Customer Service In Ireland and Consumer Protection

Jarvis cites Craig Newmark and his attitude to customer care. Craig owns Craigslist who Ebay have invested in, yet he sees his main job as customer support and has left another guy be CEO of the company. This is a wonderfully progressive attitude and communication with the end users who at the end of the day pay your wages is such a transparent way of doing business.

Customer care in Ireland is very very patchy and consumer protection is a joke. Right now we have the Consumers Association which makes its money from selling its magazine and really has no input into the telecommunications market. It rarely if ever replies to ComReg consultations, yet they were given a position on the ComReg “Consumer Panel”. They have no teeth and they are without even a bark when it comes to telecoms.

Next we have the ODCA which is more into helping the consumer on things like pub prices during the Galway races. They have powers to fine but again they lack the teeth.

For Telecoms consumer issues we have ComReg, who as far as I can tell has never fined or charged a telco after they fucked over a customer. They do investigate consumer issues after the consumer hs first exhausted every avenue of negotiation with the telco. ComReg are more geared for dealing with telcos than with consumers.

So, will there be any hope with the new Consumer Agency the Government is putting together? The fact that it appears to be populated by political appointees such as “beauty technicians” really makes me think that while the Agency will have teeth, they will become blunted from too many expensive lunches and formal dinner parties.

So, who’s left? Ah yes, IrelandOffline, but we’re not representing people with any kind of Telecoms issues. We are looking after the broadband and Internet access area only though. So, what’s needed? TelcoWatch – a consumer group covering the whole telco area or maybe Telcowatch could just be an umbrella where various consumer groups that represent various telco issues could gather together under. You could have a mobile consumer group, a landline consumer group, a VOIP consumer group etc.

Do you know what would help though? If more companies were willing to directly communicate with customers. Bill Murphy from BT Ireland made himself into a legend of sorts when he answered all emails that were sent to him by consumers and customers. Sometimes you could email Bill at midnight and he’d reply within 5 mionutes.

His boss, the BT CEO Ben Verwaayen is the same. He too is happy for his email address to be posted on various websites and said in a BBC World interview that he gets a few hundred emails a day from customers and answers as many as he can.

Know of any other Irish CEOs to do this, know of any of them talking to their customers via blogs?

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