Has Telecom New Zealand Finally Got Their Shit Together? Perhaps So.

Everyone likes to beat-up the big brands.

They are an easy target.

There is always something to complain about.

And its comforting that your complaint is just one of many because you know there are hundreds or thousands of customers who feel the same way you do.

You don’t expect to get an official response. You just want to get your feelings off your chest.

Telecom NZ is one of those brands.

You hate Telecom.

I hate Telecom.

Everyone hates Telecom.

Don’t you just dread the prospect of being forced to give them a call to report a fault, or deal with a billing issue, or set up a new service, or anything?

For the next couple of days you probably tell everyone you meet about how an hour or two of your precious time was wasted on hold to Telecom’s call centre in India/Phillipines for an issue that should take 2 minutes to fix (or should never have occured in the first place).

You are not alone. I’m just like you.

So when Vodafone started offering home lines a few years ago I switched over. It felt good to support the underdog.

It’s been 3 years now since I’ve had to deal with Telecom.  But last week I switched back because I had heard good things about Telecoms new broadband plan “Big Time“, and I was tired of my broadband provider Xnet.

I watched Telecom change their logo a few months ago, and noticed they have updated their website too, but I thought that was the end of it – just cosmetic changes, nothing too serious.

But I was wrong.

They have upgraded their service too.

Here’s my experience over the last 10 days:

Contact #1:

  • Called to signup with Telecom.
  • They took my account numbers for Vodafone and Xnet (my broadband provider at the time), and promised to close those accounts for me.
  • We chose a switchover date of 31 Dec 09 to avoid any double billing.  [WIN!]
  • I demanded that the connection fee be waived. They agreed. [WIN!]

Contact #2:

  • On the 4th of January, after 4 days of smooth operation, there hadn’t been any improvement with my broadband speed (0.7Mbit/sec). I was disappointed. This was the primary reason I changed.  I called the Telecom help desk.
  • My call went through to the Phillipines which worried me. I gritted my teeth. But the lady on the other end of the phone knew her shit inside-out!  [WIN!]
  • She ran through some tests including a check on the distance to the nearest Telecom exchange, and among other things, suggested I turn off my modem for 60 seconds. By the end of the call my download speed had increased 50% (to 1.5Mbit/sec).  [WIN!]
  • She also detected that my modem was only ADSL, not ADSL2, so she suggested that was another reason for slow speeds.  She asked if I had received my free modem from Telecom yet. I had not, so she transferred me to dispatch in New Zealand and stayed on the line to introduce us “Sheldon, I’ll now have Frank on the line ‘Hi Sheldon!’, he’ll take you through the next steps”. [WIN!]
  • Frank said the modem hadn’t been sent out yet (perhaps with all the public holidays over the last few days), but he’d send it out now and it should arrive either next day or the following day.  It arrived this morning at 7am – just 14 hours after the phone call [WIN!]

Contact #3:

  • I plugged in the new modem (Thomson SpeedTouch ST536v6) and it installed itself (no installation CD required). The download speed is 6 times faster than my old modem (4MBit/sec). [WIN!]
  • But I wanted to set a password on the modem to reduce the chance of it getting hacked. I couldn’t find the IP address to get access to the Control Panel anywhere! Spent 60 minutes searching online before I finally found it on page 135 of the manual for the modem on the official website [FAIL!]
  • I was pretty annoyed and thought I better complain. I decided to try Telecom NZ’s Twitter account @TelecomNZ (which had auto-followed me when I mentioned the word “Telecom” in a tweet yesterday).
  • Jennie replied to my tweet within 4 minutes. I told her a few more details in another tweet and she promised to look into it [WIN!]
  • I just wanted to save the next person some trouble, but even just having my complaint acknowledged is huge. [WIN!]

So far so good.

Have you had a pleasant experience with Telecom since the rebrand?

I’d like to hear it. Share your story below.

20 Replies to “Has Telecom New Zealand Finally Got Their Shit Together? Perhaps So.”

  1. My last experience was aggravating. Interesting that the modem’s IP address is on the manual for the modem on the website, my poor boyfriend spent about half an hour – an hour looking it before giving up.

