What a difference it makes talking to an actual person!!
The lovely Belly’s phone contract was out of control, and there had been all sorts of interference and best intentioned advice all of which had combined to make making a choice virtually impossible. Confusion was reigning supreme, so here’s some advice about how to deal with the nasty necessary bureaucracy.
Always have an ‘End Game’. There is no point being undecided about what you want to achieve. The staff are gonna appreciate knowing where they are headed, even if they don’t want to go there.
Always ask politely to speak to the manager. The person out the front of the Optus store is almost certainly some underling who almost certainly will not be of much help. There will nearly always be an excuse why the manager is not available, but they magically become available when you politely say that you understand they are busy and that you are happy to wait. You must of course then just stand your ground - Don’t speak or move.
When the manager comes out, direct the meeting by choosing where to sit and outline your ‘end game’. This is often more than a little tricky which explains why customers are shrugged off with glossy brochures or tales of ridiculous additional charges and penalties.
Make it very clear that you have all day and that you are going nowhere until you get what you want.
Belly just wanted to be on a plan that she could afford. The manager soon realised that we were going nowhere so she had no choice but to ‘work in’
She accessed bills, reset passwords, printed out bills from the last 4 or 5 months, analysed useage and determined the best plan. She was patient and efficient and we left feeling all sorted. And we had her business card which she was happy for Belly to use in the future if more help is required.
I said to Bell later that it is important to limit what you say. You should not apologise for needing help. That’s what these people are paid for!
Natalie – the manager, initially wanted us to ring the customer services number that she had circled on the brochure and I told her that we weren’t going to do that, that we wanted to talk to a real person, to look them in the face. The brush off is the first attempt to get problem customers out of the shop, and had already been successful on at least 2 occasions. It should probably not be necessary to quietly demand more, but it seems to be the case today.
The folk in the shop probably work on a commission basis and so are only interested in ‘signing people up’. Anything else is too much trouble for no return.
I wonder when customer service became the barely intelligible drone on the end of a long distance line. Well done Natalie from Optus at Carindale, you have allowed us to cross something off Bell’s long list of ‘To Dos’ , and have actually provided some customer SERVICE.