Too big to care for customers?

When will large corporations learn that customers will move if promises of swift customer service by telephone are not fulfilled?

In the past few weeks, as a business customer, I have had to contact Scottish Amicable, Norwich Union Healthcare, BT Cellnet and Midland Bank with relatively straightforward queries. Not on one single occasion have I managed to speak straightaway to an individual who is either willing or able to take ownership of the query and deal with it.

On most occasions I was bounced from one call centre to the next, repeating the story with operators who were simply adding another call contact to their database. Then letters started to arrive from offices across the country, all contradicting each other, and with still no solution in sight.

Promises of dedicated account management failed to materialise while frustration increased. Poorly trained operatives, lack of internal communication and unrealistic service monitoring procedures seem to be at the heart of the problem. Are customers meant to accept poor service, endless telephone calls and wasted time as the downside of placing their business with a major player?

Perhaps in the interests of furthering good marketing practice Marketing Week should introduce a quarterly name and shame league table of the worst customer service offenders. After all, these are the companies that are surely not giving customers what they want.

Steve Davidson

Managing director

Marketing Impact

Weybridge

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