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"Poor customer service costs UK firms billions Ė so why canít they get it right?"

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"Poor customer service costs UK firms billions Ė so why canít they get it right?"

Old 30th Jan 2023, 18:03
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"Poor customer service costs UK firms billions Ė so why canít they get it right?"

Rersearch showing what we all know!!
The Observer, Consumer Affairs
Since the Covid lockdowns, many companies have scaled down customer service, extending deadlines for complaint resolution and reducing staff. Some have removed helplines, leaving customers reliant on ineffectual chatbots.

As a result, traders are taking record amounts of time to resolve issues, and taking record hits to their profits and reputation.

Poor customer service is costing UK businesses £11.4bn a month in lost productivity, according to new research, with employees averaging one day a week dealing with problems.

A ďcustomer satisfaction indexĒ, published last week by the UK Institute of Customer Service (ICS), found satisfaction was falling year-on-year, with nearly 17% of consumers reporting issues with a trader.
All of this applies to Big Airways and others. It does not apply, in my view, to the famous LCC as they have never pretended to give customer service!

Today, I spent 75 minutes on the phone to the Council (having spent two hours gathering the data) to correct something that - had they send me a letter or an email seven months ago - would never have got to waste so much time. They said, "We sent you two letters - the fact that you did not receive them is not our fault" I pointed out that the original Council Tax bill had arrived so why not the other two letters that they said they posted? No answer. When I asked why they had not emailed me? "We are not legally obliged to send you emails." So, if their computer can send automatic letters - why not automatic emails? Such a waste of everyone's time and money.

All companies know that good customer service wins all the time. I remember arguing this in 1989 when I worked in the City. My boss wanted to use a cheaper supplier of fax machines (that was what we needed!) and I pointed out that, part of the purchase price was ensuring that they would turn up rapidly when there was a problem.
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Old 30th Jan 2023, 18:30
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Are you sure about his. i thought we had World Beating customer service as everytig else in Global Britain is World Beating
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Old 31st Jan 2023, 06:20
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Investing in customer service is like spending on advertising - half of it is wasted, but nobody knows which half.
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Old 31st Jan 2023, 07:29
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All of this applies to Big Airways and others. It does not apply, in my view, to the famous LCC as they have never pretended to give customer service!
Is that famous as in 'biggest and most profitable'? Hence...

All companies know that good customer service wins all the time.
But if you factor it into the price of your product the customer goes and buys your rivals cheaper product and then moans about the poor customer service...
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Old 31st Jan 2023, 08:28
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Originally Posted by pax britanica View Post
Are you sure about his. i thought we had World Beating customer service as everytig else in Global Britain is World Beating

Except punctuation, spelling, etc?
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Old 31st Jan 2023, 11:44
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I don't know about other countries, but in the UK we all seem to have caught this disease which makes us want to spend the minimum amount on everything. Folk walk into a shop to look at a product but then buy whatever it is on-line instead, so the shops suffer and cannot pay for good staff. This trickles through to worse customer service, since most companies think it is a corner that can be cut, and they don't realise the consequences.

I have just come back from Saudi as a pax and the locals at the airport were polite, helpful, and smiled and said "welcome" etc. Contrast that to Heathrow where most staff were sour faced and looked as if they did not want to be there. A sweeping statement, I know but that's what I saw.
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Old 31st Jan 2023, 12:20
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Unfortunately, customer service has gone the way of all things. Customer service used to be path to ensuring customers returned for further goods or to replace the one they just bought when it needed replacing. Nowadays, in my experience, it's a case of "Well if you don't come back there are plenty of others who will buy from us, not interested, next please". Really saddened by this.
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Old 31st Jan 2023, 12:26
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My wife insists on buying things using Amazon simply because their customer service has, for us, been second to none. Items arrive on time and if they do not work or do not meet our requirements, returning them is simple, painless and refunds arrive promptly. Contrast that with two items recently bought from supposedly specialist suppliers. The items took a long time to be delivered, neither worked and trying to organise returns and refunds was far too complicated. In the end we found what we wanted on Amazon and bought them there.
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Old 31st Jan 2023, 15:01
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I agree with the Amazon problem. They are a new company who put IT at the heart of their operation. Their customer service is not always tops but it does work.

