The ACS (Australian Computer Society) has weighed into the debate about Hutchison Telecommunications' controversial 3 mobile phone service, revealing that only 11 per cent of its members believe the 3 network offers a reasonable level of service.
In an online survey of ACS members, 89 per cent of respondents called for Hutchison to be more open about its service issues rather than continuing to make blanket denials.
ACS President-elect, Edward Mandla, initiated the survey this week after feedback on the 3 network from members while he was presenting on the issue of raising the standing of the ICT profession. Members complained that the service had been plagued by poor coverage, constant drop-outs, sub-standard customer service and connection problems.
Eighty-one per cent of the ACS members surveyed said that Hutchison should allow unhappy 3 customers to break their contracts with no penalty applying.
"As the professional society for those working in the ICT sector, the ACS is enormously concerned to see any vendor failing to back up its products and services with satisfactory customer service," said current ACS National President, Richard Hogg.
"After all the hype we saw in the 1990s, the community is already highly sceptical about the reliability and performance of technology products and services and, indeed, companies. The last thing we need is more unfulfilled promises since it gives the whole industry a bad name. This is good business sense and applies to all vendors in the sector."
While commending Hutchison for establishing the 3 network in record time and acknowledging the challenges of introducing such a new service, President-elect, Edward Mandla said the ACS would like to see Hutchison adopt a more transparent approach to its communications with customers and work to resolve the performance issues.
"As a public company, Hutchison has a duty to the community to be honest about its problems. We have heard from many 3 customers who are so disappointed with the quality and coverage of the network and are not prepared to invest more time with Hutchison's customer service. A number have had to purchase a second phone from an alternate carrier.
"People today rely on mobile phones to help them in emergencies, win business transactions, even to save lives. Having to constantly ring back your client from a dropout is embarrassing for any business person.
"Hutchison ought to consider that one of the most powerful marketing techniques is publicly admitting it has problems, and back that up with appropriate levels of service," Mr Mandla said.
The first in a series of spot surveys to be conducted with ACS members on a wide range of topical issues, the 3 survey canvassed 6,500 members in NSW and Victoria, attracting 396 responses within 24 hours.
This media release is available on the ACS Web site at http://www.acs.org.au/news/121203.htm
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