Cantillon: Life is just too short for automated Eircom
A recent (and ongoing) attempt to take the company up on an offer led to frustration
Among the ironies created by the phenomenon is that it can be very difficult to telephone phone companies these days
The outsourcing impulse seems to be a constant in business these days as companies and managers and investors look for ways to reduce costs and maximise efficiencies. But the process has its downsides, not least for consumers.
Among the ironies created by the phenomenon is that it can be very difficult to telephone phone companies these days, and even when you do, if your query is not of a very standard nature, it can be difficult to find a person who has a clue as to how to respond.
Eircom is currently advertising its new foray into the TV signal supply business, going head-to-head with cable and satellite networks who have muscled their way into the phone and internet sectors.
A recent (and ongoing) attempt to take the company up on its offer illustrates how modern business can sometimes become so automated and outsourced that they seem in danger of disappearing altogether.
Phoning Eircom involves keying in your phone number and your account number and selecting what service you want, before ever getting to speak with a human.
Often that human starts the conversation by asking for the details you have already keyed into the phone while waiting and listening to looped advertisements for Eircom’s latest deals. (Greensleeves was so much better than forced exposure to ads and automated promises that “we value your custom”. )
Offers to take Eircom up on its TV deal require a technician calling to the house and when this writer made such an arrangement the best that could be promised was that the technician would call some time between 9am and 1pm. (“We value your custom.”)
When the technician arrived he discovered that information he should have been given by Eircom (he was working for a contractor) had not been emailed to him and he could not, therefore, do the job.
In order to reschedule, the customer, this writer, had to go through the unpleasant process of contacting Eircom again (“earth to Eircom, earth to Eircom”). On the day prior to a technician’s visit an automated text message goes out, with a number you can call if you won’t be there for the appointment. Not having received such a text, a phone call to the number (which puts you through to the contractor, not Eircom) on the morning of the rescheduled visit, ascertained that no appointment was down for that date as far as it was concerned, though there was one for two weeks’ hence. Consideration was given to calling Eircom to try clear up the matter, but the wiser route was taken.
Life is just too short.