Drop the excuses
If I hear one more ‘it’s because of Covid’ excuse from a service company I am going to scream!
My patience and tolerance for this sort of lazy excuse has just about reached its limits as I am sure a lot of other consumers would agree.
Come on, really?!
Adapt or Suffer the Consequences which are coming right around the corner at you.
And Here's Why....
Whilst, at the outset, I think everyone appreciated we were thrown into a cauldron of confusion and unexpected challenges as the lockdown was sprung on us out of the blue, we made allowances for poor customer service. However, I don’t think this period of grace is going to last much longer and it has been long enough now for the larger companies to have adapted surely?
I think that there are basically 4 reasons as to why a lot of the big service companies haven’t adapted:
i) they really don’t give 2 figs for their customers,
ii) their structure is so bureaucratic they have been unable to adapt their customer interfaces,
iii) they are so insular in thinking about themselves customer relations is low down on their priorities or
iv)they think that things will return to the way they were before the pandemic so they’ll just muddle along in the meantime.
If any of the above then these companies deserve to go out of business.
One of the first points of contact these days does tend to be by telephone or online. How often must we hear “your call is important to us” when, after over an hours hold time, we no longer believe this to be true seeing as how they are eating into large chunks of our own time.
How often do we have to go through an endless litany of ‘press the number’ choice menus, sub-menus and sub-sub-menus before we get to speak to a human being who, quite often, manages to cut us off in the process. There are only so many times we are prepared to call back to repeat such a thankless rigmarole.
How many times do we have to put up with a dis-embodied voice telling us that they will sort out whatever it is we were calling about only to know that they never will. I think they bank on it being too much of a hassle to try to get back through to chase them up.
If an actual person is too much to ask for how about a technical solution? There are goodness knows how many algorithms out there that could help with the initial contact. Perhaps the one that offers ring-back so a customer doesn’t have to hold. Or the one that tells you where you are in a queue so you can judge whether you are a prepared to wait or try again later when it might be quieter.
I for one don’t mind, and am now not in the least surprised, if I hear a dog barking of children playing in the background. It’s to be expected with so many people still working from home. I don’t need to be warned about it in one of the many pre-recorded messages which haven’t changed since the start of all this.
A Few Exceptions
Having said all that there are a few notable exceptions where customer service, in my experience, has maintained a high level if not actually improved beyond my expectations. Amazon is one but there are many more I have dealt with such as SIXT car hire, Premier Inn hotels, a handful of county councils and, would you believe it, BT!
(in the case of BT I eventually complained to the CEO not really expecting an answer, but I got one and he made sure someone sorted out my problem and kept me updated until it was).
Technology can help for sure, but it has to keep being re-visited to keep it up to date and relevant as the landscape changes. It also has to be remembered that in the end there is no substitute for a person talking to another person who can and will help. Investing in personnel, and more of them, for any service provider has to be a priority as things are not going to change any time soon.
Recently, so irritated have I become, that when I encounter unnecessary delays, prevarication or equivocation in service I have started to personally blacklist those companies. I am taking the time (probably the time I’ve clawed back from not sitting on hold) to find new suppliers or alternative sources for what I need.
I have begun to vote with my feet…. I don’t think I will be only one unless customer service gets creatively better.
What do you think?
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