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An example of 'good' customer service


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My dishwasher broke down for the second time in a year. It's covered by Mastercare Coverplan. On the top right corner of the document is a 'Mastercare' logo in green that looks like a house. The date on it is 8/09/2007.

 

The following words appear "In the event of your product breaking down, please consult your Coverplan Agreement first and carry out the necessary checks. If you need to arrange a repair, or would like any further information relating to your Agreement, simply call Customer Services on 0870-600-1550 where one of our team will be happy to help".

 

Did all the checks and did the reset button thing, according to spec etc etc.

 

So I call 0870-600-1550 and I realise that option 1 is the correct one for repair. I get taken through several voice prompts, and I'm thinking "This is great...excellent speech recognition technology". After about 3 minutes on hold I get through to a very polite lady who takes some details and confirms the product and the problem etc.

 

[The following is a approximation of the verbatim of what was said because I did not make an audio recording of the conversation]

 

Then she asks "Do you have a repair authorisation number?"

 

And I go, "I wouldn't because I followed the menu system and came through to you...".

 

Me: "Have I not come through to the right place?"

 

She: "You've come throught to Bosch. You need to call Mastercare and get a repair authorisation number"

 

Me: " I did call Mastercare...I'm looking at the document here and it says... (I read out the relevant paragraph and phone number) so I dialled the correct number".

 

She: "Yes, but you've come through to Bosch...we cannot do anything without the repair authorisation number.

 

Me: "What should I do now?"

 

She: "Call 0844 561 4000 and do option 4 and then option 2".

 

Me: "Is it something I've done wrong or are other customers falling into the same thing."

 

She: "Others are doing the same as you [i.e. calling in without the repair authorisation number]

 

Me: "Don't you all tell MasterCare that there is a problem...because it wastes your time and the customers time?"

 

She: "No. I don't work at MasterCare".

 

Me: "So when I get this repair number, what's next?"

 

She: "You call me back on that number - and the options I gave."

 

Me: "And do I have to go through the whole thing again?"

 

She: "No...here is a reference number for the next time you call. (She gives me their reference number)"

 

Okay - so I do as she says. And guess what? I get into the same call menue system as on 0870-600-1550. Option 3 is to complain to 'Customer Services', so instead of going to option 4 I do option 3.

 

I get through to some chap. He confirms my details and the Agreement number etc. I give him the sequence of the above. I try to explain that it is ridiculous for customers

1. to be told that they will be helped but then they have to call another number (which connects to the same call menu) then

2. connect back to Bosch via a MasterCare 0870-600-1550.

3. for the problem to be affecting customers regularly as reported to me by Bosch.

 

Of course I'm cut up several times by this chap telling me that I do have a reference number, "it's the one you just gave me".

 

Me: "Just let me tell you what the reference number is..It is a repair authorisation number, not your policy reference number. "

 

He then goes silent for a bit. At this time I know I'm branded as a hostile customer because my tone of voice is now one of total frustration. But I assure any one reading this that I used no abusive language. Oh when they go silent - you know that means they've put the phone to one side. It's standard instructions. So:

 

Me: "Are you listening to this".

 

He: [coming alive] "Yes"

 

Me: "Are you recording this stuff I'm telling you, so you can do something to help your company?"

 

He: "No. We cannot record these calls...we're not allowed to".

 

Me: "Look I don't mean tape record the conversation. I mean record the details of what I'm telling you....Look, I'm taking the time, effort and expense to call you with a genuine problem. I'm speaking proper english and I'm a person with three post graduate qualifications...so I know that there is a genuine problem."

 

He: "Why do you feel you need to say that?"

 

Me: "Because I want to impress upon you that I am an intelligent person, that I have properly assessed the problem and I am reporting it to you with a certain degree of reliability, so you can do something about it."

 

Finally he gets the point.

 

Him: "So what do you want us to do?"

 

[Me thinking to myself: "What the heck, should I request an all expenses paid trip to Las Vegas".]

 

Me: "I want you to tell your company, having spent my time and money calling you to improve your service, that there is a problem. Tell them what the problem is as I have outlined it to you so that something can be done."

 

Him: "I can't do that, you'd have to write in with a complaint".

 

Me: "Sorry mate...take a hike". CLICK.

 

So what next?

 

I call the 0870-600-1550 (not the 0844 number) do option 4 then 2. BTW option 4 is for any other enquiries. A person of average intellect and mental fortitude would have pressed option 1 (as I did the first time round). I get through to some chap sounding as if he's from the Asian subcontinent (from the accent), speaking good quality of English. He takes my details, the problem, and then gives me the repair authorisation number. Then he kindly asks me if he should put me through to Bosch.

 

So I get back to Bosch now (from the Mastercare number 0870-600-1550). I then give my Bosch repair reference number and the repair authorisation number from Mastercare. Then (now some 25 min later) I've got a date and time next week for a technician to vist.

 

Right. Questions:

1Q: Why did I tell a Mastercare person to take a hike?

1A: I lost it. I'm human. I have limitations don't you? Imagine I spend a few min and probably more than the cost of postage stamp - me thinking that this person is gonna do something - then I'm told 'you have to write in'. Well why the hell have a cusomer service complaints line at all? The customer service complaints line should simply say "You're gonna spend probably as much calling this number as to write to us, so don't even bother to call - just write, because we won't take up your problem over the phone!"

