What Ever Happened To Customer Service?

images-2Is it just me or is customer services just tumbling to an unacceptable levels?

Today I tried to contact my bank after being told when I tried to log in online that they couldn’t display my details.

I was given no clue as to why, yet when I looked to call them each and every number was associated with a specific problem, lost car, fraud, stolen card, opening a new account, etc,, etc.

Given I had no clue why my account was unavailable I didn’t know which number to call so I decide to try just any of them, and see if they could put me through to the right department.

At least the system allowed my to use the key pad to input my choices, rather than using the terrible voice recognition systems used by some companies.

After having input my account number, to help identify me and speed up the process, I waited 15 minutes until someone came onto the phone who immediately asked for my account details, the exact same ones I and keyed in previously to help speed up the process.

After another wait on hold whilst they looked into the account, I was told my problem was not one they could deal with and they said I needed to get in touch with web chat.

Having spent 30 minutes waiting for web chat I then went through a process where I was told to call one of the original numbers again, so back to square one.

It’s not so long ago that many companies said they wanted to put the Customer at the heart of everything they do, that they wanted to focus on Customer Service.

I can certainly say that for me, this is not something I feel, I feel as a customer I am more and more treated like a commodity. Almost as if there is an endless supply of customers and if one customer is dissatisfied and leaves, so what, there are plenty more where they come from.

Having finally got through I found my account had been placed on hold. It had been put on hold because the bank had accidentally cancelled one of my payments to them, which then went on to cause a problem, which then made them cancel of of my other payments, and then block the account.

They apologised profusely, and told me that they would look to correct everything.

Unfortunately it would take 14 days for my account to be usable again by me, and that I would need to recreate all the payments which they had cancelled !!!

The easiest path for me now is to just move to another account, that would take less than 14 days, but to be honest I am not sure that the poor customer service is limited to just this bank.

This is not an isolated issue, I find each time I try to contact a company it’s practically impossible to get anywhere and when I do the service is appalling, and I often here the same complaints from others.

Too often companies talk about providing good service but then don’t. It’s not that I object to budget services, I don’t, it’s more that I object to companies making claims that they don’t back up.

The companies don’t walk their talk, they are not authentic. Which then causes me to lose trust in them, in the same way I would with any leader who doesn’t walk the talk.

Maybe the problem lies with us, that we don’t complain enough when we get poor services, we just expect it and therefore accept it.

Although my complaints just fell on deaf ears. Maybe companies just don’t care, or their staff aren’t motivated enough.

Whilst good service might cost more and therefore might put companies off providing it, what I can say is that I appreciate good service and whenever I get it, I will always consider coming back and also recommend that company or service.

Apologies for the rant, but enough is enough!

Gordon Tredgold

Leadership Principles