Friday, 1 January 2010

Customer Service

And a Happy New Year to one and all. Have you made any resolutions? Are you going to keep them? That is a better question I think, as making them is very easy. I once declared that I would never eat food in a Wetherspoons pub again. At the moment we eat there every Monday so that we can take part in the pub quiz. See how strongly I hold my convictions.
This year, however, rather than making easily made and broken resolutions I have decided to try and make a tiny, tiny (and some might say pointless) stand against all companies who have awful customer service. If I have any problems with a company I will make a complaint (via email obviously, I’m English and so face to face complaining is out of the question.) and if I don’t receive an adequate response I will stop using that company, no matter who they are. Simple as that. I’m not going to get silly and start complaining about stupid little things, I’m not Richard Littlejohn after all, but I will complain to companies when their employees are unhelpful, rude or give me incorrect information.
I have already started by leaving O2. They were not a helpful bunch of people and gave me different answers to the same question every time I asked it. They also have a website that seems to be designed to stop you contacting them. So, taking my own advice, I have left them and I am now using the much more helpful 3 to provide the little bars on the side of my phone’s screen.
Leaving a service provider or not using a shop is reasonably easy; the real struggle will come when I have to fly anywhere as all carriers seem to provide an equally bad service. Luggage loss, poor food and being made to feel like cattle are just a few of the problems and they all operating out of the same horrid airports. Combine this with added levels of security thanks to the attempted “thunder pants” bomber and flying has become one of the world’s most depressing experiences this side of being on the receiving end of a good genocide or getting a Dan Brown novel for Christmas. I am considering taking all my holidays within driving distance from my house.

But there is a flipside to all of this negativity. I must also tell companies when I get good service. Who, outside of the Tabloid press, wants to go around moaning all the time? Not me and that’s for sure.
Positive feedback is important for encouraging people to strive to do better and I think that we should expect better from people who profit from our money. Not only that, it makes people feel good about themselves and worthwhile, well a little bit anyway, when they hear that someone was appreciative of the help that they offered.
This may sound like the most middle class sentence every typed by anyone, ever, but I always get really good service in Waitrose. Even from the Saturday staff. I know that they probably hand pick all of their staff very, very carefully but never the less, ending the correct answer to a question with “is there anything else I can help you with today?” and meaning it, costs nothing and will bring the customers back time and time again.

So that is it, stop using companies with bad customer service and praise those with good. If I do it on my own it won’t change very much (well, it might make my life it little easier) but imagine if we all started doing it.

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