TELSTRA should have gone the way of the dodo long ago. 4G won't fix it, but a new owner might.
Even if Telstra (aka Sub-Saharan Telecom) were to have just launched 10G, it'd still be useless without any customer service. It's hard to conceive of an organisation whose service is worse. Simply, Telstra is the pits. Reckon I'm exaggerating, then just check the number of monthly complaints to the telecommunications ombudsman.
It seems all telcos come from the same trough. After years of unhappy experiences of Telstra Customer Service, this infamous but exceedingly apt British Telecom 'very disgruntled customer' email/YouTube video precisely sums up my thoughts about Telstra (and many other too I'll bet): (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yj2oXMdZ4sk). My verbal eloquence isn't up to this bloke's standard but we Aussies reckon we're good with adjectives, still we'd have miles of honing before we'd ever match such a masterly performance as this British Telecom complaint. Of the art, it ought to a masterpiece in effectiveness but still it'd be lost on Telstra.
The ordeal of dealing with Telstra Customer Service for more than a moment is a form of torture; one needs endurance, persistence and stamina to survive. Telstra Customer Service is the epitome of incompetence designed to keep the customer away from anybody who actually knows what's going on. Inflicting customers with telephone calls that usually involve multiple transfers across about seven or eight different operators over a two-hour-plus stretch, is a necessity for Telstra, as it has fired most of its technical staff; any who are left are just contractors who daren't say a word out of place for fear of losing further contracts.
It seems that rather than terminate a customer service call prematurely; Telstra considers it better for public relations if customers are put in an almost never-ending holding pattern of phone transfers which are only terminated by end processes such as having the hapless customer hang up out of frustration, or that by the time he or she is transferred to the last phone extension, business hours are now over and the phone just rings out; or that whilst waiting he/she eventually dies of old age.
Moreover, the hapless offshore call centre operators are not only left with the problem but also they're NOT given the hierarchal authority/sufficient access to the network for them to solve customers' problems. It's little wonder they cop heaps of abuse from us Telstra customers.
I can hardly begin to explain my experience with Telstra over the past month and still be coherent, if I wrote every event down you'd think I was a Hollywood script writer or had the most vivid imagination. Here's an example: a colleague and I spent conservatively 13 hours--in fact, it was considerably more--over the better part of a week tying to get Telstra to reconnect an ADSL2+ line and re-establish its account. We lost count of the number of times we were transferred hither and thither in 2-hour+ calls between Telstra's call centres and Accounts and back again--round and round in a Ring a Ring o' Roses until both of us were exhausted from shouting down the phone line. After nearly a week and repeated and unnecessary password and account changes--passwords not being the problem, we only managed to get Telstra to re-establish the BigPond Internet account--not the actual service. Even then, we weren’t sure of that as, three people in Telstra Customer Service said the account was dead (closed) and one said it was operational, although over in Telstra Accounts several people said the account was up to date.
Nevertheless, the ADSL line remained dead. We'd failed to convince anyone from Telstra to reset the exchange modem. As is widely known, there's no one in exchanges full time anymore, so instead of a quick tweak by a resident techie, Telstra has to schedule service calls days in advance. To make matters worse, no one in Telstra Customer Service actually believed us that the line was still dead; furthermore, throughout the ordeal, they treated us as idiots as they ritualistically followed Telstra's check script by making us answer the same inane questions over and over again. For instance, the account owner's date of birth had to be repeated literally dozens of times.
(For anyone who's thinking 'those idiots haven't disconnected their modem from the line for the exchange end to reset', I'll say that not only was this done many times but sometimes it was disconnected for hours at a time, also different (known working) modems were tried. Oh, BTW, the ADSL carrier was present all this time, it'd been re-established days earlier.)
Anyway, Telstra Customer Service continued to insist that its (remote) testing of the exchange modem was AOK but STILL we could’t connect. Thus, another Ring a Ring o' Roses in circles back to accounts to ensure for a final time there wasn't some lock or hold on the account which was overlooked on previous calls. Once again, we were assured the account was in perfect order then sent packing back to Customer Service for a technical fix. The understatement of the year would be to say that within Telstra, buck-passing has reached dizzying heights.
Catch-22, ahhhhhh!! Quo vadis?
In an act of desperation, I decided it was time for some serious hacking to see if I could force a reset of the exchange modem. Luckily, after recalling an old trick from my distant past, I eventually forced the modem to reset. Once again, the service was operational!
Had I had any remaining stamina, I'd have sent Telstra a bill for my technical services. Where else have anyone ever heard of a customer having to 'fix' the ADSL modem at the exchange himself to get his service up and running again? Nowhere, right?
Now, would any of you dare risk a two-year cutting-edge 4G wireless account with this mob of Cretins? Not likely, eh?
Perhaps next post I'll describe the two-hour-plus saga in a Telstra shop where our combined endeavours failed to have a Telstra wireless modem account issue fixed. With the day's business hours ending, the ordeal saw us dashing madly from the Telstra shop to a Vodafone outlet several shops away only for us to return minutes later to Telstra where we gleefully waved a brand new Huawei E585 wireless modem complete with Vodafone account in front of their noses.
'FUCK TELSTRA' is far too endearing a term to describe a company that long ago ought have been absorbed by its competition.
Occasionally, one has to laugh at such a shambles. Here's one of many instances of a Telstra spoof on YouTube that was done by a well-known Sydney radio announcer. It was taken off-air a few years ago yet it still won't die:
It only goes to show that Telstra has been an embarrassing national joke for Australia for years.