James Walker: Sent round in circles by poor customer service
One of the biggest sources of complaint is customer service. While it might not be the initial problem that people have contacted a business about, customer service features in over two-thirds of all the complaints we receive. Here are the chief examples:
Not being able to speak to a human.
No contact telephone number.
Being unable to email a complaint in.
Having to write a letter to make a complaint.
“Help” pages that send you around in circles but don’t answer the questions.
Forms you have to fill in on the website.
Automated email responses that you can’t respond to.
Call centres that can’t help or transfer/cut you off.
Call centre audibility and accessibility.
What’s interesting about this is the increasing numbers of people who are telling us that they can’t email their complaint to the business – or incredibly, being made to write a formal letter of complaint and post it.
Now not all technology is bad – and if you’ve got a simple question then a chatbot or a Q&A page can be helpful. But can you buck the system and find a person to listen to you if you have a more complex complaint?
Here are a few tips on what you can do to find a person who can help with your problem.
Exploit social media. There was a time when it was easy to jump the queue of angry people by sending a tweet or a message on Facebook. Businesses have got wise to this (some twitter accounts are automated now and some don’t let you post or comment) but it’s still a good way to find someone who can help. Send a short message asking for help and have your complaint ready to go on a private message.
The site map. Lurking at the bottom of the website is the site map where you can usually find better contact details.
Companies House. Check out the business listing on Companies House. At the very least you’ll find a head office address you can write to.
Make it clear you’re complaining. If you’re transferred from a call centre ask for the number that you’re being transferred to in case you get cut off. Insist on a written response so there is a record of your complaint.
Ask to add content. If you’re filling in an online form, make it clear that you have attachments and information you want to email to support the complaint.
Smartphone tricks. If the firm doesn’t have an accessible email (and it should, frankly) then why not photo your complaint letter and documents and ask if you can text or WhatsApp the pictures over?
Check the consumer forums. There are loads of online websites and forums where numbers and head office contact details are exchanged by people who’ve already been through the system so you don’t have to!
I’m launching a campaign to make it much easier to contact or make a complaint to a business. So I’d love to hear your horror stories about problems you’ve had getting hold of someone who can help with a complaint.