Extra help with moving

We’re moving. Soon. In about 12 days, in fact. Our packers will be in at the end of next week, we will move out to a motel, and they will finish the job and get everything onto a boat by the middle of the next week. We will camp in the motel for a couple of weeks, and then take the children out of school, and head up to my parents’ place for a few weeks, before jumping the ditch. With any luck, our furniture will arrive at more-or-less the same time as we do.

So we are right in the middle of the huge business of cleaning and tidying, organising disconnections, final bills and insurance, doing change of address notifications, getting the house ready for tenants.

Some of our suppliers have been enormously helpful – thank you AMI and Quinovic (Lambton). As for others….

I spent 30 minutes getting shunted around the Telecom and Xtra systems yesterday, just to organise a disconnect, and final bill. That was comparatively simple, but then I wanted something extra. I wanted to keep our e-mail addresses going for a few months. You would have thought that would be simple to arrange.

Not a hope. Telecom sent me on to Xtra. I spent about 20 minutes navigating their voice system, pursued by the ever helpful voice recognition, which it seemed didn’t recognise the word “disconnect” and “forward”. At one stage, I got directed to a help menu, from which there was no exit. So I hung up and tried again. Eventually I got to speak to a real live person, who alas, had a heavy accent, and spoke very, very fast. I had to ask her to slow down, and even then, it was hard going talking to her. But the final straw came when she wanted my Telecom password, in order to deal with something on my Xtra account. “Go back to Telecom,” she said, “and then call us back.”


I got it sorted eventually, I think, via a very helpful person at Telecom, who spoke French as a first language, but was exceedingly fluent in English, so I suspect he may have been Quebecois. But I’m not sure that everything is lined up and ready to go, so in a few days, I will gird my loins, and try again.

But I have had enough of helpless Xtra call centre operatives. Xtra is reducing its costs, by pushing the costs to its customers, in terms of time and emotional energy spent trying to deal with their systems and not-very-helpful call centre staff.

I know it’s not fair to yell at call centre staff – they are just doing their job. But I think that Xtra is relying on that nicety just a little too much. It’s impossible to find anyone to make a complaint to, and impossible to get good service. So I think the time has come to stop being polite, and to get Xtra staff, and Telecom staff, to start wearing some of the cost too.

I am not advocating that you harass hapless Filipinos (is that where the Xtra call centre is?) willy-nilly. But if ever I meet someone who works for Telecom or Xtra, in person, I’m going to talk to them about the problems with their service. If they tell me that it’s not their job, I will smile sweetly, and say that given that this is my only opportunity to talk to a real live person, I’m going to take it, use up their time just as Xtra and Telecom so happily use up my time, and suggest that if they don’t like it, well, they should complain.

Never, ever, move, least of all overseas. Should you see a stressed, busy, middle-aged woman with paint stained hands on Lambton Quay, that will be me. Give me a smile, and tell me to hang in there. I need some TLC today.

Update: Thanks to Radio NZ news, and Stephen of Spleen fame, I now know that I am not alone in my dissatisfaction: Xtra has been voted the worst ISP in New Zealand.


9 responses to “Extra help with moving

  1. Hehe, I just complimented you Deborah (“most cred of any blogger I know”) on The Standard blog and they deleted my comment, irony is, it was a thread about DPF deleting comments.
    I ain’t going there again.

  2. Oh gawd, I know what happened, I did not see/fill in the security words, the post appeared briefly, then it must have been autobot deleted.
    Mercoid is paranoid.

  3. Did you see on the weekend that was Xtra rated the worst NZ ISP in a Consumer Institute survey, as determined by proportion of unhappy customers?

    Having done some time working for and in Telecom, I can tell you that they don’t see revenue growth anywhere, so the only way to keep increasing profit is to strip costs. They are also deeply in denial about how their customers feel about them.

  4. Telecom tests my Tao.

  5. And I dare feel stressed because three guys are ripping our kitchen out, obviously this is a nothing on the stress meter compared with what you are contemplating
    Keep your chin up

  6. Good luck Deborah! We had an 0800 number for a little while two years ago and still haven’t got around to cancelling it with Telecom because I know it is just going to be like trying to navigate Huka Falls, heading upstream. It costs us about $2 extra a month and I’m strugging to work out at what point it is costing more than the stress and time of cancelling it.

  7. Thank you, Merc – ‘most cred’ – that’s very kind of you.

    Rayinnz – stress is as stress does. I hate having strange people in my house doing things, and I really, really hate having to manage without a kitchen. I hope the new one is beautiful, and makes up for the current stress.

    Good tip, thanks Margaret.

  8. Well it’s true. It seems a pity that we can’t keep you in NZ. One day you’ll be back though, and you’ll keep on blogging, neh?
    As for this change and stress, we are selling our house too ( I have moved more than 40 times in my life across many countries, some not English speaking). Trust me, you will land on your feet and the Daughters of Memory will become The Sisters of Inspiration. (it’s a Blake thing).

  9. With Telecom 123 if you press 0 each time that wretched electronic woman speaks you get put through to an actual person after about the third zero. Might be worth a try with xtra.

    Telecom first brought in that electronic woman between last Christmas and New Year, when they didn’t have enough staff on. I mean, how completely stupid is that? Or is it just another ‘we don’t give a shit about our customers’ thing while they’re busy getting every last cent out of the country before they get some proper competition and/or regulation?