  2. Yeah, I can’t say I’ve been hugely impressed with them; just the same old stuff they’ve pulled for years. Getting my phone switched over from CDMA to XT was a mission – in store they tell me they can’t do it anymore even though their website clearly states that they can. On their website it doesn’t give any options that seem logical (I wanted to SWAP my XT and CDMA numbers and keep both active – note that I wasn’t actually able to accomplish this).

    The whole yahoo e-mail thing is just absurd, yahoo’s helpdesk is awful, and Telecom’s helpdesk can’t do anything about the yahoo side of things. Fail.

    Having said that, it’s good to see that they are at least making an effort where a number of other companies are not. To be frank, they have always been better than Vodafone 😉

  3. I was one of the 150,000 or so customers who had their broadband slowed to dialup speed recently and at the time left a bitter taste in my mouth because of the rotten service I received when I tried to sort it out – i felt that the people I spoke to were obnoxious, rude & really didn’t care about me as a customer.

    I was tempted to go onto their make a wish site (on the back of their rebrand) and my wish would be that their staff cared more for their customers.

    I believe Telecom would benefit from changing their customer philosophy – it might be something like “We want our customers to be happy”. That could then become the foundation stone to build positive customer interactions.

    Having said that, I was impressed to receive an apology letter a few days later from Telecom, and then another one recently advising of a refund.

    Now I just have to work out how to check my broadband usage & also how to get my free Flickr account – maybe I should block out half a day!

  4. I’ve had only one good experience with Telecom over the last five years – which I put down to defeating the automated support system (go through the Credit Department) to get to someone REALLY nice and helpful in New Zealand. Every other time I have called and gotten through to their offshore desk, it’s been literally impossible to do anything.

  5. Thank you Joanne, Keith, Tony, Jevon for your comments so far.

    That’s enough of the bad news stories thank you.

    I’d like to hear about good experiences SINCE the re-branding. Do you have one to share?

  6. Hi Sheldon.

    I too am on the ‘BIG TIME’ plan, and while it was lovely for the first 2 weeks (fast speeds, no lag in gaming, all could do anything online at any one time and not be affected by one another). I thought I was in heaven. By far the best connection I’ve ever had! (Having also just left Xnet).

    Weeks went by and I slowly began to suffer from lag here n there on PlayStation, more it seemed as time progressed. I cursed at a flatmate for downloading too much! Thinking their torrents were what was slowing down my gaming performance.

    The following week (now), and I’m trying to update my ubuntu system, at 9kB/s! I can’t believe how sluggish it’s become.
    It’s not just here though, the last few days my XP partition has been suffering tremendously, it struggles to load webpages.
    Not only me myself, my room mate uses Mac OS Leopard 10.5, and she can’t seem to get anything done either.

    Because this problem affects not just my Windows based system, but also my Linux and room mates Mac, I have no choice but to blame telecom for this issue. I myself cannot call them as the connection does not belong to me, which is slightly upsetting. I understand if I call them without having permissions on the account they will pretty tell me goodbye.

    I am wondering if anyone else is having the same problem as me, or has had this or a similar problem and managed to sort it out?

    I’m sorry, Sheldon, to have to ruin your gloat about Telecom’s new service. I disagree with you, strongly, and feel they are no better than they ever were!


  7. You couldn’t figure out the IP address for the Modem and you blamed Telecom for that?
    Did you think to do an IP config in the command prompt?
    Don’t take this the wrong way but I think it should be all win for Telecom since it’s hardly their fault that you didn’t know how to find the IP address for the Modem.

  8. my thoughts on teleuseless

    I have had enough of big company crap especially with this mob of complete morons. I have been refereed not once but twice to Dunn and Bradstreet for a billing issue with no justification from this mob of losers. A comment was made in regards to their customer service and I am wondering what service rude obnoxious non caring etc etc. What can I say telecom are the worst company to deal with and thankfully I have nothing to do with them anymore. They know that they don’t need me as a customer but what they don’t realize is that I will talk to 10 people about this issue and as we know the power of talking will hopefully kill off this company’s attitude to it’s customers, although with the communist/socialist government we have in New Zealand they will probably bail them out of trouble which means that I will as a long suffering taxpayer will be in effect be bailing them out. WHAT A CROCK I HATE TELECOM AND WISH THEY WOULD JUST FALL OVER AND DISAPPEAR.

