Government services have come last in a survey of how easy various services and service providers are to contact by the public. Almost 2,000 people were asked to rank different organisations according to how easy they were to contact. Out of 11 options, central government services came 11th. Top of the list were banks, followed …
Utilitiy Companies, Phone and ISP companies might be easy to contact if you to buy something but what about Support?
Since most of them now have offshore Call Centres and most people that have had experience with offshored call centres think they are just a bunch of usless script reading drones that do not understand English.
Did the survey take that into account?
In my experience...
...a phone in an unoccupied, locked room is answered more frequently than a call to HM Revenue & Customs.
In MY experience...
theblackhand said "a phone in an unoccupied, locked room is answered more frequently than a call to HM Revenue & Customs"
Must be the Customs part of HMRC you're trying to get - I've never been on hold on the revenoo for more than 10 minutes. And in fact, the last lass I was speaking to was very, very helpful - although the fact that she organised me a tax refund when all I wanted to do was get my tax code changed won many brownie points in my book! ;)
Worst recently was British Gas - they'd got one of these bl**dy numeric menu systems with about twenty levels (or so it seemed)
Actually, I was quite happy to slag off HMRC, and then one of my relatives joined them to man one of the local helpdesks. They're always complaining that they get called by folks for whom English is definitely not their callers main language. And then said caller refuses to understand why the government is insisting that they pay any tax at all, and cap it by getting abusive!
Interesting to see it from the other side of the phone....
Just to keep the ballance
I've never had any difficulty talking to HMRC or the DVLA, in fact mostly it's the call handling technology that's failed, not the Civil Servant, and both beat the crap out of my Mobile supplier.
Don't expect it to get any better any time soon, expect it to get far, far worse. Departments will not have any money to make things better, in fact the message is shared services, and extend and blend. So we can now look forward to the cheapest services triumphing. DWP will take over the HMRC customer interface and the DVLA will take over NHS direct.
...to Reynholm Industries.
It's a 1600 BILLION BILLION dollar industry!
(I wish the US had better shows. And didn't ruin them, if bringing them to the US. Channel 4's website even says I'm not allowed to watch the episodes b/c I'm in the US....not that I blame them :D)
Central Phone Number
"More than half of people thought a single central phone number would improve access. "
Better still is one where you don't have to pay premium rate for the call.
( SAYNOTO0870 is a help, though)
When I were a lad...
...this was all just fields.
Point being, ask anyone their *impressions* on whether they think something is easier or more difficult (better/worse, safer/riskier) now than it was five years ago and the almost universal answer will be the latter, no matter what the reality.
DVLA is ace!
I've been lucky not to have to call central government very often, but the one occasion I can remember it was the DVLA.
I'd sent my license back for a photo update only to find I had to travel to the US on business. I needed the license to hire a car.
I spoke to a nice chap at DVLA. Not a call centre because his Welsh accent was very obvious. Rather than mess me about he immediately passed me to his supervisor who was extremely helpful. She offered two or three options for me if they were not able to get the new license back on time, but she also promised to "look out for it and hurry it up". I must say I was a bit dubious - it seemed such a personal assurance to give.
Anyway, my new license arrived safe and sound two days later, and I had no problems hiring the car. Outstanding service - especially as the DVLA had a backlog of licenses to deal with because of the postal strike that was on then.
In total contrast was my attempt to ask Hertz (the rental company) if they would accept an official fax copy of my license from the DVLA (this was one of the options the nice lady there offered). Nobody there had a flipping clue! They were hopeless, and broadly speaking couldn't care less.
I'll still use Hertz in the US because they've got the best checkin facility at SFO, but I hope I never have a paperwork query with them!!!
Not my experience...
Over the last 10 years, they've 'lost' two driving licences in my family, and two separate cars took YEARS to convince the DVLA I didn't own, despite all the paperwork being duly completed and forwarded. I'm still fighting with them over a car I SORNed three years ago!
Living in a rural area, I usually renew my road tax online - last year they claimed 2 tax discs had been 'lost in the post' successively, resulting in my losing almost 6 weeks out of the year I'd already paid for - something they didn't hesitate to tell me was my problem - I'd be charged if I drove without a disk, even though I could prove I'd paid. I should add I'm never less than scrupulously polite when dealing with them.
Writing to them is a waste of time, and phoning them is like beating my head against a brick wall - I've had to provide the same information time and time (and time) again - but it never seems to 'take'. I've even asked (politely) for them to confirm what I've just said and that they've noted it - only to have to repeat the whole lot again next time.
Have you tried recorded delivery? At least that way you can legally offload the responsibility for the docs onto them.
It's maddening when they insist that you're responsible if something doesn't make it through the mail. However, there was some case that I read about recently where the magistrate declared that this wasn't enforceable.
I suppose a strongly worded solicitors letter is another option - perhaps to the complaints dept or whatever.
Well...maybe. But it would add at least one extra level of hierarchy to the numeric menu system.
A freephone number for each major department would be preferable.
A single contact point doesn't have to add another level to the IVR. Prudential own the number 0800000000, it is their single point of contact and they have no IVR, if the person who answers the phone can't help, the put you straight through to a person who can.
Conversely my company has an IT helpdesk with six levels of IVR, every time I use it the ask me what I think of the service, every time I tell them about the Pru, nothing has changed in six years.
We did *not* come last? How dare they pressume that we're even remotely interested in their calls! Puny little users - they will live to regret this... *clickety-click* There. A 640 kb mail file is plenty for everyone...
I hope that's to share, can't have them taking up more than half a meg each!
Central Number for *all* HMG services
You jest surely
Why did you bother?
"Government services have come last in a survey of how easy various services and service providers are to contact by the public. ... The survey was carried out by Vision Critical on 7 and 8 April, on behalf of local government reseller Lagan Technologies"
Was there any point in publishing the rest?
Looks to me that the Reg might have sunk as low as publishing press releases. Sad... Very sad.
And the other 6
"Three out of ten people believe central services have got worse in the last five years, while only one in ten believe there's been an improvement."
Beware of statistics... the above accounts for only 4 out of 10 respondents. The other 6? My guess would be they answered: "It was shit then, it's shit now, so I guess it stayed the same".
I needed to phone my GP the other day, so I jotted down the number from the NHS web site.
Number not in use.
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