Culture shock in the Paris of the East

China Telecom has it’s own unique methodology to govern customer interactions, based on the foundational Chinese culture principle of always taking everything to the next level.

We have 200 Mbps cable internet coming into the building. To put this into context, the illustrious Prime Minister of Australia, Malcom Turnbull, when in charge of the future looking NBN project was attempting to upgrade Australia’s internet service to 100 Mbps and this was largely viewed as a significantly good move and sufficient for growing business needs. More or less. So the cable here is good and big and fast. Yay China.

But after our home internet connection took place, something wasn’t working correctly. The speed test was always slow, the internet dropped out and something wasn’t right. I knew it. So I called China Telecom and they organised a technician to come out and see what was going on.

That call was to the first of the nine technicians that came out to fiddle around with the cabling, show me a speed test and tell me that the internet was not only working correctly, it was nothing short of earth shatteringly brilliant in speed and consistency of connection. The first couple of technicians mollified me with their confident attitude and dramatic unveil of a mobile screen with perfect speed test graphics. During the visit of the third technician, I did my own speed test on my phone concurrently with their speed test, and mine was always woeful and no different to how the internet usually was.  Slow. Underperforming. Broken. The sparring of speed tests went on from technicians three through to nine.

So I called the nonplussed landlord and invited him over to discuss the internet situation and seek assistance. He came.  I spoke eloquently, explaining all the steps that had been taken to address the issue on my own, my modest but correct understanding of routers and showed him my mastery of the speed test. An impressive monologue to say the least.

He looked bored.

He then proceeded to explain to me how things work in China. He stated that I was simply not yelling enough. But I have yelled, I protested. I laid down the law, threatened not to pay the bill and made it clear the service was substandard. I have given those pesky technicians a piece of my mind. No one has every accused me of being a pushover. Roar!

He yawned.

He told me that I was yelling enough to get the technician to show me a fake speed test and listen to my mewling.

You need to yell, he says.  Yell like a Chinese. Threaten the guy with death. Threaten his family. Make him think you will end him if he doesn’t fix your internet. Then and only then will they take you seriously enough to fix the problem. And then he left.

So I took his advice.  I yelled at technician number 10.  I went to town with the threats. No regard for proportinate response logistics. Just full junk-yard-dog in your face and with gusto. I would have been reported for verbal assault in Australia. Most of what I said is not entirely anatomically possible and probably not even legal.

Technician number 10 fixed the internet.

And that was because, as the third monkey says, we speak no evil.

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