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Yet More Regulation



dreamstime_xs_88584861It seems these days that the majority of our effort goes into complying with an ever-increasing pile of regulation. Having just recovered from the months of work that went into GDPR we have two more burdens to carry this month; Ofcom’s new requirements for handling Calling Line Identity (CLI) followed closely by their new rules about handling customer complaints.

It’s difficult to argue with the CLI changes; we all want to stop the misuse of telephony by unscrupulous and out-and-out criminals who spoof their call identities, so all I’m doing here really is sighing at yet another development resource being eaten up by regulation. But this one is a good one, so we can at least feel holy about it.

But the complaints changes are a different story. Apparently, a telephone company that I can’t name, has been behaving badly whilst handling customers who have a genuine complaint to make about their service. But instead of dealing with that one large company, they introduce a new pile of bureaucracy across the entire industry regardless of size.

So now we all have to keep a monthly log of all complaints – resolved or not, retrain all staff, keep a complaints code and keep it up to date and a pile of other procedural, interfering, nannying nonsense. The problem is confounded by trying to define what a complaint actually is. Is it someone asking us to fix a fault? Is it someone telling us that calls to Narnia are too expensive?

Up to this point we had a really simple way of resolving customer problems – we fixed them. Companies our size can and do do that. We don’t want customers to be unhappy about anything we do so if there’s a problem we just fix it. If there’s something we can’t just fix – I can’t think of many – there’s a dispute resolution process that finishes with an independent arbitration by an ombudsman. In 14 years of service it’s never been necessary for a customer to use this service, because, as I said, we just fix the customer’s problem.

Oh well, Ofcom knows best.

Ofcom’s CLI guidance
https://www.ofcom.org.uk/consultations-and-statements/category-2/guidelines-for-cli-facilities

Complaints Handling (from p36)
https://www.ofcom.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0021/112692/Consolidated-General-Conditions.pdf

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