Leading Article: Still hanging on the telephone

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The Independent Online
Which company is this? Ring, ring. Ring, ring. Silence. Mumble. Any of our utilities, according to a survey of how British Gas, the electricity and water companies answer their phones.

Getting through is difficult, getting a prompt and convincing response even harder. Citizen's chartery has failed. The monopolists have not made customers a priority. For years textbooks have said that public service begins at the front desk, or with our first call. More staff to handle calls are needed along with training in minimal politeness. Until the utilities improve the basics, they deserve a hammering from regulators and headline writers alike.