Operationally inadequate? Call Centres unacceptable wait times.

Operationally inadequate? AIRNZ, Southern Cross, Vodafone, the major banks, power and communication companies?

Contrary to the mantra that competition is always good, the now constant practice of cutting corners in tendering for contracts has led in many cases to substandard results – and poor outcomes for the public.  At least as equal a deterioration in service to the public at large has been the push by major corporations to maximise profits by under-resourcing their customer service centres. New Zealanders are all now well and truly exposed to the tedium and time-wasting procedures involved in trying to call our corporate giants.

We are familiar with the outcome…that those wishing to call these corporations have to jump through the hoops, instructed to follow through a sequence of numbers, selecting those which take the caller to another sequence where further choices are delineated – and so on – possibly without encountering even one with any relation at all to the query which prompted the call.

The wait to hear back from an operator to gather the required information too often becomes not only unacceptably long – but basically insulting to customers. So is the repetitive sales pitch, relentlessly forced upon those waiting. The conclusion to which many New Zealanders have now come is that the waste of their valuable time – and the repetitive procedures they are required to undertake while holding a phone, waiting to get needed information –  are not only irritating: it has all become completely unacceptable.

Add on the unwanted, third-rate musical trash forced upon customers unable to choose to avoid this – song after song played on – a form of virtual mental torture to those who would never choose to voluntarily listen to these maddening impositions – and the time to challenge these substandard practices is now overdue.

What we are faced with is sheer incompetence on the part of these corporations in that they are not meeting the needs of their customers. It is either is an operational failure on their part to not take this into account – or a deliberate avoidance of their responsibility to answer to the public – and to provide a quality service.

Southern Cross,  for example, have a nerve suggesting customers contact them by phone, when one can wait for 20 minutes or longer before hanging up, as not only is time precious, but one is unable, during this time, to take or make other calls. When this process is repeated again throughout the day, with even longer wait times experienced  across the whole spectrum of telecommunication companies, it not only becomes a source of irritation, but one  of increasing stress  – which can be argued to have become a public health issue.

And when, as with other corporate excuses with which we are over-familiar, we hear the usual “due to unexpected caller demand… or “due to higher than usual call ratios…” we are not impressed. What it is all essentially due to is that same cost-cutting – cutting corners – the underemployment of needed staff to swiftly and efficiently answer calls.

Government departments, too, are equally culpable.

The problem, the same as in many areas and in other organisations in this country  lies with those in charge – with management – management in many cases substantially overvalued and substantially overpaid and –  not infrequently –  arguably incompetent.

This whole culture  needs to be increasingly challenged,  what equates to gross mismanagement – the  failure to employ and allocate more staff leading to the failure to provide an efficient service… epitomising a basic lack of respect for the public.

When individuals say they are no longer prepared to tolerate these substandard practices, things will change. The solution lies, as always, in our own hands – in not merely grumbling – but in challenging these substandard practices.

Combined efforts achieve great changes…

 

© Amy Brooke

The Harvey Weinstein syndrome –the MeToo movement

As with most popular movements, what starts from good intentions frequently spirals out of control – or beyond what its originator intended. Many men, for example, already experience not only sexual harassment, but also physical abuse at the hands of women. And Western men, especially white males, have already long been under attack by fanatical feminists, weathering unwarranted abuse simply because of their gender. Those of us with sons, brother, husbands, friends who are far from being predatory males have reason to be concerned about the excesses the MeToo movement is likely to lead to. One of these is the clamour for very young children to be given much more explicit sex education – although studies have shown that this is far from being in the best interests of vulnerable children. The removal of innocence, and the arousing of sexual curiosity among the young, can be emotionally not only distracting, but damaging. 

Moreover, many conservative women have also long themselves been at the mercy of the sisterhood. What is too often overlooked is that what have been called the feminazi are equally and as nastily antagonistic to their sisters…to family women, to pro-life women in particular.  Every pro-abortion rally brings out the angry faces chanting “a woman’s right to her own body” when it is demonstrably not her own body, but that of an entirely different little human being, that of her own son or daughter,  that so many desperate women are encouraged to dispose of. That the so-called sexual revolution did neither men nor women any real favours is overdue for debate. 

Arguably, it certainly assisted what we can call the Harvey Weinstein Syndrome. But has the entitlement too many much-feted or wealthy men feel they have to expect sexual favours from women persisted  – because it has been allowed to? After all, it takes two to tango…

The now conveniently indignant Hollywood female glitterati, late banding together as a sisterhood to condemn Weinstein and Hollywood powerbrokers, have long been arguably derelict in acquiescing to the casting couch syndrome. Well-known as the place where sexual favours were demanded by powerful film producers or directors, it was first reported in the 1930s. All Hollywood was aware of it:  some fine actresses opposed it, warning others. Ambitious women may well have been aware of the probable consequences of resisting – or of speaking out. The real issue is the fact that so many did not – with prominent stars such as Meryl Streep now defending themselves against accusations that they stayed silent.