I do understand the attitude that Doctor Cruces points out and that is certainly the case with many companies. I have long suggested that certain LCCs don't worry because, each year, there is a new generation leaving school and wanting to go on holiday with their mates. They will put up with anything for the low price. Next year? Another lot.

Being old fashioned (or just old) I respond to good customer service with loyalty. For example, the only reason I no longer travel as mich with VS is that their menu now seems to have every meal with either pasta or spice - neither of which I can tolerate. It's only when in Upper that I can be sure of a good meal and that makes it an expensive meal!!

The reason I will never use Turkish again was down to their truly terrible on the ground service. Their Biz class was brilliant all round. Their chef spoke with me, I told him what I could not eat and he gave me a lovely meal. Same on the return sector. On the ground? It would take many hours to tell you all the things they did wrong.
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Old 31st Jan 2023, 19:11
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I think that as a nation the British aren't open to being 'of service' to others/customers, save for some niche careers that pay well. The latin nations are very open and see it as a proper job, the Scandis and Germanics do it in a professional and perfunctory manner. Perhaps it's that other countries and cultures are proud/feel a part of their nation and are more likely to be engaged with the customer.

In the UK, it seems to me at least, that over the last 30 years, bit by bit the jewels have been sold off and aside from sporting events and royal events, national belonging has waned considerably and this filters down through everyday interactions and perhaps into company culture. Workers just go through the motions, feeling no-one cares about them and that they are just cogs in the machine, rather than an integral part of the mechanism, which becomes all too apparent when things go astray. You only have to see how many people in customer facing jobs are on their phone, or have earpods in listening to whatever, only half there to know that non-customer facing positions(incl customer service) are similarly afflicted in only being part engaged. My latest long customer service experience was dealt with exclusively by tech, rather than a human being and even that was painful! it would seem that above a certain point, the service is there that one might expect, below that point it's hit and miss.
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Old 31st Jan 2023, 19:22
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Interestingly, Tony Fadell, the guy who led the team who designed and developed the Apple iPod, and Nest, (before they sold the company to Google), makes sure that his team spends a lot of time and effort in ensuring that their customers have good service, and good help, post purchase. Not the cheapest product, but Apple have a very healthy bank balance, so they must be doing something right.
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Old 31st Jan 2023, 19:47
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I'd agree with SpringHeeledJack. Customer service has been seen as something of a dead end job and one to do until you find something better. But, there is ONLY customer service. As everyone competes on price it is the only thing left - but it costs money. Customers always want the lowest price and the highest service. A similar problem is that everyone hates the bad roads and potholes in the UK now - but how many want to pay more taxes? If the Brits truly want the NHS, then everyone has to pay more - not just the high earners.
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Old 31st Jan 2023, 20:22
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I think customer service tends to be lacking in the UK. Roles such as waiting tables / bar tender,
in Europe tend to be professional jobs where as in UK a student job or occasional full time as an example, and it goes on from there. We had a reputation almost based on literature like the Jeeves and Wooster books for service , but alas nothing like that now.

Some people do have a knack for customer service in UK, but it seems that it is a skill that is in retrograde for some reason.

Cheers
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Old 31st Jan 2023, 21:13
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If you are polite I don't think customer service in the UK is that bad in fact I think it's pretty good.
M&S spent 30 minutes trying to find me a waistcoat for a suit I had selected.
The biggest issue with customer service is being accosted as soon as you walk through the door.

My most amusing bad customer service was in a restaurant where the food was barely edible. When the waitress asked "Is everything okay with the food?" I began a 10 minute diatribe pointing out all the problems we had to which she replied "Oh, okay". We never saw here again.

Most annoying customer service. Having to go into a HSBC bank so I could have my HSBC online only credit card activated.
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Old 31st Jan 2023, 23:59
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Always two sides and examples of 'The Good, The Bad & The Ugly' in customer service. Just like airlines. On one BA flight last year (long haul) I got bad vibes from the CC within 10 seconds of stepping on board. A feeling that I have never had before on BA. Sadly, my hunch was correct.

