You’re Only As Good As Your Suppliers


After waxing lyrical about Spark’s great “save” (see my post about my five-year struggle for a reliable landline) courtesy of the very proficient staff member from its “Customer Capability” team, the goodwill is fast going out the door again, thanks to Chorus / Downer.

One of the aspects of the solution offered by the switched-on Jonah from this “special forces” division of Spark, was to install a second, back-up line at no charge (i.e. I’d get the installation for free, but of course pay the monthly rental on it). Given the very significant installation fee I would have otherwise incurred, I was delighted.

The installation date had been set for today, March 11, 2016, the afternoon thereof. I’d made clear that I needed to leave the office at 4.45pm, and asked that the technician arrive with sufficient time clearance to complete the installation so I could leave no later.

So – by virtue of that agreement, and the general way in which the matter was handled once in Jonah’s capable hands – this customer was promptly won back over. The goodwill begin to trickle back. I am, after all, a loyal customer, if only by habit.

And . . . It’s A No Show

But here’s where the whole side got let down:  the Chorus / Downer technician never turned up. I waited until 5pm. Not so much as a phone call.

I know Jonah had done his bit, because – not having received the promised pre-alert phone call by mid-afternoon – I’d called him on the direct extension he’d kindly provided. He repeated everything we’d been through with regard to the installation order, along with everything he’d passed on to the Chorus people.

He followed through with the Chorus depot and rang me back to confirm that yes, the technician was still definitely going to turn up. Any moment now.

Well, that moment never came, and – as above – neither did any courtesy phone call.

The Most Basic of SLAs:  Show Up!

So, my question would be this:

Why does Spark supposedly invest considerable resources in a team like Jonah’s to trouble-shoot, retain customers, and restore goodwill . . . and seemingly not require its suppliers / contractors to adhere to what must surely be the most basic of SLAs (Service Level Agreements) i.e. to turn up to scheduled appointments with Spark customers?

This isn’t the only time I’ve asked this question. This no-show by Chorus / Downer technicians was a regular feature of my world during an earlier phase, several years ago, when the line would crash on a considerably more regular basis.

There seemed to be no answer to this most obvious of questions. In fact, I was of the distinct impression then, as I am again now, that one word from Spark and the Chorus / Downer side of the equation does exactly as it pleases.

For another rotten customer experience – albeit many times worse, in terms of bottom line impact – read my coverage on my ongoing Allied Pickfords saga (another update to come shortly).

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