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Recently, my parents have been having a bit of a time of it with their phone line. Being rural they rely on their extremely unreliable and very very slow broadband connection.  They have, if you can remember such a thing, a speed of around 250 kbps. It might as well make that audible modem noise of old.

Anyhow. That’s not the trouble. That’s just an arse-ache of living where no one else does, with no one caring about your broadband needs.  No, in recent times, the whole shebang has gone down. No broadband, No phone. That was a month or longer ago.

First BT tell you to try their ‘on-line wizard’ or whatever it is.  Then, amazingly they deduce there’s a fault. They trigger an engineers visit. Maybe my parents called too. Each time, the same steps must be followed: unplug other phones, unplug the router and the broadband filters, test, try, plug it back in.  The whole time my parents inform BT that it COULD be the trees on the line between them and exchange.. and on it goes.

Almost at the end of their tether, they call me up (because I’m a consultant don’t you know). Mum says that BT are ‘deliberately losing’ her calls, complaints etc. Deliberately closing tickets. Wow, this is SOME conspiracy I tell her. Maybe they are. Probably they aren’t. Probably some consultants, or business analyst types wrote a bunch of processes for just this occurrence.  It probably states: “where a customer does not respond after a site visit, close the ticket at 72 hours, assuming a positive outcome”. No matter that the customer CANNOT contact BT if it’s not successful. They probably lack the process, or wherewithal to link several tickets, thinking my parents rambling fools (only sometimes are they thus).

So the question is: Have those of us in my line of work, made my parents life a misery? Have we designed a poor process, or forgotten about something that’s not an ordinary query type? Have we streamlined and mapped, and made it impossible for anyone to think around a problem?

In the same way that I get warm fuzzies when customer service works well (Hiscox Insurance I’m talking to YOU!), I also get chills of despair when I have to think of a global organisation acting like a company of 100,000 parts, and not a well oiled cohesive machine.

But I didn’t tell my parents we’re to blame. Shhh. It’s a conspiracy against them. Perhaps even GCHQ are involved.

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