Best way to have your queries addressed - chat vs phone vs social

Hi all - I have had the need to query a few things on my accounts (telco, energy etc) recently. In my experience, I’ve found using Live Chat is the best way to get these queries addressed but curious to know if anyone else has had better experience using another medium. Phone calls don’t seem the best and I have had varied results with FB/Twitter. I’d be interested in other people’s experiences.

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I prefer email as a way of making a query, lodging a complaint etc. The reasons for this are several:

  1. that I don’t have to struggle to understand someone from a distant call centre who speaks English as a second language.
  2. When I get an email reply I have a record of the answer to my problem.

Just as an example, I have a problem with an Optus pre-paid phone account. When I go to renew it I get a voice recording, “Maximum credit has been reached.” It won’t accept a recharge. Twice now I have had to find where to call (since there doesn’t appear to be an email address), I get the overseas call centre and have to explain what is happening and what happened last time and after 30 minutes or so of discussion and checking my phone is recharged. I presume this will happen every time from now on. If I had an email address I would be able to send them a copy of what happened last time and not waste 30 minutes of my time explaining it afresh.

In terms of getting a company’s interest in your complaint then I think social media/Internet is probably best. There is a site called ProductReview where consumers put their comments regarding thousands of different products and services. I had problems with a washing machine (just out of warranty) and left a disparaging comment about it only to find that next morning there was a comment from the distributor asking me to call them. I received the cost of the parts for the repair for free. When I did a little searching through a number of other complaints for many different products I often noted a very quick response from the makers or sellers to complaints. Obviously social media turns an upset consumer from a lone voice in the wilderness to a loud voice with a large audience.


I’m a big fan of live chat because you can explain your problem quickly and have it resolved in real time.

Email is a struggle because it might be days between responses (and I say that as someone who has sat on both sides of the email customer service fence in my time!).

I agree with @johnkerr that social media does sometimes get the message across more quickly because it’s public - but I find companies often was to push the conversations to email so if it all goes south its not all over the internet (but I think that’s a smart move, honestly).

Based on that - I’m a fan of live chat all the way! There are a few telcos who nail the live chat, especially on mobile devices to get a problem solved in literally a minute or two. I think I had one problem solved in 47 seconds. Love livechat. :heart_eyes:

I hear there’s a huge boom in the chatbot industry on Facebook (especially for customer support) - but I’ve not actually experienced it yet. I’d be curious to see if that changes my perspective in a few years! :wink:

For me, it depends on a few factors.

If it requires a detailed explanation or a record of what I sent, I use email. If I haven’t got much time, typing an email is quickest too.

For simple problems, Chat has been great and frequently give the quickest turnaround. In addition, it avoids the problem of having to to understand a different accent (for them as well as me).

Calling an overseas call centre is my last resort. To minimise that, I support companies that employ Australian based customer service (eg. Bankwest, Jeenee mobile)

There are many of us that do not use social media as we already have enough friends, so we require access to traditional methods like phone.

Hi. :smiley:

I use live chat wherever I can. I try not to settle anything via telephone as there is no written record of it, and whilst most companies now tend to record conversations, I like a black and white copy of my own. Most chat functions offer a save function, and if they don’t I copy and paste it into word. This way, I have a complete record of to whom I spoke to and when as well as the full conversation. Where no chat function is available, I tend to use snail mail. I find that if I send an email, I am not taken seriously and they are often generic replies.

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I prefer email. I like having a written record for when I need to escalate an issue through Fair Trading, an ombudsman office, or any other escalation pathway. Frequently the 3rd party escalation is fantastic as they explain the (frequently large) gap between the legislation requirements and company (lack of) implementation. Unfortunately in Aus, it is important for all individuals to know the legislation and how to enforce it.

I tend to use live chat if they have it, more so because it seems to take forever to get to speak to someone on the phone and who has the time to spend 20+ minutes on a phone queue, take iiNet for example they are hopeless and even though they have now implemented a call return system if you don’t answer when they ring you lose your place and start again. St George bank took me 15 minutes before I spoke to someone and another 10 to resolve their error - their error I had to ring to get corrected. Unfortunately though it seems in most instances you need to speak to someone to get something changed/rectified. I only use social to voice my please or displeasure once it reaches the extremes from the centre line of expected service response. Email rarely gets a resolution, but allows you to unleash your displeasure if you can actually get an email address (Apple don’t list one anywhere).