Eir sued by Dutch provider of ‘DIY’ customer care service

Row relates to telco’s decision to shut down ‘community forum’ section of its website

Last summer, as Eir was in talks with its customer care outsourced providers, its poor standards of customer care rose to prominence in the media

Last summer, as Eir was in talks with its customer care outsourced providers, its poor standards of customer care rose to prominence in the media

 

Telecoms group Eir has become embroiled in a legal row with a Dutch company that provided it with software for elements of its customer service platform.

Eir is being sued for cash it allegedly owes to Insided, which is seeking a summary judgment in the High Court against the largest Irish telco. The row is understood to relate to the decision last summer by Eir to shut down the “community forum” section of its website, which was powered by Insided software.

Eir on Friday night declined to comment because it is an ongoing legal matter.

Insided specialises in providing software for companies, primarily telcos, to run forums where customers of the business can congregate and discuss each other’s technical queries and other issues.

It is essentially a form of DIY customer service, which can save costs for companies and ensure quicker replies for customers with simple problems.

Online communities

Three years ago, Insided partnered with social media tech company Conversocial to build a system to help companies harness online communities and social media for “self service” customer care. It said Eir, which at the time had recently rebranded, was “one of the first” to sign up for the service.

“As part of our recent rebrand to Eir, partnering with Conversocial and Insided allowed us to really raise the bar for customer service on social media and our online communities,” Eir said at the time.

The company’s community forum became a place where its customers congregated to complain about their experiences

Eir’s strategy for customer care changed, however, when its new owners, a consortium led by French investor Xavier Neil, took control of the business last April. The new owners were understood to be unhappy at its levels of customer service and sought to bring much of its outsourced customer care in-house.

Last summer, as Eir was in talks with its customer care outsourced providers, its poor standards of customer care rose to prominence in the media.

The company’s community forum became a place where its customers congregated to complain about their experiences. In August, Eir shut the forum down, sparking the row with Insided. After it closed the customer forum, Eir began redirecting customer queries to a thread on Boards.ie.

Slew of articles

Eir’s customer service woes have continued in recent months, leading to a slew of articles across various media detailing the experiences of customers who were unable to access basic support services such as helplines.

Eir has terminated its contract with outsourced call centre provider HCL, and brought that function back in-house, hiring up to 1,000 new staff for facilities in Cork, Limerick and Sligo.

Eir said on Friday night that it has hired “almost” all of the customer service staff it needs. It said many of the new hires still require training, and “about 40” new customer care staff begin work each week.

It said its average call centre waiting time has come down to about eight minutes, but it is aiming for “more like two minutes”.

Eir said that much of the recent problems with its call centre were because Dublin-based former staff at HCL left for new jobs more quickly than it had anticipated, once it was announced the outsourcing contract was ending.