Would you pay more? Shop around longer? Or switch supplier? Nearly eight in 10 of us say customer service is important when deciding which companies to use – but that doesn’t always translate into action.
Thousands of us are still customers of the worst performing firms, according to our latest customer service survey. Firms languishing at the bottom of our table include Scottish Power, nPower, BT and TalkTalk.
Nearly nine in 10 people told us that poor service puts them off using a company again, so companies have a clear incentive to offer a service that makes customers smile.
So why are we still handing over our hard-earned cash to these companies in droves?
Perhaps when it comes to essential services, such as energy and telecoms, we don’t feel we have much of a choice. And although switching should be easy, maybe customers don’t see that it will make much difference?
Speak out against bad service
Call me pig-headed, but I’m quite unforgiving. I work hard for my money and hate the idea of giving it to a firm which treats me badly.
So when an engineer from my old energy provider didn’t turn up to service my boiler several times in row, I complained, got a refund – and then promptly cancelled the contract.
But there comes a point when making a principled stand has practical implications.
I wasn’t impressed when my supermarket sent me some almost out-of-date sausages during a recent online grocery order. But a quick apology and generous refund quickly dampened the flames of my anger. My weekly shop is well established with them and it seems like a lot of hassle to set up a new account with a rival supermarket. So I continue to shop with them.
In our survey a few issues emerged that frustrate us the most. Nearly half of people said they were irritated by call centres not being based in the UK; around a third dislike automated telephone systems; and a third were annoyed about being passed around lots of different people. Sound familiar?
Feeling powerless is one of the most frustrating aspects of bad customer service: but that’s exactly why companies dishing out bad service think they can get away with it.
And, in turn, that’s precisely why we should vote with our feet (and wallets) – as well as remaining loyal to the good guys.
Just how far would you go to get decent customer service? And at what stage do practicalities win out over principles when it comes to making a stand?