 

2Q: What's my gripe?

2A: Customer service in this country - this RIP OFF BRITAIN - needs to be shot dead! Yup it's broadbrush but it's true. It is rare to get good customer service. The best I've ever had was at Wal-Mart stores i.e. ASDA.

 

3Q: But this is a one off - why are you so heated?

3A: It isn't a once off at all. I meet this kind of rubbish nearly every time I call a helpline of some sort. Today I got fired up enough to write about this one. As I was giving the repair authorisation number, I recalled that I had similar problems with them about 11 months ago when the same dishwasher broke down. I had expressed my dissatisfaction then - and left it like that. You hardly can be expected to recall after so long that you're meant to do option 4 and then option 2.

 

4Q: Have you not anything better to do?

4A: Yup. But I decide how I use my time. So today I decided to do all this. There's no benefit in it for me. I could find other equally good ways of blowing off else where. The thread could be removed it the mods wish to take it down. I've kept a copy to distribute to friends for their benefit.

 

5Q: What do you think should be done to improve customer service in this country?

5A: Customers/Consumers need to be given real bite - or they have to find it some how or the other. It's culturally ingrained in our socieity that we ought to grin and bear it. No! No! No!. There has to be more free expression of experience and more sharing of the nonsense that is going on among big business in this country. The reason why the likes of the DSG group do as they do is because we as consumers are collectively too passive in our approach. In other words big business know what they can get away with it. And you know what that means? Cutting corners to deliver profits to share holders.

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I've said time and again the problem here.

 

1. Poor training (if any at all. It usually covers role playing games and 101 ways to apologise without meaning it or doing anything about the problem). usually there is little in the way of technical stuff. If it aint in the script, its off to the complex queries department.

 

2. Very high pedestals. Look at jobs ads for CS people for these companies, as well as their own flatulence on how much they value the customer. I have before suggested that staff be given the job advert to see if that coresponds to what they do.

 

3. Targets. There is an anal dedication to targetting anything and everything, and if it means that something will take someone out of target, then forget it. Its simply not worth the advisors bother unless they actually do care (hence the reason I never once was considered for promotion in the past).

 

4. Profit. That is the sole aim of a company. anything else at all, no matter what, that gets in the way of making profit, is to be eliminated. and if they can get away with it, they will. And will also be perfectly happy performing illegal acts if they know the profit is more than the penalty (as has often been the case. One company made over £400k selling dodgy meat. After fines and costs, they had to fork out £20,000, leaving a clear profit of £380k for performing and getting caught performing an illegal act).

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  • 1 year later...

You have never obviously worked in a call centre before.

People who work there do no have the power or the access pass on information.

The big wigs that can make a difference work in an office that could be in Narnia, as nobody ever sees them and if a manager tries to get hold of them, they are put through to their PA.

Often the people on the other end of the phone do want to help you, but cannot due to not having power to do anything other then their job.

They have procedures to follow and the big wigs that have never worked on the phones before and have certainly never worked on 1st line calls set these.

Majority of people that you will speak to in call centres are there because they need the money, trust me no one would voluntary choose that job.

And when they are called useless, thick and shouted at on every phone call for 10 hours a day 5/6 days a week for something that is often beyond their control, it is very demeaning. These people do not have a say in any of the procedures and if they do try to pass on information, it falls on deaf ears. People who work in all centres are not thick or stupid; it is often a means to an end. I too have postgraduate degrees but I worked in many call centres whilst I was studying, and this is the case in most situations.

Its the guys at the top that need to hear this not the guys on the 1st call line, as they do genuinely want to help, but most of the time they have their hands tied behind their backs.

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I had a similar problem today with Sky.

 

In my quest to cut costs, I was going to transfer my phone & broadband from BT to Sky so called them up on their 0844 number to arrange this.

20mins of waiting & I get through to a pleasant lady who said fine I can do that for you - excellent, I thought.

 

She then said 'o I see you had sky talk before' No said I, I was going to 2 months ago but cancelled the order before it went live.

 

OK she said, I'll pop you on hold for a moment while I get it cancelled off our system completely.

 

Few mins later she came back & said it will take up to 30 days to clear off their system so there's nothing we can do at the moment. Call & check in a months time & if it's off our system, we can get you all set up!!!!!!!!

 

Honestly, what a ridiculous way of doing business. Makes you wonder if these companies actually want our custom or not :shock:

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These guys on the end of the phone are given limited access for a reason. And it's to make you jump through hoops and give up. It's not through some sort of imaginary malicious intent they have towards any customer who dares to try and return a product to the company, and it's not because they're targeted.

 

These people are being paid minimum, or next to minimum wage, and the last thing they need is people like the OP here with his "three post graduate qualifications". Having a go about problems they've long since given up reporting. Trust me, every single member of staff in that call center will have reported every single issue enough times that they've just given up entirely on changing the system. It's like there's some imaginary barrier between the people on the floor doing the hard graft and getting the complaints, and the people in head office who can actualy make the changes.

 

Anyway, use your "three post graduate qualifications" to find an address for Mr John Browett, who is the current head of DSGi. And send him a letter full of your amazing wit and sarcasm and see if he's willing to make these changes, because he certainly won't be used to getting it whenever he goes to work in the morning, and I'm sure he gets paid more than enough to take it.

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