You shouldn’t need a customer service department.

Many of the problems that we deal with here following the emails we receive from readers are really tiny issues. They should never reach us. They should, instead, have been sorted out in the shop or call centre that they originated. We became involved because someone somewhere didn’t take the time to deal with a customer properly. Or couldn’t be bothered listening to the genuine issue that a customer brought to their door.

And that’s really frustrating.

It’s frustrating for us because we have to spend time emailing and phoning the company concerned trying to resolve what is usually a fairly straightforward issue. More importantly it’s frustrating for all of you out there who have to write to me in the first place because I’m sure you all have much better things to do with your time than compose and send ranting emails to me.

But it’s also really frustrating for all of the people who work in shops and call centres and have to listen to my moans or your moans about something that they might not be responsible for in the first place – because, as I said a minute ago, the fault probably lies with another member of the company that couldn’t be bothered doing their job properly in the first place.

So this is a heartfelt plea today from me to every one of you out there working in customer services. If a customer calls you or comes into your shop with a genuine complaint please take the time to listen to that complaint. Try to understand why your customer is complaining in the first place. Try to do what you can to help your customer resolve his or her complaint. It’s not enough to say “It wasn’t me, it was someone else who made that decision”.  Or “Sorry, the department that deals with that issue won’t speak to you.”

I heard someone say today. “Customer service is not a department. It’a a philosophy”. That sums it up perfectly.

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