Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Epidemic Strikes New Zealand

With Bird 'Flu and HIV so prominent in the scaremedia these days its surprising that a more subtle and insidious disease has not made it to the front of the media queue. The results of this disease are debilitating the country and causing individuals to suffer quite profoundly:

  • Elevation of stress levels with attendant impact on blood pressure
  • Mood swings caused by conflicting diagnoses
  • Increasing levels of phone rage
  • Circular neurolinguistic utterance
  • Diabetes (brought on by saccharine responses and fake smiles)

I speak of course of the Call Centre epidemic. It is now virtually impossible for anyone in New Zealand to actually speak to the person handling their file. So a game of "Chinese" whispers begins. Let me give you 2 examples (both true stories):

Example 1

Person receives notice that Family Assistance has been overpaid

Person phone IRD to clarify and is given good news - a fresh assessment is to be sent out

Fresh Assessment arrives...with exactly the same amount to pay

Person quitely goes crazy and ignores

Out of the blue another assessment arrives for half of the original amount but still twice the amount verbally reported by phone as owing

Person rings again to clarify. Having told the story again, the person is put on hold. After waiting for a lengthy period the person is cut off without an answer

Next day (having waited in vain for a returned call) the person rings again and is told by a different call centre person that both assessments seem wrong and that a fresh assessment will need to be completed

Person waits cyncially for the next chapter

Example 2

Person rings IRD to enquire of the status of an organisation's application. This is the person who has (a) Completed all the forms (b) Been nominated as contact (c) Has received communication from the IRD in writing. Person is told they are not listed as an official contact.

Who is an official contact? Can't tell you as you're not an official contact.

Is it "x"? No.

Well there is no one else! And IRD have already been in contact with me - I think this is your mistake in loading the information. Can I speak to the department concerned who is dealing with this file? No, no one gets to speak to the processing centres.

So how does one go about getting the forms looked at? The contact person could ask.

Who is that person? I can't tell you.

Can you send a letter out to the contact person telling them that they are the contact person? No

(penny drops as he realises IRD's mistake) Is the contact person "y" (involved with the national church) I can't tell you.

Well if it is then its your mistake, he was simply endorsing the church as being within the denomination. I still don't have you as a contact - perhaps "y" could contact us?

"y" is not available for national duties at present. Well I'm sorry I can't help you.

Call ends.

Insanity. I have also had this same scenario play out with Immigration, DHB's etc. Its not obesity thats causing heart disease to rise in NZ, its call centres...


onscreen said...

Yeah, I'm with ya on this one!

BJ said...

Update for those who care:


I got the Family Assistance reduced.