      1. Well Sheldon
        You could go to slingshot, Vodaphone etc. What I am saying is true and all you people out there probably wish it. What I am saying is that they are just treating us with disdain and I wish to let people know this (as if they didn’t already) I will add and don’t think that I am giving Telecom a wink because I am not but I rang them yesterday and guess what I actully got a lovely person on the other end and even bigger news that particular person stated that Telecom was neglectful in their job and realized that I had indeed organized a payment plan with them that finishes on the 20th July and they were in error so they actually took the bad debt of Baycorp straight away Yaaaah for them. Although I am glad about that it still does not excuse their behavior. Fall over Telecom and hurry up.

        1. Could we really go to Slingshot or Vodafone if Telecom was out of the picture? Isn’t Telecom both wholesale (they own ALL the copper and fibre-optic wires) and retail? It would put us back in the dark ages would it not?

  9. regardless of what they publish or say, the reality of working inside telecom is like a war zone where there is intense bullying not seriously addressed and the environment is very hazadous, psychologically and mentally damaging. hypocrisy? they host these rubbish websites like no bully or have a 0.5 feet thick corporate policy manual that nobody truely cares or enforces. career? future? nobody can make it to their stated retirement age of 65 in the contract. they are all done in bad faith and counting you to be silenced.

  10. I have been on XT from when it first came out, even though there were alot of problems with it at the beginning i stuck with it for the sake of giving my money to a kiwi company afterall its the easiest thing we can do for our economy but since i have had many problems most recently 2 days ago i had topped up $100 thinking that would pay my broadband and txt but i was overcharged $1.50 which ended leaving me with 6 cents on my 59th txt my txt plans goes from the 9th to the 8th so it overlaps, talking to an indian lady to resolve it was extremely hard i explained the situation 3 times and twice she told me there was nothing wrong took about 45minutes and im in a rural area so i cant just walk to a shop and get a top up. and just tonight the internet died just as i was bidding on trade me for maybe 9 hours and since i couldnt bid i lost and now i have to pay alot more it was a good deal i missed out on and after being on hold for 30 mins an indian lady told me they hope to have it back on sometime tonight and when i mentioned the 2 days earlier and that for what i pay the service is terrible she hung up on me (the option to place feedback on the call wasnt there either) after month after month of crap im finally moving to vodafone $100-$200 a month for service i would expect in ethiopia just isnt worth it they cant even pay a group of kiwis minimum wage so i can actually understand when i call

  11. Telecom are by far the worst company in NZ. No people don’t like to beat up Big companies – they like to Beat up Shit companies. Telecom is a Shit Company.

    They will rip you to pieces charge like a wounded Bull, give you some pimple faced idiot to talk to on the phone and resolve nothing!

    Complete useless idiots!!!!!!

  12. I wanted a website so I used Telecom’s Easy site and they have templates. I then wanted to add a paypal button on, well, what a mission, their template i used doesn’t take the generated code for me to cut and paste from Paypal. I wanted a refund but no, they said they provide the platform for me to do a website, have email, etc and that they say it can be done and that I should spend hours trying all their other templates. Like I have time and don’t have the money to hire a website developer. I have lost money cos people go onto my website and they can’t pay easily through paypal so they go to someone else.

  13. Furthermore, I can get my domain name done and dusted for $10 and a website with paypal capability cheaper than their $39 charge per month. wtf.

  14. Also, I have to have a T stick for where I live cos I can’t get a better and more value packed internet connection which i need for business and studies. It’s costing me more money than I earn, and they say they’ll put me onto broadband which will be better but then last time that happened, they put it on, and then it wasn’t available so they charged me connection fees for a service they could only provide for a month.. wtf with that?

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