Has modern customer service deteriorated?

Xenomorph

Member
I may have been unlucky, but recently I've had several experiences of bad customer service. These have been with ISP, energy providers, furniture suppliers. I won't bore you with details, but the thing that seems to be a common thread with these problems is automated computer systems. It seems like these days it's really difficult to actually speak with someone. And even when you do, they rely on processes which are controlled through software systems. That's fine, except where the data is wrong, or assumptions are made. Don't always assume the computer is right!

I really am the last person to be anti-technology, but in a lot of ways, I feel that it actually gets in the way, and causes extremely poor customer service and resolution of problems. I think what's happened is that companies have scaled down their call centre capabilities, in favour of online resolution. Very often you'll get a better response to problems on Twitter, than trying to phone them.
What do you think, has customer service got worse? Does technology get in the way?
 
D

Deleted member 897717

Guest
I may have been unlucky, but recently I've had several experiences of bad customer service. These have been with ISP, energy providers, furniture suppliers. I won't bore you with details, but the thing that seems to be a common thread with these problems is automated computer systems. It seems like these days it's really difficult to actually speak with someone. And even when you do, they rely on processes which are controlled through software systems. That's fine, except where the data is wrong, or assumptions are made. Don't always assume the computer is right!

I really am the last person to be anti-technology, but in a lot of ways, I feel that it actually gets in the way, and causes extremely poor customer service and resolution of problems. I think what's happened is that companies have scaled down their call centre capabilities, in favour of online resolution. Very often you'll get a better response to problems on Twitter, than trying to phone them.
What do you think, has customer service got worse? Does technology get in the way?

Yes and yes.
 

mjn

Distinguished Member
CS is usually crap, because the pay is crap. Crap pay = crap employees. Crap employees = crap service.

Simples.
 

Maxatoria

Active Member
Customer service costs money and the shareholders generally don't want that spending on anything but them.

Good customer service can not cost that much as its a lot harder to recruit new customers than it is to keep the current ones happy with a few sweeteners now and again.
 

MrFraggle

Distinguished Member
Customer service usually worsens as a company grows, I have noticed that particularly with energy companies as even the smaller companies have poor CS.
Then of course the bigger companies farm CS out to Asia where I rarely understand their accents anyway and even if I could they seem to work to a script and are totally lost if forced to deviate.
 

Xenomorph

Member
Customer service costs money and the shareholders generally don't want that spending on anything but them.

The shareholders really should care about this. Because if I get bad service, I'm less likely to buy from that company in future, and therefore the revenue, and their dividends will suffer.
 

Maxatoria

Active Member
The shareholders really should care about this. Because if I get bad service, I'm less likely to buy from that company in future, and therefore the revenue, and their dividends will suffer.
Should do but quite often they're corporate entities and thus just demand growth no matter what the cost is so long as they hit this quarters targets.

It's why people prefer the face to face approach as generally there's more empathy since you can see the real picture.
 

Miss C DeVille

Well-known Member
Years ago if you spoke to someone in customer service, asking for advice on something, most of them knew what they were talking about.
These days it seems like they read from a script and have no real knowledge, especially with large companies.
I was watching the Curry's advert on TV the other night and one bright spark said you'll know when your freezer's the right temperature when your ice cubes go hard...well duh!
 

Flashy

Well-known Member
Years ago if you spoke to someone in customer service, asking for advice on something, most of them knew what they were talking about.
These days it seems like they read from a script and have no real knowledge, especially with large companies.
I was watching the Curry's advert on TV the other night and one bright spark said you'll know when your freezer's the right temperature when your ice cubes go hard...well duh!

That is very useful to know, thanks. :rotfl:
Useful if you acknowledge it's wrong. Water will freeze at zero Celsius, but freezers should be about 18 degrees colder than that. :)
 

Miss C DeVille

Well-known Member
Useful if you acknowledge it's wrong. Water will freeze at zero Celsius, but freezers should be about 18 degrees colder than that. :)
So Curry's are giving out incorrect information. I'll wait and see if the whole country comes down with food poisoning with people following their advice :D

Here's the advert -
 

Aetius

Banned
A desperate attempt to avoid admitting responsibility seems common, they can’t have made a mistake it must be your fault.

