Customers contacting your business: why you need to let it happen

Customers contacting your business: why you need to let it happen

A few years ago, I had a few issues with a utilities company.

When I say 'a few', I'm actually thinking of a number which would have made Norris McWhirter (of Guinness Book of Records fame) blush. Indeed, there is still a head-shaped dent in my wall at home, just above where my 'phone sits, which evidences that company's determined and singular inability to provide me with what I wanted.

Most of the time, it was simply impossible to contact anybody. It would have been easier and considerably less stressful to locate a lost tribe in the Brazza-Digul region of Papua New Guinea than to find anybody who was in a position to help.

If I finally managed to get through to someone--by this point I had given up on sending any letters to the company as every single one was ignored--all I ever received was a flurry of scripted platitudes about how sorry it was for the problems that I was experiencing.

In Twitter-speak, the unfortunate situation could be summarised as follows: #fail.

I didn't get it. Why was this company so determined to take its customer service to such record-breaking low levels?

To quote Which?:

With nearly nine in 10 (86%) consumers saying they would leave a brand that treated them poorly, it's clear that the quality of customer service can either make or break even the biggest names.  In these times of economic hardship companies simply can't afford to compete on brand awareness or price alone if they want to be sure of retaining their customers: (Which? customer service survey)


For me, customer service starts with the basics--and I mean basics. I am always surprised when even well-known companies don't put full details of their names and contact details on their website. It makes me think that they are dodgy. What have they got to hide?

The law agrees with me: under the Company Tradi

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