Customer Service - thoughts? Is it getting better or worse?

By Steve Richardson : Administrator
Published 13th May 2014 | Last comment 17th January 2017
Comments
However, over the recent year I have seen a number of heavily backed review companies start up. So the competition is very fierce. The truth is most people don't trust most of them. If you could make one of them that had that very high confidence level, then you may have something.”
 

You're a 100% right, there are plenty of review sites that have started up recently. Customer Services seems to be coming a hot subject (finally) and I think reviews are one of the reasons. Mainly because the power has shifted to the consumer.

But without wanting to repeat what's been said on the reviews thread, the consumer landscape is confusing with a myriad of "approved" sites and schemes.

The Trading Standards Institute are trying to level the laying field, and they have a huge uphill battle, but their vision is to bring all the Trading Standards and Government backed initiatives like Trusted Trader, Trustmark and Buy With Confidence under one roof, and simplify things for the end consumer. Exciting for us, as we are their directory provider, but there's a long long way to go.


Cheers Steve
Directory & Local Search anorak
My Local Services

From what i can see customerservices is generally getting better, at least online. Call centres seem more human and an ecommerce site that cant support customers wont survive in webland  Compared to my tescolocal and the gossiping till ladies who dont give you the time of day and the clueless 17 year old in the high street chain of your choice.


Shakester

“..  Compared to my tescolocal and the gossiping till ladies who dont give you the time of day and the clueless 17 year old in the high street chain of your choice.”
 

Nothing infuriates me more than 2 people gossiping whilst serving you and the only time they acknowledge you is to bark out the amount you owe. I usually say at that point, please dont stop talking about xxx on my account, would you like to finish before you i pay?

Should see the reaction 


Clive, My Local Services
If you have found the Forum useful,
Please select here to leave a review for us.

The one thing that really annoys me is Indian call centres. I'm sure there are some great ones but for train queries and trying to renew a contract with Orange, or should I say EE, I have found them to be quite annoying. They don't understand properly and whilst they really are trying to give you the bests service. They can't as they don't understand and you end up getting annoyed as the call takes forever. Maybe it's just me?!


Thanks,
Pubby

The one thing that really annoys me is Indian call centres. I'm sure there are some great ones but for train queries and trying to renew a contract with Orange, or should I say EE, I have found them to be quite annoying. They don't understand properly and whilst they really are trying to give you the bests service. They can't as they don't understand and you end up getting annoyed as the call takes forever. Maybe it's just me?!”
 

I think they are over trained and try too hard to give an over friendly service.

My credit card company uses an overseas call centre and they always ask me how my day is going and what the weather is like - chances are i'm calling with a problem and i want to get straight to the point.

I dont give a rats whatsit what the weather is like, i want my issues addressing. They also have no concept of sarcasm, that can be irritating.

My trick now is if i cant get the service from overseas, i ask to be transferred to the closure team, who i know are based in the UK and usually have far more knowledge or at least the authority to sort my query out. No doubt one day i will get called out and be forced to close my account 


Clive, My Local Services
If you have found the Forum useful,
Please select here to leave a review for us.

EDGY service - i like that - its better than crap service i guess lol

Great customer service is so simple to deliver, really anyone can do it IMHO

Listen to the problem, let the customer rant if he/she wants, long as they dont swear i'm happy to listen - dont interrupt them though, this just adds fuel to the fire!

Once they have finished outlining the problem set out what you can do to resolve it, if you can't do it there and then tell them how you are going to do it and a time frame for that to happen and a call back/email will be arranged. Don't be afraid to say i don't know the answer BUT i will go and find one out & get back to you within xxx hours

If you can't get the issue sorted within your time frame, call them back with an update. The number of times i've been told we will call you back and it never happens, just makes the problem worse - a simple call, really sorry, taking a bit longer than i thought, bear with me another xx hours and i will call you again - simples!

ALWAYS apologise - 75% of the time our queries actually are customers not understanding what they are doing, thats not to say that this is their fault though, we always take feedback and utilise this in our updates - feedback is gold dust!

