Sunday 23 February 2014

We value your call

so much so that we will make you answer many questions by pressing buttons before we put you through to a totally irrelevant recorded message to ramp up the money we make on your call, including our standard connection charge as shown in very small print on the website.  Only when you are sufficiently angry and frustrated will we speak to you our valued customer.
Yes its time for a rant.  I may have managed not to buy yarn this year or unnecessary toiletries but I can't stop myself banging on about dreadful customer service.  Just a couple of brief examples.
I bought a Bosch iron on line from John Lewis in December, it was a large good looking item but every time I used it water spilt out onto my laundry. I phoned Bosch to speak to their technical people in case I was doing something stupid, but they didn't have anyone with knowledge and after suggesting I make a 50 mile round trip to John Lewis carrying a heavy iron, they agreed to send me a prepaid label so I could return it to them for a refund.  On 08 January I received a letter saying they had the iron my refund would arrive within 28 days though no explanation about the fault.  45 days, many emails and several phone calls later I am still waiting to receive my £54.99, I have passed the matter to Trading Standards.
In the January sales I ordered a few little items online from Emma Bridgewater, 10 days later they hadn't arrived despite the delivery promise of 3-5 working days. I contacted them to be told that most of the items I had ordered were not available and had been cancelled, though they hadn't bothered to let me know this.  I made a bit of fuss, I expected them to have some form of stock control, they hadn't been bothered to keep me updated or offered any alternatives at similar prices and eventually they said I could have 10% off a future order, valid for the next 30 days.  Some of the things I ordered were reduced by 70%, I asked how getting 10% off compensated for not getting 70% off and they suggested I look at outlet mugs, not that I had ordered any mugs.  There were about half a dozen items in the outlet section none of which I wanted so they can keep their 10% discount but not their customer.  Then this week they had the cheek to send me an email asking me to review the purchases I didn't receive, sadly my review was rejected as it didn't meet their guidelines, what a surprise.
We feel sorry when we hear of companies closing down, they rarely come back again and putting staff out of work effects more than just that person but I do wonder what kind of management encourages this blatant customer alienation.  Whoever invented call centres was evil, operatives with little experience give wrong information knowing that you will never speak to them again because its a different person every time and even if you do manage to get a name that person won't be available next time you call.
I heard at the weekend that Royal Bank of Scotland is to cut approximately 20,000 jobs, comments on line were very much in favour of this to the point of jubilation.  Since my own branch refuses to open mail forwarding everything to Glasgow for processing, unless the envelope is addressed to a known member of staff, I have to wonder if this isn't symptomatic of their whole disregard for customers.   For goodness sake if I send a letter to my branch I want them to deal with it, do they now need specialist staff to open envelopes, when I've been in my branch they haven't exactly been rushed off their feet.
I can manage without any more Bridgewater, I bought myself a new iron at quarter of the cost of the Bosch and while I will be sorry if my local bank closes leaving another empty building in the high street, I can only express my disappointment and frustration by not supporting companies that let me down and next time I hear about another business closing I shall wonder if they operated a truly awful customer care call centre.


  1. I hope you feel better after that rant Jenny! I know exactly what you mean about poor customer service, it is one of my bug bears too!

  2. Hmmm! Symptomatic of this day and age I fear!

  3. Right with you on this. We bought two sofas (Made in England, no less) at House of Fraser. One was damaged on delivery. Long story short, 8 months later, poor communication throughout and we're still waiting for a replacement.

  4. Ooh, you have been unlucky haven't you? Poor thing; I do hope you get your money back from JLP. Our store is not far from here so I always shop on line then collect from the store.

  5. Oh God, call centres. My recent experience with BT was one of the most frustrating things that has ever happened to me. I literally cried with frustration after one of the calls. I'm sure call centres must be generally bad for our health.

    Both the Bosch and Emma Bridgwater things sounds horrendously poor service. You've put me off buying any of their products in future, if that's any consolation!

  6. Ooooh - I do love a good rant!! I get very cross with bad service, and like you, simply take my business elsewhere.

  7. Customer service has to be one of the most important divisions of a business. It is the connection between the customer and company, after all. But if they don't work as good as you wanted them to be, they'd lose customers, and that's bad. Let's just see if more companies will invest in better customer service. After all, the consumer is what drives the business, right?

    Tom Coshow @ TeleDirect