Friday, July 12, 2013

Thank You, VIT...I Think

Today I received the following email in my in box:

Dear Susan
The Victorian Institute of Teaching has conducted a customer service review in an effort to improve communication and service delivery. We received responses from more than 1800 teachers and principals.
Thank you to everyone who took part in the survey. We are listening to your feedback and responding by:
  • updating information on our website at to help you with the registration process
  • simplifying the registration process by providing an individualised portal where you can complete your registration tasks (such as renewal of registration and criminal record check) online and make payments quickly and efficiently
  • doubling the customer service team to take your calls
  • extending the Teacher Hotline hours from 7.30 am to 7.00 pm in the peak registration renewal period from August 2013 to February 2014 to cover times when you need to call us
  • introducing a more durable plastic registration card, which can also be used as a Working With Children card.
These changes are part of an Institute-wide effort to provide better systems to support annual registration.
You will receive your annual invoice during August. It will explain what you need to do to complete your registration tasks online and make sure that you are registered to teach in 2014.
We value your feedback and will continue to monitor our systems to provide the best support for you through the registration process.

It was signed by a lady called Melanie, but added a comment that this was an automated email and we shouldn't answer it, but we were welcome to phone.

Thank you, Melanie. The thing is, they're all things that any good organisation should be able to do, let alone our compulsory professional association, and you were already allowing us to do it all online, even do it from home (something that eventually happened after there were enough complaints about only being able to do the compulsory online stuff from work). And extending the hotline hours isn't going to help if no one can get through anyway. I don't know anyone who ever managed to get through to the hotline. It was supposed to be going till 5.30 pm, but as I never managed to get through to anyone during the day, I decided i would hand in my paperwork in person and went to the building in Melbourne at 4.40 pm. I only found one staff member there, a poor little receptionist who had been left all alone, and had no idea what I needed to know, though she took my paperwork to be handed over later. Heaven knows where the hotline folk were! I'm sure there was a good reason for this, but with the lack of communication, I still haven't found out what it was. Maybe the extra staff will help, but I doubt it.

I did, once, by complete chance, get a response from a human being by email, and have asked the poor man all my questions since, because I don't know who else to ask.

Please, VIT - this is compulsory. I can't work in a Victorian school without paying you my fees and jumping through the various hoops you have set up for me. Remember, during the workday we're in class or preparing classes. I get about 20 minutes a day lunch break and a few minutes more for morning tea. And then, after school, we have two meetings a week.

At least make it easy to communicate and give us a few email addresses for when we can't get through by phone.