Thursday, 7 August 2014

Dial B for Bonus

As a recent survey of mobile phone providers puts JT at the bottom, it is perhaps a good time to look back at the bonus given to the JT Managing Director, and the service in general.

“JT head 'deserved his £118,000 bonus'. A six-figure bonus handed to the boss of publicly owned JT was fair, given the work that he has done, according to the Treasury Minister. Following a question from St John Constable Phil Rondel, Senator Ozouf praised the work Mr Millar was doing and said that the ‘framework’ for the chief executive’s bonus was directly linked to financial results.”

“Earlier this month, JT posted pre-tax profits of more than £33m, prompting Mr Millar to declare that the JT group had had its best ever year.” (JEP)

At least this is reasonably transparent. Pay is linked to profits. But do profits have anything to do with consumer satisfaction? The link seems to be to the return to the shareholder, not to do with how much customers appreciate the good service they are getting. As the BBC news reported:

“More than 50% of customers of telecom company JT said they were not satisfied with the home phone service they receive, a survey has found. The survey was commissioned by the Channel Islands Competition Regulatory Authorities (CICRA).” (BBC News)

And I’ve just received a bill apologising (at least there is that) for the delay but citing problems with the “new” billing system. Constable Phil Rondel has the same problem; it seems widespread:

“My own account, dated 27th January, we are still being told that there are delays on invoice billing for the last couple of months. It is still ongoing so when are we going to see the bills coming out on time, given that this is a States 100 per cent owned company, that we get our money in on time, we are running weeks behind? ”

And here was a posting on Facebook about Gigabit Jersey:

“JT you are useless. After harassing the company for 3 months we finally get the fibre team round to install. The guys arrive, almost immediately say "I don't think we'll be able to get this done today." JT have not sent the surveyors to check that the line can actually get to the house, not a major issue the guys say we'll just try it anyway.”

“However the line goes to the garage then overhead to the house, this is shown on the JT plan. These guys are not the overhead team so can't do it (which JT knew before they sent them) and the duct is blocked so they have to get Brenwall to dig up the road which could take 9 weeks. Then we have to book another appointment.”

Constable Philip Rondel asked Senator Philip Ozouf:

“Can he please explain the time lag in dealing with complaints because I have got papers here that prove, as far back as 1st January this year, a telephone complaint about a broadband charge where there is no broadband on this particular telephone. There was a returned call on 8th January stating that the charge would be removed from the billing and as of last week the billing is still being charged.”

The reply from the Senator noted that there were problems:

“The data that we reviewed last night showed that improvements are now rapidly being made and complaints which are elevated to the Chief Executive himself to personally deal with are now falling rapidly in terms of their number. If there is a particular constituent I will personally pass that on to the Chief Executive who will respond to the issue.”

Clearly the way to get your complaints dealt with is to get a States member to get Senator Ozouf to bring it to the Chief Executive’s door!! The fact that this has not happened lower down the scale, and the fact that it has been going on for months does illustrate, however, that the level of oversight the Chief Executive brings to the table is limited.

What, in fact, does cause a complaint to be “elevated to the Chief Executive himself to personally deal with”, and how many does he deal with. This information was not forthcoming.

Perhaps his pay should be linked to consumer satisfaction rather than company profitability? After all, with a monopoly position on landlines, Jersey Telecoms has something of a captive market with consumers. The incentive may not be as great as when Sure also come onto the market, and people can switch operator.

The real question is: is Jersey Telecoms putting customer needs at the heart of the business, or is it putting profitability as its main measure of performance, and the basis for the Chief Executive’s pay award?

Richard Denny, of Denny’s Training, comments that:

“It is surely in all our best interests, that we allow our customers to act as a barometer in our decision making process, whether that be the products and services we provide, the price points for our goods or the amounts of money we pay our top executives.”

I am at a loss to understand how a bonus of 118,000 to the Chief Executive, in the current global economic climate could ever ensure a sustainable relationship with customers.


1 comment:

James said...

There is a well-established set of process guidelines for handling IT fault reporting and managing changes - it's called the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL for short). ITIL was drawn up the better part of two decades ago by the UK Government, and it has since become an industry standard.

One key to ITIL is that all calls are recorded and referenced, so that any member of the team can see what the issue is, what has been done to resolve it, and how long the call has been open (so even relatively trivial faults have a deadline for being fixed, and the database shouts at you if they aren't and they break the deadline).

My experience with JT is that they have not yet got to grips with ITIL (although this may in part be because Jersey people are notoriously bad at proper process). But ad hoc solutions don't work in the modern age.

Customer satisfaction is one way of measuring success, but it is very subjective (some people never complain, some always do). But measuring the Chief Exec against whether JT reaches a given maturity level against ITIL processes could be objectively measured - and the result would most certainly be a better service to customers.