I guess they’re worried that such an admission is admitting liability.

I’ve had someone at NatWest be adamant that not only had they sent a letter but I had definitely read it. Posting it fair enough, but to insist that they knew I had read it was quite a leap.

Similarly Swiftcover emails saying that they had documents for a claim and a chain of emails discussing details of the collision wasn’t evidence that I’d sent them anything. They decided I was at fault as I’d failed to send them anything, and flat out refused to admit that they had simply screwed up.
 

Donald duck

Distinguished Member
I personally think customers from time to time talk a load of old twaddle, those that cost cut or look for discounts are always wanting to extract more value than the transaction/exchange is worth.
 
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Autumn Rain

Well-known Member
A desperate attempt to avoid admitting responsibility seems common, they can’t have made a mistake it must be your fault.

I guess they’re worried that such an admission is admitting liability.

I’ve had someone at NatWest be adamant that not only had they sent a letter but I had definitely read it. Posting it fair enough, but to insist that they knew I had read it was quite a leap.
Do letters come with "read" notifications like Facebook Messenger now? I haven't got the update.
 

Aetius

Banned
Do letters come with "read" notifications like Facebook Messenger now? I haven't got the update.
It really was quite weird.

I normally made about £80 in rewards, then suddenly pennies. And when queried this guy insisted that I’d read the letter notifying me of the change.

He simply knew that I had read it.
 
D

Deleted member 897717

Guest
CS is usually crap, because the pay is crap. Crap pay = crap employees. Crap employees = crap service.

Simples.

As part of my job I speak directly to and survey a lot of CS employees. Not all but a substantial majority will often tell me the most "frustrating" part of their job is that the company "systems" be they IT or architecture (and frequently both) stop them/do not enable them to deal with many of the "less common" complaints/problems. With the result they (and the caller know) the customer is going to have to make another call, wait in another "queue", explain the issue all over again and needless to say they then take the negative reaction from the customer. And despite them suggesting/asking to get the situation changed the people higher up the chain do nothing.

I also look at a lot of the material that companies hold resulted in "formal complaints"/legal judgements/adverse rulings from regulators/widespread negative media exposure etc ie when it's all gone t**s up. When you "dig down" into many (not all) of these they originate at "first point of contact"...sometimes with a poor employee...but more often with the failure of the "system" to resolve an issue at that point. You see the same generic issue happening time and time over and when you ask the question "well what have you done about this steady stream of of issues to do with X?" you get a look like you just arrived from the planet Zog. 😡
 

mjn

Distinguished Member
I've worked first line support before and anybody that is any good at their job soon leaves for a better job.

But lets not forget that customers can be right arseholes as well.
 

Autumn Rain

Well-known Member
I've worked first line support before and anybody that is any good at their job soon leaves for a better job.

But lets not forget that customers can be right arseholes as well.
Me too. It's not a job I would want to do again, certainly not on the phones.
 

mjn

Distinguished Member

Greg Hook

Moderator & Reviewer
John Lewis is a perfect case of what happens when you outsource your formerly excellent customer service to a bunch of muppets. They failed to grasp what damage was being caused for years and have now paid the price for all the lost customers and revenue.

These days I'd be quite happy to do it all via online chat. It's usually much quicker than having to phone someone up.

But anyone that has to deal with the self entitled morons that phone up everyday needs a medal.
 

Xenomorph

Member
I've worked first line support before and anybody that is any good at their job soon leaves for a better job.

But lets not forget that customers can be right arseholes as well.

Well, believe me I'm one of the most patient and reasonable people on the planet. But honestly, recent events have really worn me down, stressed me out, and I've lost all confidence in companies. My default expectation now is for a screw up to happen.
 

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