Saturday, December 02, 2017

It should be easier to report internet outages

Since switching to the NBN via Telstra I've had a good experience in terms of speed. So far I've noticed two outages. (Presumably there may have been other outages that I didn't notice).

Yesterday our connection went down. I checked the cable modem and the lights were flashing. I rebooted the modem and it continued to flash. I visited Telstra's new outage site and at the time it said there was no known outage in my area even though my connection had been down for at least an hour.

My neighbours on both sides had also lost their internet connection.

The annoying thing is that the outage site has no link to let us report an outage. The only way to do this is to go to the troubleshooting page and then start a "24x7 chat" session.

I can understand that it must be frustrating for Telstra to deal with customers who's problem is in their own home network but many of us are equipped to diagnose problems but we must go through this time consuming process.

Info: Thank you for choosing Telstra 24x7 Live Chat. A representative will be with you shortly. At the conclusion of your chat please take a few moments to give us some feedback on your experience today.
Info: You are now chatting with Shah.
Peter: telstra cable NBN internet down at XXX, Killarney Heights. Neighbours on both sides also down.
Shah: 
Hi, you are chatting with Shah. How may I help you?

Peter: Have restarted modem. Light still flashing.
Peter: outage.telstra.com says no known outage.
Peter: what's the best way to report an outage?
Shah: 
Sorry for the inconvenience caused to you. Don’t worry I will be more than glad to assist you with the fault today. 

Shah: 
For NBN? 

Peter: yes
Shah: 
I will now need to transfer our chat to our specialist team who can help resolve your issue

Peter: telstra cable NBN internet down at XXX, Killarney Heights. Neighbours on both sides also down.
Info: Please wait while your chat is transferred to the appropriate group.
Info: All agents are currently assisting others. Thank you for your patience.
Info: All agents are currently assisting others. Thank you for your patience.
Info: You are now chatting with Aijaz.
Peter: telstra cable NBN internet down at XXX, Killarney Heights. Neighbours on both sides also down.
Peter: what is the best way to report this?
Aijaz: 
Hi, you are chatting with Aijaz, I am checking with the previous conversations.

Peter: telstra cable NBN internet down at XXX Killarney Heights. Neighbours on both sides also down.
Aijaz: 
Yes, Peter I am checking with that and forward the issue to the specialist team on high priority.

Aijaz: 
My apologies for the inconvenience caused.

Aijaz: 
Before we proceed, I will have to authenticate your account for security purposes. Could you please help with your full name, date of birth and home phone number with the area code?

Peter: I thought you were the specialist
Peter: why do you need all that?
Aijaz: 
I am from the technical team. I will forward to the specialist team. Because to raise a complaint and forward it. 

Peter: don't worry, I'll report it on twitter. Thanks for your time. Have a nice day.
Aijaz: 
Thank you for choosing Telstra. Have a good day.

Peter: ha!

I guess these operators are handling multiple simultaneous conversations at the same time. Given that I've come via the customer web site (using mobile data) it seems bizarre that I need to prove my identity "for security purposes". Next I went to twitter, which seems to be the best way to interact with many organisations.

On Twitter I asked why the outages site doesn't have a button for reporting outages. They replied:


I also asked why they don't monitor the network so they know when there are outages without customers having to fight their way through to report them. Cas said they do monitor some things.

By now, outages now showed an outage at my address but I find this process very user hostile and if Telstra ever gives statistics on the low numbers of outage reports I would treat these numbers with scepticism.