 It is not so much whether we are now a sick society – but whether its illness is terminal. Who could deny it has become sex-obsessed? The now, too-late recognised long march through our institutions, advocated by the Italian communist Gramsci as the best chance of white-anting the West, has achieved much of what it aimed for. The shocking targeting, even, of school children, not only down to new entrants, but even at kindergarten level, has reached fruition in the Safe Schools programme. Advocating homosexuality, transgenderism, queerism, and all the special demands from the radicalised agenda-driven, it has adopted the now tattered cloak of liberalism to conceal its increasingly extreme onslaughts against rational thinking.

The attack on basic human biology, on nature, on DNA, can well be argued to be a delusional form of thinking , in which individuals claim they can choose what sex they want to be – and that anyone who wants this current faddism objectively debated – or who objects to children being propagandised by the rainbow coalitions – is homophobic. Using the usual tactics of bullying, of harassment, the blacklisting of businesses or of court attacks on those claiming a legitimate right to obey their conscience, its success is considerable. It takes a great deal of courage to confront bullies…especially when the attack on free debate is punitively classified as “hate speech”, and, appallingly enough, even open to prosecution.

Is all this, including the nonsense of gay  “marriage”,  symptomatic of a civilisation in decline? Who could have foreseen the rapid flowering of the obnoxious, spoilt brats of an over-privileged class of those young enough to know everything – now dubbed the snowflakes? Too intellectually or morally fragile to endure debate about the truth of issues, they have mounted an attack on those basic democratic freedoms for which so many in the generations preceding ours gave their lives. Moreover, they have flourished largely in those very institutions – our universities – which were once proud of their commitment to freedom of speech and thought. Disgracefully, university management has in places knuckled under to the radicalised demands of the bully boys and girls, repudiating these very essential values. Their complicity is  shameful, as is the silence of today’s protestors about the issues that really do need addressing.

Given our now far-reaching social media, for example, how many of us can claim ignorance of today’s totalitarian governments still oppressing, imprisoning,  torturing and executing their own people – especially those brave enough to fight for the values we have so obligingly discarded?  That the West, with too long a spoon, sups with some of these appalling régimes,  turning a blind eye  to the inhumane practices inflicted, in male-dominated traditions, within such countries – in particular the appalling bullying of women and young  girls by forced marriages  and genital mutilation –  is an issue  well overdue for addressing.  

Nevertheless, the majority of the powerful, much admired stars of the Hollywood long operating in a moral vacuum having a great deal to do with the corruption of the West, have never lent their influence to speak for the oppressed women of Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern countries. There,  girls as young as eleven years can be forced into marriage with middle-aged, or old men,  and males, encouraged by the fanatical religious, sexually obsessed Mutawas, all-powerful clerical police, can put to death their wives and daughters with no accountability…whether by officially drowning them, bound and gagged, in a family swimming pool or stoning  them to death. Such brave men, to first shackle these women, often the victims of male jealousy, such as their beauty, lest they escape…

All these appalling practices of today’s Arab world, given in the testimony of brave Arab women, such as in the Saudi Princess Sultana’s  “Princess”  first-hand account, have been highlighted in American writer Jean Sassoon’s world-wide best-seller.  And yet the constantly interviewed, glamorous Hollywood women, so conveniently now mounting their decades-late attack on the corrupt Hollywood culture, have failed to show any interest in the plight of so many women other than their own.

A survey of American students some time back revealed that the kind of films they preferred watching were those that did not embarrass them when others were present. However, with Hollywood’s influence now all-pervasive, warnings of graphic sex and violence are omnipresent. Topless actresses, and graphic depictions of sexual intercourse have progressed to shows like the Naked Attraction, where naked bodies of men in pods with sliding panels are gradually revealed from their genital areas upwards, until they are fully viewable – as, eventually, is the equally naked female choosing her preferred body – dismissing one male because of his “ginger pubes”. 

It’s legitimate to ask whether things can get much worse. Possibly yes, if Western society is determined to self-destruct through the fanaticism of a few, or the silence of so many.  

The great English columnist Bernard Levin warned us, that “the atrophy of moral judgment is the characteristic disease of our times – the inability to see evil, and the willingness to condone it “.  Whether or not we are eventually judged by our actions and inactions, how many of us would fail to respect the Australian woman who said simply that she “wanted to tell my grandchildren that I did try to help.” 

 

 

© Amy Brooke, Convener. See my book “100 Days – Claiming Back New Zealand …what has gone wrong, and how we can control our politicians.” Available through www.amybrooke.co.nz, Kindle, or HATM Publishers.

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