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Big Telcos Ignore Customers’ Needs

Posted by Andrew at 10:34 PM on August 29, 2011

Here in the UK, the big telco is British Telecommunications Ltd., otherwise known as BT. Every few years, it produces a physical telephone directory (“White Pages” for our North American cousins). Each house gets a free copy for the local area.

When the directory arrives on my doorstep it goes straight in the (recycling) bin.

It’s not because paper directories are an anachronism in the Internet era, it’s because despite living in a village less than 8 miles from the capital city of Northern Ireland, Belfast, BT thinks I would be better served by being in the South Eastern area. It’s a strange decision because my postal address says Belfast and the nearest South Eastern area town is actually further away by about a mile. Regardless, BT thinks a Belfast directory and listing would be no use to me or those looking for my number.

The last time I complained about this I was given utter twaddle about “aligning boundaries”. I know that it’s nonsense because I also know which council, constituency and healthcare authority I fall under and there’s no alignment of boundaries there as far as I can see.

However, I struggle to find a reason for this stupidity. Is it simply to keep the subscriber numbers up in a given area so that they can sell more advertising? I don’t know and I’m not going to lose any sleep over it. In the morning, I’m going to opt-out of receiving the telephone directory and I’m already ex-directory. Who needs a phone book in the Internet era when directory enquiries are but a mouse click away?

One Comment

  1. From Terese Bird at 1:20 am on August 30, 2011

    I’m not surprised at the ridiculous logic (or lack thereof) given you by BT. As for why still have a paper phone book, I agree with you that its days are numbered and every year it seems to be getting smaller and smaller. I don’t have a smartphone, and my house computers are a bit old and slow, so even in the past year I did find myself reaching for the paper phone book — until I realised that so many businesses only advertise on the internet now that I’d be missing some of the best businesses if I only look in the phone book. Another useful aspect that has been lost: one could look in last year’s phone book to see if that business existed then, and at the same address, and thus get an idea about the stability of the business. But things move on and phone books are going the way of the dodo.