Standoff over Aussie broadband problem solved by police negotiators

 In customer service, disruption

This article in the Sydney Morning Herald caught my eye – about negotiating with telcos Aussie style.

Those in Australia will know that the Government’s project to provide “superfast broadband” to all Australians has been fraught with difficulties ever since it was announced by a previous Labor Government over a decade ago.

I’ve written about the problems with the National Broadband Network (NBN) previously, and the issue of a literal “digital divide” in one Australian town’s street because of the different types of technology being used to deliver broadband (fibre to the premise vs fibre to the node).

I’ve read about many issues by Australians in connecting to the NBN, with some being forced off existing, older technologies contractually, only to be connected to a slower version of the service they had been on.

One frustrated NBN user, Matt Dooley decided to stage a “sit-in” at his local Telstra store, frustrated that for the last 4 months Telstra had ignored the problems he had experienced with his broadband service.

As reported in the Sydney Morning Herald, when the store staff called Police, an interesting twist in the story occurred.

The police who attended sided with Matt’s plight and used their negotiating skills to convince Telstra to rectify Matt’s concerns.

It shows how frustrated consumers have become with the NBN services that they now need to call in the police to negotiate for what they have paid for.

“The cops kind of took our side,” Mr Dooley said. “They understood. They used their excellent negotiating skills to negotiate what I hadn’t been able to in the last four months.

In 2018, fast internet has become expected by consumers everywhere, and there are examples of where a country’s GDP and productivity statistics can be improved just by providing high-speed broadband.

Let’s hope that we don’t have to literally resort to police negotiators to get what we have paid for from suppliers.

In this case, Telstra should be extremely embarrassed that they could (or would) not sole a problem, for 4 months, and it took just a day to fix once some cooler heads from the NSW Police stepped on.

Is your customer service at breaking point? If you are an executive at a utility company, try signing up as a new customer and see what the experience is like.

In this digital age, changing providers because of poor service is now just a click away.

With the launch of a new open banking platform in the UK on January 13, expect consumers to have more control. As the financial industry moves to an open platform, expect other utilities to be forced to follow in 2018 and beyond. 

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About 

Based in London, Practical Futurist and former Global Managing Partner at IBM, Andrew Grill is a popular and sought-after presenter and commentator on issues around digital disruption, workplace of the future and new technologies such as blockchain. Andrew is a multiple TEDx and International Keynote Speaker.