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Monday, November 20, 2006

Charles is Back

After a gap of 73 days, Charles Dunstone has made another posting on his blog. It would be very easy to be completely sarcastic about this gap, but I won’t – instead I think we should celebrate that a UK CEO sees fit to blog even when he is facing a tsunami of negative public opinion.

Charles is even playing fair and provides a link to the excellent Martin Lewis Money Saving website which provides a warts ‘n’ all review of the Carphone service in which the basic conclusion is that if you want something really cheap go for TalkTalk, if you need something reliable chose someone else.

If I was going to be picky, I would say that the evidence that Charles understands the meaning of quality customer service is limited. He is still persisting with the image that the key variable is how long it takes for someone to answer the phone, not that the problem is solved first time or even horror or horrors the ratio of calls to customers is declining because the base is becoming happy or worst of all the public customer satisfaction surveys are showing TalkTalk climbing the badboy list. I know he is not stupid and therefore I’m sure he has these metrics to hand. The only conclusion I can draw is that the statistics are not showing improvement and therefore are not ready for prime time disclosure.

I also notice that Charles writes a cautionary note about the LLU process when the copper pipe is transferred to Carphone electronics. He hints that all is not going smoothly, Openreach themselves are publishing statistics that show only 1 in 5 fully unbundled line transfers is right first time. Of course on Planet Carphone, if problems occur during the transfer process it is all the Openreach engineers fault. The tales of woe are growing on the bulletin boards and when Charles Dunstone mentioned that TalkTalk could be his personal Iraq – I think he may be closer to the truth than even his worst enemies would wish on him. I’m personally betting that a negotiated withdrawal will occur within three years.