Back in January Councillor Sean Sheahan, opposition portfolio holder for Housing and Customer Services, asked Councillor Roger Bayliss, the Tory lead member, about the efficiency of telephone answering at the council.
In his formal reply Councillor Bayliss had to concede that for 11 days between 21 November and 16 December call handling was so poor more than half of all calls went unanswered.
During the same period on 14 separate days less than half of calls to the customer services team were answered within 20 seconds. Indeed on 6 of those days less than 3% of calls were answered within 20 seconds!
Councillor Bayliss, the man responsible for Customer Services, at the time said he was implementing a raft of changes to call answering which would make the customer experience better.
Moving forward 7 months yesterday I twice needed to telephone an officer at the council for whom I didn't have a direct dial number. So I, like the vast majority of customers phoned the main switchboard number...
The first time I called from the point the call was answered (and when I entered the automatic queuing system) to when a real person spoke to took 8 minutes 41 seconds.
The second time, later in the day, I spent 6 minutes 53 seconds waiting.
That was 15 minutes of my monthly mobile allowance wasted.
If I had been using the standard BT tariff I would have spent £1.50 on those two calls BEFORE I EVEN SPOKE TO ANYONE! That's a lot of money to an elderly person or someon living on benefits and a waste of money to the rest of us.
So my question is this, is that sort of wait time normal?
Let me know your experiences by leaving a comment.
It sure as hell isn't good enough!