Dealing with SaskTel: need of clarity

Dealing with SaskTel:
need of clarity

Prince Albert - Thursday - October 28, 2004 - by: Mario deSantis
  I just finished talking to a SaskTel employee, her name is Bart but she couldnít provide me with her last name as per corporationís policy. I wonder why in a supposed open society a SaskTelís employee cannot state her name to a confirmed customer.
  Anyhow, I called SaskTel to get some help understanding my latest October 22, 2004 bill which I can access, along with previous bills as well, through the Sasktel web site. This is a nice feature, there is no paper work, there is no delay in accessing the bill as it is issued, and the bill payment through the Internet makes life much easier.
  However, the user-friendly SaskTel is experiencing some communication problems between the executives, the staff who handle bill enquiries, and the inquiring customers who want to have clarifications on their itemized bills.
  For my billing month ending September 22 I incurred a total new bill of $114.87 and for the current billing month ending October 22 I incurred a total new bill of $264.04. Now, it is true that I changed some services since last month and that I incurred relevant long distance charges, nevertheless I wanted to have some clarifications from SaskTel. In particular, I wanted to know the way the billing charges are accounted for so that once and for all I could understand and be able to compare one itemized item for one month to the same itemized item for the next month.
  I donít necessarily dispute the correctness of the charges in my latest bill. Also, I must say that the SaskTel staff has always been very kind and prompt in responding to my inquiries at all times. However, talking to Bart, I came to realize that SaskTelís billing practices have been changing a few times this year. As I am concerned, the ongoing recurring changing adjustments (for special services and additional charges and credits...) donít provide the needed clarity for customers to understand their billing charges. This problem is certainly compounded when the same courteous Bart mentioned that the same SaskTel staff spend a lot of time in clarifying customersí inquiries. Further, we have SaskTel programmers who are kept busier with ongoing billing software changes.
  New technologies are really effective in alleviating people from the drudgery of unpleasant work but the application of such advances must never lose the perspective of maintaining clarity among the users of such technologies. If we donít have clarity in the applications of new technologies we may be turning our user-friendly environment into a fraud-friendly environment. Therefore, for the sake of being both user-friendly and clear, let us open up and know each other name when talking with SaskTel staff, and let us have consistent SaskTel billing practices for the benefit of us all, business, staff, and customers.

Mario deSantis



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