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Why is customer service such a struggle sometimes?

My bank called me recently to check some transactions on my credit card. We went through the most recent purchases and I told them they had missed one out – for a hotel I had stayed in the previous night. “Oh, that one didn’t go through, it was referred.” I don’t think so, I replied, as far as I was aware it was all okay. “Well we told the merchant five times to call us so that we could make sure it was you and they didn’t so I’m telling you it wasn’t authorised.”

The conversation went downhill from there and included phrases like “What do you expect me to do about it” and “No I can’t give you my surname”. What. Even after I’ve told you my full name, account number, shoe size, mother’s maiden name and the name of every goldfish I have ever owned. What happens if there is more than one Mary in your global operation?

It finished with that well-worn phrase “Can I please speak to your manager?”

Compare that with a call from another company. I had a visit from an engineer to repair my washing machine. He’d been a few times already, to assess the damage and to bring and fit a spare part, but something still wasn’t right. The girl I spoke to couldn’t have been more helpful. She called the engineer who had visited to ask if he would call me to see if we could find an easy solution. He called – even although it was 9pm and agreed to visit first thing the next morning before he started his work for the day.

Two companies, two very different conversations. From the beginning of the call from my Bank I felt as if I was fighting them – even although they were supposed to be helping me by preventing my card being used fraudulently.

The other company couldn’t have been more helpful. Their objective was to make sure my washing machine worked, and the girl I spoke to did everything she could, and more, to ensure that happened.

I know which conversation left me more satisfied.

Which kind of call do you seem to have more often – the first type or the second?

One Response to Why is customer service such a struggle sometimes?

  • Colin Kennedy says:

    Definitely the first type of conversation with banks. Just finished a series of conversations with HSBC to allow my son access to the family mortgage benefits afforded by my Premier account, something that they advertise but seem to train their staff on in a very inconsistent manner. At the end, I wondered whether it was worth all the agro to save my son £250!

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Bank of England Governor Mark Carney hinted last week that interest rates could be on the move soon and it seems as though this announcement is already leading to some lenders increasing their rates for borrowers.
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