World Class Service – Cyprus

Let me share a tale of World Class service in Cyprus Vs. disgraceful service from a major UK bank.

Two days ago, I upgraded by broadband speed with Cytanet, the Cyprus telcoms. provider, in order to receive HD TV over the web.

Last night, at about 10.30 PM, I got fed up with the buffering. I called Cyta and with two automated questions was immediately through to an English speaking technician. Within five minutes, this lady steered me through a test of my download speed. She agreed that I had a problem and raised a call ticket for level two support. She took my mobile number and promised that somebody would call me back in the day shift.

At 9.00 AM next morning, another charming lady, from Cyta level 2 support, called and confirmed that I had a technical issue. She escalated the issue to level 3 support and promised that an engineer would visit within four days.

Two hours later, an engineer phoned and asked for directions to my home. I hurried home and there were three engineers waiting for me. It took about a half an hour but they would only leave when I confirmed that my broadband download speed exceeded my subscription level. I shook their hands thanked them and wished them a merry Xmas.

In contrast, yesterday I phoned my UK bank with a query. After various automated messages, conversations with three people, including the senior manager on duty, I concluded that they had not helped me. I received £50 compensation for my inconvenience (this was described as the agreed rate for my international phone call). The last time that I called the same bank, I received £75. Based upon my experience, major UK banks frequently demonstrate broken business processes and excessive downsizing, whereby it is impossible to speak to anybody who can take a decision.

My conclusions are simple. Let’s thank Cyta for World Class service and question why the UK banks are not broken up.

Let me express this as an open question:

Do you think that customer service in the UK utilities would be increased with greater competition?


Olympic security highlights seven weaknesses in UK industry policy

Royal Standard of the United Kingdom

Royal Standard of the United Kingdom (Photo credit: lydia_shiningbrightly)

The Telegraph newspaper picks up a topical story in the UK media. It’s well worth a read. Check it out!

Olympic security: The firm at centre of the shambles ‘has seen fee rise by £53m’ – Telegraph.

However for me, it highlights a number of powerful weaknesses in  UK industry policy:

Firstly, despite recent interventions of the Cabinet Office, the UK Public Sector‘s procurement policies are largely bureaucratic and ineffective, compared to Best Practice in the Private Sector.

Secondly, the cited cost escalations are down to programme management, another area where practice is highly prescribed by the Cabinet Office, where too much emphasis is placed on simplistic mechanical measures, like Prince 2, rather than emerging Best Practice in Programme and Project Management.

Thirdly it highlights the ineffectiveness of the Competition Commission (CC) which replaced the Monopolies and Mergers Commission:

The CC replaced the Monopolies and Mergers Commission in 1999, following the commencement of the Competition Act 1998. The Enterprise Act introduced a new regime for the assessment of mergers and markets in the UK. The CC’s role in such cases is now clearly focused on identifying and remedying competition issues, replacing a wider public interest test in the previous regime. It also continues to act as an appellate body in relation to regulatory—particularly price control—decisions taken by economic regulators.

Fourthly, the Competition Commission, plus sister authorities Office of Fair Trading (OFT) and Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT), together with its regulators lack both teeth, and thanks to the Government’s austerity drive, resoures. Look at the regulators’  names and consider the pathetic state of their industries:

Fifthly, UK industry policy was handed over by the last Labour Government to the European Commission – Directorate for Competition, so effectively UK competition policy, rules and regulation are governed by Brussels.

Sixthly, we have a lame Coalition Government that does not have the power to improve the UK’s pathetic ineffective industry policy nor to challenge the mandates coming from the EU’s overpaid bureaucrats in Brussels.

Seventhly, I am old enough to remember that when I studied industrial economics, we read some of the reports of the Monopolies and Mergers Commission – it had real powers in those times and there was real fear of its intervention – but, of course, that was 1972 and before Ted Heath took the UK into the EU!

Surely, the UK’s industry policy should be increasing competition and value-for-money, and paving the way for UK industry to grow, escaping the cancer of austerity?

What do you think?