29 June, 2006

What I do at work

Part of my role, at the moment, is to take telephone line fault reports from our customers. We then report them on to the wholesaler (this company owns the telephone network in Australia), the wholesaler (lets call them T) then send their techs out to investigate and fix the fault.

So, in the interests of making my job easier and to avoid wasting your time on the call, here's a few tips on what to do if you have a problem with your phone line. Let's take the example of no dial tone or some noise on the line to start with (they do seem to be most common complaints).

First things first - unplug everything from the phone line (yes from every single socket). Then plug a telephone handset into each wall socket and test. Ideally, you would then test a second telephone handset in each socket. This way you can test each socket individually for problems and also ensure it's not the one of the handsets that's causing the problem. The reasoning behind this is that T may charge for a tech visit IF the problem is caused by your phones or equipment (ie: if the fault is not with their lines/sockets).

It's better to test with corded phones rather than cordless, but that can be harder (cordless phones are so popular these days). Ask around though, often people will have a corded phone tucked away in a cupboard, that you might be able to borrow (don't buy until you know for sure it's your phone that's the problem though - waste of money, unless you wanted to buy a new phone anyway).

So, if you've found the problem is still happening even after trying two different handsets in all sockets, then leave one (preferably corded) handset plugged into one socket only and call your telephone provider to report it. If you're calling from your mobile, then it's a good idea to make sure you know what your mobile number actually is. You wouldn't believe how many people don't know their own numbers!

Now here's the important part - please don't get upset that a tech is not immediately dispatched to look at your problem. I know that you depend on the phone (whether that's due to running a business/need the internet to complete schoolwork/urgently need to do your internet or phone banking/you're expecting an important call) but the thing is, T gives us the *first available* timeslot. The TIO in Australia gives T a certain time period to fix problems - and in most cases that time frame is met. Yes, it may cause you problems, but unfortunately we don't have anyway of bumping you up that list. We know it's inconvenient and you're not happy about it but please understand we're getting this done for you as soon as possible - it's not in our best interests to mess you around. In other words please don't yell at us, honestly these time frames are out of our control.

Oh and please don't call up about a fault (that you've had for several days), the afternoon before a long weekend and then get upset about a tech not being booked to visit until the next week. Yes, I did have this exact situation - just before Easter in fact, so it was an extra long weekend.

There's lots more to this job, but the above covers a fair chunk. Hopefully you might find it helpful!

Disclaimer here: I'm in Australia and I've no idea if the same tips would be applicable in other countries. I would presume they might but I'm not familiar with the systems over there (whereever there is!).

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