Monday, 18 March 2013

Customer Service IS Important!

I know it is a Monday and you are probably not in the best of moods, who is on a Monday morning? But today I am having a bit of a rant.


I read this comment the other day and my goodness does it ring true with some of the idiots we have to deal with in our lives at times. It would be fair to say myself and Samantha are getting sick and tired of some of the poor service we have received from certain companies recently. The worst thing is, I had to go to great lengths to get the customer service team of one particular company to take notice. I spammed their Facebook page and Twitter feed for three days solid. It ruddy well worked though!!

But why should I have to go to such resorts? Why isn't customer service as important anymore? Is it apathy? Poorly trained staff? Or are these companies simply past caring?

There are two types of customer service we encounter, in the shop or on the telephone. Now, in the shop it really can be hit and miss with which member of staff you are dealing with. Although, three weeks ago I encountered the worst service ever, in a BMW garage local to where I live. Every single member of their staff refused to help us.

On a Saturday afternoon, my husband and I visited our local garage in Leicester. We assumed someone would pounce on us as soon as we entered the shiny glossy car showroom, however this was not the case. We stood there for ten minutes and nothing, no one even made eye contact with us. There were plenty of staff, sitting at desks or loitering around with a duster in their hand giving a car bonnet a quick buff but they all blatantly ignored us.

We asked the receptionist if we could speak to someone, she took our name and asked us to take a seat. We sat and waited and waited and waited. No one came to see us and we couldn't talk to the receptionist again because she was too busy chatting to a friend on the telephone. We then approached a salesman and asked if we could take a look at the swatches for paint colours and interiors. He politely said he would be back in a second as he made his way to the kitchen with a tray full of empty cups. So we waited and waited and waited, again.

After 50 minutes we realised it was hometime for the sales staff as they quickly put on their coats, switched off their desktop computers and stood staring at their watches ready to bolt out of the door. Yep, we now knew why no one wanted to talk to us, they wanted to finish on time. We were outraged! And being so annoyed about this I swiftly wrote an email to the Head Office of Sytner and BMW.

Needless to say I received a courtesy call from their Sales Manager giving me his apologies but who cares, I won't be buying my car from them now. No I decided that I would travel the distance and go to a competitors BMW garage and give them my custom instead. Thankfully, their competitor Listers were wonderful and couldn't do enough to assist us during our purchase. I look forward to getting my new car and dealing with a professional, courteous company. That's what it is all about!

Now, let us look at online purchases. Yep, always a big risk because you cannot try before you buy. Sam and myself both buy clothes and shoes online, one of the best online companies being ASOS. Their customer service is fantastic, the returns system is simple, free and no hassle. Which is what we all like to happen, right?

So, why do some online companies get it so wrong? Sam was so excited by the opening of & Other Stories, it was too good to be true when we saw their range of stock; it was totally up our street. Sam was very quick to place an order as the stocks were selling out so quickly. Now, bearing in mind, this new store is a sister company to H&M and COS, you'd think they'd know how to process online orders. Oh dear, they so don't!

Sam ordered an apricot dress and received a bright neon tangerine number, she also ordered a print shirt and received a completely different shirt. Not good! I then had a quick search on Twitter and it would seem Sam wasn't the only disgruntled customer. I found within six hours another five customers had also aired their disappointment with this new brand. Bearing in mind, this is only on Twitter and of course, not all customers will have shared their disappointment, I think it is fair to say, there will have been a lot more ladies who were unhappy.

And then I come onto my final and biggest disappointment when it comes to customer service. Virgin Media. Oh dear, now this company is in a different league. They have a customer service team which you call (we telephoned several times everyday for 9 days) and they do absolutely nothing. Well, actually they did give us three dates and times of when our problem would be rectified but no engineer ever turned up. You cannot imagine how infuriated I become, plus the fact I had to endure my two sons moaning about having no television or internet.

My husband and myself were ringing their helpline several times a day to complain. On one occasion when my husband asked to make a formal complaint he was told by the customer service adviser "Sorry sir but I cannot take your details down because I do not have any pen and paper." What?!?

It took myself having to spam their Facebook page and their twitter feed before they finally did something. It is a real shame that I had to resort to such lengths for their company to rectify a very simple technical issue. All they had to do was send an engineer out to reconnect our network cable which apparently had been cut, reason for this is still unknown. I still cannot get my head around the fact how unhelpful Virgin Media were for something which was such a trivial matter. The mind boggles as to why they even bother having something called a HELPline when they do quite the opposite and cause you a lot of hassle. Of course, we were not the only ones in utter dismay with their lack of service, the internet is rife with many other angry customers.

It would seem I became a bit of a hero with the other disgruntled customers of Virgin Media, I received a lot of messages from them praising me for my actions. And needless to say, they all followed suit and their problems were quickly rectified too. It is incredibly sad that in this day and age we have to be prepared to go that extra mile to resolve the simplest of issues.

I bet you all have your own stories of frustration with certain companies, whether it be stroppy staff (I loathe jobsworths!), non-delivery of goods you have purchased or receiving something completely different to what you ordered. And don't get me started on how we  have to be vigilant with every purchase we make, I meticulously check bank statements, credit card bills and till receipts and I usually do find a mistake! Most often being BOGOF offers which don't seem to materialise at the till.

Do you hate complaining as much as I do? It's one massive headache and something we could really do without. It would be great to hear which companies you love that we need to hear about and if you have someone you want to have a rant about, then please do share. You will feel much better after punching your keyboard with anger and letting it all out.

I'm praying for a more positive week….please!

Teresa xxx