Customer Service – The Best and the Worst

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Which company saved your life this Christmas  or which company will you not be using again because of their poor service?

How was your customer experience in 2012 – I’d love to know.

In this day and age, most of us at sometime order goods online, I did most of my Christmas shopping on-line, and there is a lot of trust involved, you need to know that the company will live up to their promises, that they are trustworthy and that you can contact them if there is a problem (Yes, problems do happen, we understand that, to be informed is all that customers ask).  It is helpful to check for reviews on businesses before you order but people seem more inclined to post a bad review for the company that has upset them, than the company that has done as expected.

This is why an active social presence is so important, customers can see how businesses deal with people and problems. Some Brands really take advantage of this chance to boost brand loyalty. Even though some of them receive many complaints, at least they do try to answer customers –  maybe Brands such as –  Virginmedia, O2, Nokia, Orange, Xbox  Sainsburys –  I’m not saying they all get it right all of the time, (I’ve had many a run in with Virgin, but they try) this would not be possible with their customer base but they appear to be trying to improve or keep their good reputation and retain their customers.

Amazon – super service

It doesn’t surprise me to see Amazon on most of the lists for the best customer service or customer satisfaction, they almost always deliver quicker than they say – quality is good and they are contactable 7 days a week.  Apple are also up at the top with their own customer service. I’ve used these companies numerous times, and have never been disappointed.  Maybe you have?  Let me know.

Cambridge Accessories saved me this Christmas

With Amazon, its usually better if you are ordering from them direct but my best purchase this year was with Cambridge Accessories. Just before Christmas my hard drive died Sony was little or no help at all, so I ordered a new hard drive from Cambridge Accessories, delivery was 4-7 days but I paid for the quickest delivery which was up-to 3 days as I was desperate to get it fixed, no false promises from them. To my amazement it arrived the next day, and I’d only ordered it at 3pm, brilliant service, thank you Cambridge Accessories.

One relatively new business that I had problems with this year, did eventually listen. I was contacted by a senior member of staff via email and who said that they would sort out the problems that I discussed and even gave compensation, not that I wanted that, I just wanted some reassurance that others wouldn’t be dealt with this way, customers don’t like to be tricked or fooled into ordering and they sure do not like it when there is no way to contact with the company. I wouldn’t use this company again, the trust is lost, you see how fickle we consumers are, we have so many companies to choose from out there, we do not have to stick with the same supplier if they are useless.

Talking of useless …..

iWoot iAwful

However sometimes the horror story is from someone you might not expect – I want one of those –  a type of gadget shop online – when they first started in 2000, they cared – they won awards! –  it was their baby – but it was sold in 2010 to The Hut Group. Just wow!

The Hut Group who in 2009 and 2010 also won awards from Young Finance Director of the Year, 100 fastest growing tech company in the UK and Matthew Moulding won Bank of Scotland Entrepreneur of the year 2009.

I want one of those are otherwise known as iWoot, and it seems its now a different story, they just don’t have any customer service at all. Zilch!  AMAZING! 

  • The phone number says they are busy and cuts you off,
  • They don’t reply to emails,
  • They don’t reply on Twitter
  • They have a messaging system on their own website but they rarely reply to that, and if they do they haven’t read all of the other messages so their reply is late and not related to your last problem.

They charge for next-day delivery which is supposed to be free it states this on their own website, (see above) and then deliver over a week late – which for me, meant that I had to go out (yes, outside) and buy more Christmas presents in time for Christmas. No apologies, nothing.  If you search #iwoot on Twitter you will see that many other people have complained and received no answers – many of those customers are fighting for refunds. They do appear to have a presence on Social media but they simply post out adverts.

I could write a whole post about how bad I want one of those service is, but I want to look at the bigger picture.

Strangely enough when I was searching for the hut group online I found someone saying that Zavvi also owned by The hutgroup has the same answerphone message as iwoot – not accepting calls due to high volume, he is also fighting to get a refund. 

Obviously people / consumers can have different experiences with different companies but generally you can tell those Brands or Companies that care –

  • They Engage on Social Networks
  • You can contact them easily !
  • Others have positive things to say about the company.
  • Staff seem like they actually care, and go out of their way to help.
  • Staff listen –  and not read solutions from a card.
  • Staff need to be able to speak the language they are communicating in correctly.
  • Companies / Brands admit their mistakes.

Technology is increasingly making it easier for companies to connect directly with their customers and to show their GREAT customer service

Of course, the better our customer experience the more likely we, the customers are going to recommend that company or Brand. We certainly won’t be recommending or using those companies again that do not fulfill promises, lie or have a terrible customer service.

I would love to think that as we grow, using the various tools now available, that so will old and new businesses, for the better.

What were your best and worst experiences this year with Customer Service, lets big up the great companies, and warn the others that it is time they improved.