I would not lose my place in the queue and that I would receive a call back when I reached the front of the queue.  It must be a VERY long queue, because I'm still waiting!

Meanwhile I was bombarded with messages about how fantastic the organisation is.  Questions like "Are you sick of your current provider?" made me laugh my head off.

I tried different things.  I selected the "sales" option when calling, thinking that they might be faster to deal with prospective clients.  No luck.

I then went to the email link to lodge a complaint.  I sent my first email on 6 August 2013.  I received an instant response with a ticket number and a promise that "One of our highly trained and friendly support consultants will review and reply within 24 hours." I received a response ELEVEN days later that failed to address any of my issues.  I responded and am still waiting for a response.

Over the weekend when I was confined to the house, I decided to try calling again.  This time the number was engaged.  All weekend.  Maybe that one person sitting with a telephone had decided to take the weekend off.

Today, I've made three phone calls.  They have been cut off/dropped out at various points.  I'm currently on hold and the phone call has been in progress for almost an hour with no resolution.  I've heard every excuse under the sun including that they just moved offices.  I asked when.  They said they were in "transition".  I asked when the transition started and when it would be over.  She responded by saying that there was a large volume of calls and if I wanted to make a complaint I could send an email.  Which I've already done.  To no avail.  I've now resorted to public statements on twitter and facebook in the hope that bad publicity might result in some action.  Reading the twitter feed is fascinating - it's populated by fed up customers complaining about the lack of service and difficulties making contact.

Now they claim that they're not Australian and don't have to provide tax invoices compliant with Australian law, yet the website provides an ACN (Australian Company Number) and is trading in Australia with an Australian address listed.  

They've *promised* to send me a receipt within 24 hours.  Somehow, I don't believe them, but I am gaining a new insight into their may be their name, but driving customers crazy is their game.

If you've had success with this organisation I'd love to hear how you did it!  What drives you nuts when you're trying to call an organisation?

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