During the call to the Council that I mentioned at the start of this thread, I have forgotten how many 'Select from the following n options' that I went through and then their muzak. For the first 20/25 mins, I got the voice telling me where I was in the queue. Then just muzak. I held on in the hope of being answered and, after some 30+ mins of just the same looped bit of dross, suddenly the call was answered.

In the telecomms career, I worked for two different local Councils and a good telephonist would have been able to route my call considerably faster then the computer. Leaving a caller suspended in muzak for 30 mins would mean something had gone very wrong. But humans are money and some humans shout at other humans.
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Old 1st Feb 2023, 08:05
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What is deeply ironic is that the 50+ find it hard to get jobs because companies - be they airlines, train companies or supermarkets - only want the young ones, (despite ageism being illegal in the UK). This applies to the highly qualified 50+ too. Even volunteering for the lifeboats is not possible after 55, no matter how fit, slim, healthy and active one is.

Yet the 50+ and 60+ remember the days of good manners and good service, and did not have smart phones when they were young, so they would be ideal for customer facing roles, and would be polite, attentive, and able to solve problems based on their life and career experience. One reason I prefer to shop in places such as M&S and John Lewis is that you get more intelligent and diligent shop assistants, who will take the time to help you and find solutions. Or rather you used to. Sadly, even those companies are going down market in their staff selection.

The 60+ would be good answering telephones in call centres I would have thought, as long as they were up to speed operating the computer systems.

Now that the retirement age is increasing, the country needs to do something to provide employment for the 60+. The younger folk can do the jobs where physical strength and stamina are needed, the older folk could do the gentler stuff that requires brain power.
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Old 1st Feb 2023, 12:21
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Customer service? UK estate agents? Has there ever been a bigger oxymoron?
As the buying party. Spending more than life itself. What service could one expect? What service does one get?
Deception and being misled, hidden information, by a 17 year old living with mum and dad who apparantly knows all about property values, who has no qualifications at all, and earns???? multiple thousands of pounds by taking 6 crap photos on an Iphone and writing 2 deceptive paragraphs in a crappy one page print off that conveniently does not mention council tax charges, maintanance charges, ground rent etc.? Nothing that a prospective buyer might want to know? And then hands the whole sale process off to a 3rd party with no responsiblilty. ' incredible!

Last edited by happyjack; 2nd Feb 2023 at 04:07.
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Old 1st Feb 2023, 19:44
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I always use a Credit Card for ALL purchases then of there's a issue and tbe retailer doesn't / won't sort it I make a claim trough the CC Company for a charge back and so far I have had thr money back 3 times out of 4....the one I didn't win is currently with the financial ombudsman.....so still hope for 4/4
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Old 4th Feb 2023, 10:31
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I would go for the notion of cut costs and increase profits. I used to work for a big security company. The bosses kept telling how good we were at customer service. Once we decided to deny service to a customer because we didn't want to bother providing it. He threatened to write to the global HQ. We scrambled to provide the service. In the same company, a customer wanted the contract in English not the local language. We forgot all about being a global player and tell him not possible.

Hence it doesn't make much sense to buy a more expensive products since it is hard to know if the extra sum will go to bigger profits or better salaries and customer services
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Old 4th Feb 2023, 13:44
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Originally Posted by happyjack View Post
Customer service? UK estate agents? Has there ever been a bigger oxymoron?

As the buying party. Spending more than life itself. What service could one expect? What service does one get?.......!

For my last two house moves we have had very good estate agents - very diligent, personable and pro-active. We chose ones with good reputations and with offices on the high street, so we could go and speak to the agents in person, rather than via a call centre, and they couldn't escape us if things were not going well and we wanted action. (It never came to that).

We stayed well away from the cheap online agents - one of our purchasers in the same chain used them though, and they had a lot of problems.

Ours were not cheap, but you generally get what you pay for.
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