Red Tape……

10 Jul

Unless you’ve been living on another planet you cannot failed to have noticed the amount of ‘virtual’ red tape you encounter when trying to deal with any government department.  You know the feeling; “press 1 for this, press 2 for that”, which inevitably leads to a new menu of “If your enquiry is regarding to…. Press 1”, and on it goes.  All well & good if your enquiry meets the criteria of the options you have been offered, if not, you’re stalled at the first hurdle……

If however, your enquiry doesn’t fall within the remit of the multiple choice options you are given, you don’t know what to do……

I should point out at this stage that most of the public offices to who your query is directed more often than not have those handy 0845 type numbers which are charged at a higher rate than the cost of a local call……

When you finally reach the department who can ‘help’ with your enquiry, you are, more often than not placed in a queue with some soothing musaz to enhance the experience of being kept waiting, interspersed with an announcement informing you that “Your call is important to us and we will try to answer it as soon as possible.  However, we are experiencing a particularly high demand at present, please don’t hang up, your call is important to us & we’ll be with you shortly”……

By this time, like me, you’ll be pulling your hair out when finally a human being answers your call.  Invariably, you be told you’ve called the ‘wrong’ number, despite it being the number quite clearly displayed on your paperwork, given a new number & the process begins all over again……

Getting any sense from the individual with whom you have just spoken is a near impossibility but there are steps which you can take to further your query……

Here is a step by step guide to assist you in you endeavour:

  • Time the length of time you have been kept waiting.
  • Get the person’s name and the office/department they work in.
  • If they can’t resolve your query, ask for their manager/team leader’s name.
  • Request that that person call you and don’t take no for an answer.
  • Get a direct geographical telephone number for them i.e.; not an 0845, 0870 or similar number.
  • Ask when you can expect a call from the manager.

As an example the Department for Work & Pensions have a Customer Charter.  In the charter it states “if you are concerned about the cost of the call we will call you back”.  It also states that if you make a formal complaint you will be given a direct contact name & telephone number for any future communications.  Most organisations operate a similar system so be sure to ask for a copy of the Customer Charter……

I appreciate the frustration that you can encounter when dealing with public bodies but if you know & exercise your rights you’d be surprised just how quickly you can get results….

I hope this information has been of some use in resolving your issues……

A Dripping Tap……..


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