So I've just moved. Until I have broadband internet access set up at my new place, please excuse if I'm slow at replying to emails, moderating comments or indeed reading many blog posts. As well as all the unpacking and setting things up for a new household, I am also trying to get reconnected at home.
Seeing that I don't enjoy making (or receiving) phone calls to call centres, I thought that I'd try out the chat system offered by one of the bigger players in the Australian telco market. Big waste of time.
Things were going ok up until the point when I checked to see if they supported Macs - knowing before that they used to have issues with Macs. Just after telling me that Mac OS 10.4 should be ok, the customer service rep. asked me, "which version of windows does it have?" I explained, patiently and tactfully I hope, how that wasn't relevant.
There was a pause for several minutes - and then the chat session was abrubtly ended. I can only assume that he hung up on me. It's a bit of a worry.
I am asking myself - did I waste as much time this way as I would have if I'd phoned them, waited on hold for 5-10 minutes, and then spoken to the same clueless person over the phone? Maybe not, but I am guessing that it would have been easier for me to ask for this person's supervisor as soon as I started having doubts about his expertise. Also, if my experience at Vodafone is anything to go by, it's very rare for a call centre operator to be allowed to hang up on a customer. We were only allowed to do it when they started swearing at us and we had warned them that we would not put up with that sort of language. Released calls were monitored and counted, just like everything else, and always had to be justified. Maybe the online chatting is still so new that it's not monitored as vigourously.
Which is quite short-sighted - after all it would be very difficult for me to post an audio recording (or even transcript) of a call centre exchange on the web - but it was very easy to take a screen shot and post this on the web. It makes me think about virtual reference in libraries too - with a different medium comes different expectations and standards.