If appropriate compensate the customer, it doesnt take much for them to feel special & appreciated, quite often i will upgrade customers, or add regions, you will be amazed at how many "friends" i make or turn around from an initital hostile call.

I guess i'm quite lucky that i have the authority to resolve 99% of any queries, i do believe that if companies empowered more of the call answerers with more authority the need to escalate a query could be reduced.

 


Clive, My Local Services
If you have found the Forum useful,
Please select here to leave a review for us.

As usual, good advice from you Clive.

I agree customer service is simple (but simple doesn't mean easy).

 ”

 

Thats my point though, companies need to make customer service a higher priority - it can take years to build up a reputation that can be destroyed in seconds with poor service or a poorly trained staff member.

Its even easier now to publish comments on social media that names and shames bad companies - i'm all for that as long as there is a right to reply  Think companies are slowly becoming aware of this now though which for the consumer can only be a good thing.

If you are not a people person you really shouldn't be in the customer service industry, or be customer facing 

 


Clive, My Local Services
If you have found the Forum useful,
Please select here to leave a review for us.

This vignette illustrates how NOT to do customer service! We aren't left as raving fans of the hotels service. The moment by moment decisions the assistant manager made were reactive, not responsive; and even the final upgrade offer didn't achieve the primary objective. ”
 

Unfortunately this seems to be a major issue with a lot of hotels. Over the years me and my better half have been fortunate enough to stay in plenty of nice hotels, and have also done plenty of Premier Inns. But being honest, I think I've been more disappointed with 5 star hotels, and more impressed with Premier Inns.

We've had a catalog of issues, Credit Card getting scammed from a well known London hotel, another ran out of bread for breakfast  We've had quite a few ropey meals, poor service, badly trained noisy staff, more interested in last nights Eastenders. We've had faults in rooms, tired rooms in dire need of TLC, broken taps, leaking toilets, problems with windows, unsympathetic reception staff who need authorisation from a manager who is unavailable.

There's also been a few great ones, and when customer service is done right, and not reactive as stated, it's a refreshing change.

Yet by contrast, on the budget side, since having kids we've stayed in quite a few premier Inns, the last one a few weeks ago one by the London Eye. Price doesn't get any better for the location, but more importantly I know what we'll get. The room will be tidy and comfortable. It's no thrills, but the staff are still 100% switched on, and who ever is manning reception is fully qualified to deal with any gripes or grumbles.

On this occasion we were next door to a noisy heating unit which clattered for about 30 minutes at 22.00. Not late, but was worried it would disturb the kids. Within 10 minutes, issue sorted and a nights stay refunded under their good nights guarantee. No arguments and no stress.

Premier Inn have been spending a fortune marketing and honing their message, but having stayed in a number of their hotels around the country, I think they've got the customer service model spot on.


Cheers Steve
Directory & Local Search anorak
My Local Services

I had a very frustrating experience with Virgin Media a while ago, I was just being passed from one advisor to another and it took a whole up a whole afternoon.  Since then, to avoid the call centres of the larger companies, I tend to use the live chat widgets on their websites instead wherever possible, I always find the operators very helpful, plus it's free. 

I haven't really seen customer service with the larger companies improving, I find myself being constantly mislead, there always seems to be a hidden cost that they conveniently forget to mention.


Thanks,
SDP Gutter Cleaning Services

Your point about the budget brands resonates. I've had good experiences with Travel Lodges.

You know what you get. Very occasionally theres a problem with rowdy late night fellow guests, but usually sorted quickly. Interesting, isn't it. The premium hotel brands aren't creating the expected customer delight differentiation.

Wonder what other members think.

 

 

Yep totally agree.

Was in Devon at the end of last year for my brothers 20th wedding anniversary, booked a Travel Lodge in Paignton £20 for a family room, on a Saturday night! Ok it was November but thats a crazy price, loads of room for my son & I 

Room was clean, comfortable, shower water was hot, what more do you need for an overnight base?


Clive, My Local Services
If you have found the Forum useful,
Please select here to leave a review for us.

Post Reply Post a new message to this Thread