Uh oh18

When I couldn’t find a phone number on Monday I used the whitepages and got it immediately.

On my way to Christchurch the following day I needed the number again so rang 018.

I gave the operator the surname and first names of the couple and then explained I didn’t know the exact address but they lived at Clearwater.

She asked if that was an area, I replied it was a resort and she told me they didn’t have a number for anyone of that name at Clearwater.

The names I’d given her aren’t rare but they aren’t very common either so I asked if there was a number for any couple with the combination of names I was asking for anywhere in Christchurch.

She said there was one so I asked for the address and when she gave it to me I recognised it as being the one I needed.

Not giving the exact address makes finding a number harder, but given I gave the two first names and surname of the people whose number I wanted and there was only one with that combination in the whole of Christchurch, why didn’t she offer it as an alternative rather than just giving me the we -don’t -have -anyone -at -that -addreess response?

This isn’t the first time I’ve gone through a similar teeth-pulling exercise to get a number, even when I know it’s in the phone book and/or internet whitepages and I’ve got the right address.

It happens often with country people because rural delivery addresses usually go through a postal centre some distance from the phone exchange, so for example the postal address might be Oamaru but the phone exchange will be one of several other wee townships such as Enfield, Windsor or Duntroon which most people don’t know.

But it also happens with addresses in towns and cities and others tell me they have similar problems with the 018 service.

If it’s this bad when staff appear to be New Zealanders, imagine how much worse it will get if Telecom moves this service to an overseas call centre too.

8 Responses to Uh oh18

  1. Ian says:

    the reluctance to offer addresses is related to the dreaded “privacy issues” – companies are very reluctant to provide / confirm informaiton that is outside the purpose for which it is collected. Technically the address information should not be provided as the phone number is the point for which the information is provided. It should be up to the house holder to decide if they want their address divulged – not a call centre worker.
    BTW and not really related to your key point Telecom doesn’t own 018 anymore. This was sold off to sytec some time ago.


  2. homepaddock says:

    Ian – if the address is in the phone book it’s already public, but if the operator didn’t want to tell me the address she could still have told me she had found a couple with the names I’d given her but the address didn’t say Clearwater.

    Thanks for clarifying the ownership of the 018 service.


  3. pdm says:

    Did you have to go through that infuriating female voice thing at 018.

    The only good thing about it is that you can swear at it without fear of retribution.


  4. homepaddock says:

    PDM – no, one good thing about 018 is you get straight on to a real person.


  5. Buggerlugs says:

    another bloody annoying thing is that if you are a Firefox user like me, the NZ white and yellow pages don’t bloody WORK AT ALL in Firefox.


  6. Pique Oil says:

    Buggerlugs, I have firefox and no problem with white or yellowpages.


  7. PaulL says:

    Just to get back on my bandwagon, offshore doesn’t mean bad. If you offshore with the explicit intent of saving money through lower service, then yes, that is what you’ll get. Conversely, if you offshore with quality in mind, you can get a great answer. There are some very smart people with good qualifications who think that being a call centre operator is a really good job. In NZ the people who think being a call centre operator is a good job tend not to be high skill individuals. As with any service industry, the quality and motivation of the people is key – being a NZer doesn’t automatically make someone good.


  8. Buggerlugs says:

    aaargh pique oil. should have checked before i said that. works now, didn’t work up till last week. my threats via their contact page must have worked!


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