May 2018 Archives

TL;DR Aussie Broadband GOOD, Telstra BAD. Treat departing customers just as well as (or ideally better than) you would current and prospective customers.

Recently I've gone through the experience of cancelling broadband services with two providers.

The first was Aussie Broadband. This was amazingly straightforward.

I called, spoke to a friendly fellow who asked why I was cancelling -- I'm on HFC NBN which is notoriously flaky so thought I'd give Vodafone NBN a try as they offer a free 3G/4G backup -- and he was very sympathetic, acknowledging the aforementioned HFC flakiness. The exchange came across very much as a "we're just asking to make sure you're making a sensible decision for your situation" which is appreciated.

The call took all of 3 minutes (including no wait time) and there was nothing further to do. He informed me that my service was paid up until and so I had another week or so to maximise my fees already paid as they don't pro-rate refunds. I was happy to waive that.

Contrast this to Telstra.

I cancelled my HFC service of almost 8 years on 26 April. I was told I'd receive a final bill on 28 May which was odd. I also received a bill on 28 April for the period 26 April to 23 May which I queried. I was told that's just how their system operates (pay in advance... even if it was a service they knew they'd never deliver to me!), and I would receive the final bill on 28 May refunding those fees. Okay...

28 May rolls around and my account is now in credit as expected. I go on Telstra Live Chat hoping it will be a simple request to get the credit refunded to the credit card they already have on file and am told it can only be done via phone.

"Just call 132200 and say Billing" he says.

I ask why he can't process my request electronically as I hate phone conversations as they make things difficult to follow up when something goes wrong.

He says they need to get my details securely so they can arrange the refund.

I ask why he can't just refund to the same credit card they've had on file for over 2 years and he says he doesn't have access to the systems required.

Hello Telstra! Why are your internal demarcation issues visible to the customer? You're a $45 billion dollar business.

I give in and call 132200 and say "billing". I don't want a payment extension. I don't want a copy of my bill. I don't need someone to explain my bill to me. I get bounced through 3 levels of IVR, none of which offer me the option of requesting a refund.

Silence turns out to be the best option as the system eventually gives up and puts me through to a queue with an 8 minute wait. The final rep is very helpful, and indeed refunds my money to the same credit card already on file. "We don't need any more details", she says. What a revelation.

Why is this a problem?

Contrast the outcome of the two experiences.

I would (and likely will) become an Aussie Broadband customer in future because I now know that it's so easy to leave. I know that when they offer month to month services with no lock-in they really mean it -- no painful exit processes to discourage you from leaving.

But I will almost never become a Telstra customer again given how painful it is to leave. This was their final chance to leave a good impression and this is the best they could come up with.



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This page is an archive of entries from May 2018 listed from newest to oldest.

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