The lost art of communication - Sarah Nicholson
I’ve got my grumpy head on this month as I lament the lost art of communicating. Or rather the fact that with so many different methods of communication available it is so often impossible to speak to a real person and resolve a simple issue.
|great image from an article about bad communication!
Let’s rewind, my story started last week when I made an offer to drive a friend to a seaside town, over an hour away so she could visit her son.
The car park we found uses an app to make payments, no coins or simple tap of a card here, that would be far too easy. I downloaded the app successfully but we figured out we would take a proper look on our way out when we knew how long in hours and minutes we had actually stayed.
After all there was no indication when the transaction had
to happen. In fact, the signage was extremely vague with no step by step guide.
Before we left I entered all the details of our stay and tried
to link the car park app to my banking app to process and complete the payment and
this is the point where everything failed.
We spoke to another man on the scene, who told us we should
have paid on entry but he added that many people struggled with this system.
I tried four or five times without success.
“There must be another way to pay.” My friend said as she rang
the phone number listed on the board.
It told her to download the app! NOT VERY HELPFUL!
After half an hour we left without paying but it still weighs
heavily on my mind, probably because my son got a parking fine last week which
has escalated due to him NOT receiving the original letters.
Remember the good old days when post arrived on time and a 1st
class letter was guaranteed delivery next day? Now that kind of service seems obsolete, unless you have ordered a parcel from a well-known internet
merchant and then anything is possible.
The following day I reviewed all other methods of
communication open to me as I looked up the relevant council details online.
I tried the main switchboard “Please keep this line clear for
those with no internet access.” I hung on anyway, you often get to speak to a
REAL person if you do but as a non-resident the options were not applicable, it
was more to do with council tax and rubbish collections. If you made no choice,
you were unceremoniously cut off! HOW RUDE!
I searched online, there was a comprehensive A-Z list of
topics. I found parking and although it mostly dealt with parking permits for
residents and abandoned cars there was an email option.
Excellent, as a writer I have a way with words I could
easily bash out a missive, offering to pay and asking how this could be facilitated.
Sadly, the email bounced back undelivered. I removed the
attachment I’d added, a photo of the defunct ticket machine with app details
and location code, perhaps it wouldn’t accept attachments. The email still
With phones lines unanswered, a website offering no solution
and a letter box closed to electronic mail, what other method of communication
were open to me as a non-resident, day-tripper?
Should I send a carrier pigeon? Smoke signals perhaps? My
thoughts were getting more and more absurd. Of course, if I lived nearer in the
first place I could turn up at the council building and perform an interpretive
dance to express my woes as I hand over the £6 parking charge.
I worry the figure will end up doubled with a zero added.
Instead I turned to Facebook – after all no one likes a bad
I found the council and saw the messenger button.
Once more I detailed my dilemma and hit send.
After about an hour there was a response from “Sam”, very apologetic,
he gave me the number for the parking department. I tried it, realised I’d
tried that number before and there were no helpful options, no real person to
speak to. I sent “Sam” another message, he has not replied – I suspect he is a
BOT not a real BOY!
It did offer me an address to write to. I intend to print out
my original email, perhaps add in this blog post for good measure.
Only my printer is out of ink, everything is sent to try me
it seems, but, if I order more ink now it will be here tomorrow, when I print
out the letter it may take a couple of days to arrive, maybe a week to reach the
relevant person in the right department.
When can I expect this matter to be resolved? Who knows.
A day out at the seaside never used to be so complicated,
but at least I’ve vented my frustration now and it gave me something to write
about this month!
|oh I wish!