Customer Service – The Best and the Worst

 

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. 

Why aren’t all SMEs getting into Social Media

Image CC – http://www.flickr.com/photos/fidenaut/4486173747/

Some SMEs are not using Social Media or not using it correctly

Just being active on social media platforms like Google+ Twitter and Facebook can improve the way consumers view a company.

Maybe they should read this How social media can benefit small businesses 

If only for customer service, we the consumers want this..  

Why? the following story could have been avoided, if the company was more accessible and responsive, correct use of social media can do this.

Without going into it, I had already been let down by one company and had lost 4 days.

Next stop – Wedo Beds

I had seen a few companies on-line offering the same bed and mattress for about the same price on Next Day Delivery. It was quite an unusual bed – as it was 4ft and black/brown – to match other furniture.

Businesses supplying this product were companies that I had never heard of, I searched for them on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ nothing. There was nothing on the website with links for social media either. Which concerned me a little. What business is not on social media now, this is crazy.  So, I searched Google for reviews.  I found a couple of good reviews for Wedo Beds free next day delivery.  

I eventually did find accounts for WoDoSimple which I assume is part of the group or the head of the group – but these accounts were mostly unused with the token one day a post – if that.

Thursday –  20th of September I ordered the items. It wasn’t until I got past the checkout that I noticed, that orders had to be in before 12 midday for Next Day Delivery and it was now 1pm.  Being it was Thursday this would now mean delivery for Monday.

Friday  – I got an email saying there was a problem with verifying my bank account details,  don’t worry they said just confirm your delivery / invoice address and if you do this before 12 it will still be out for next day, I did this at 10am

Monday – Waiting for delivery –

  • 3pm a little worried that I’d not had confirmation of delivery.   I telephoned WeDo Beds, I was met with a voicemail, I would be called back within 1 hour.
  • 5pm I called again – voicemail again saying I would be called within the hour.
  • 5.20pm received a call saying there was a problem with verification and delivery was delayed until tomorrow – I explained what the email said, and she just said, Well its out for delivery tomorrow.

Tuesday

  • 9am – Phone call – There is a problem with the mattress and that won’t be delivered until Wednesday – (You couldn’t make this up) I was not amused. I said it better be sent on same day then, I have already waited in for two days –  we can’t do that.  I asked for the manager to call me back within the hour to sort this out.
  • 11am –  I explained that service had not been satisfactory so far, he was most apologetic the mattress suppliers were different and they’d had a problem, I would still get the Bed though. (Like that helped) Eventually, giving up, I said ok I can get someone else to wait in, so he said being as this was their problem, he would call back later that day – to let me know if it was AM or PM, to make it easier for me.
  • Later – No phone call. Bed Arrived but of course it couldn’t be used as no mattress.

I did however have a text message from the courier company saying the mattress was out for delivery on Wednesday,  so I left it that the person would just wait at home all day for me.

Wednesday – 26th September –  I was out all day – but I had someone wait for me.

  • 4pm – Still no Mattress, I had the managers number from yesterday so I called it – asked why he hadn’t called me back yesterday. He said “Oh someone was supposed to, I will call the delivery people and find out where they are”  He did and they called me.
  • 5pm it was delivered.
  • 20 more hours and free next day delivery would have taken a full week.

This would have had a better result if customer service was better and more accessable, ie on Social Networks.

  • I could have checked them out first
  • I could have chatted with them about my concerns
  • I could have spoken to someone right away.  Instead of just feeling that I was being fobbed off with excuse after excuse or being placated.

My mistake, I won’t make it again.

With more than 50% of the UK population using social media I don’t see how businesses can avoid it for much longer.

EDIT: I had a response to this blog post from Jason the Ecommerce Director at We Do Beds (Or We Do )  basically to apologise and to explain in part that that they do have social networks but they don’t advertise them at this time as it is not a part of their budget – I as you can imagine explained it should be but I appreciate that he took the time to contact me, and he is looking into the delays on this order.

Whatever the problems really, I was frustrated that three days I had to be in or have someone wait in, because I wasn’t kept informed.