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Who’s smashed your customer service expectations?

Good customer service in a shoe shop

When choosing where to buy a product or service, is good customer service more important than the lowest price? If you go for a low-budget option, are you happy to receive low-quality customer service?

Customer service is important to me and has a big influence on which companies I spend money with. Dealing with a company that never gets back to me, doesn’t answer my queries or employs unhelpful, rude or untrained staff can be frustrating and inconvenient to say the least.

So, if I’m given a choice, I always opt for companies with friendly, knowledgeable staff – particularly if I’m making a big purchase or it’s a company that I’ll have to deal with regularly. In these cases I don’t even mind splashing out a little extra cash if it means I can be sure of better customer service.

Of course, it’s all relative. If I’m using a budget brand I don’t expect them to roll out the red carpet and pop the champagne every time I arrive in the store, or play a fanfare when I call them up. But downright bad customer service is something that none of us should have to put up with.

If a company can’t be bothered to invest a little time and money in good staff training, then why should I invest my time and money in their product or service?

Awful customer service really makes me think twice about using a company, regardless of how much I like their products or how cheap they are in comparison to other brands.

Customer service worth shouting about

In a previous Conversation many of you shared examples of customer service, both good and bad. CASussex had a mixed experience with Truprint:

‘I had a problem web-ordering a Truprint photo book back in January. After several emails, having to upload problem snaps (heads cut off, etc), re-uploading the lot and re-ordering (same result), I requested a refund that I finally received today (after re-registering payment card on my web account). Throughout, the company was quick to respond, courteous and helpful, but the initial product was not fit for purpose.’

Tabbyturbo had a positive experience with Amazon, recent winners of a Which? Award for customer care:

‘A DVD hadn’t arrived, so I called to ask if they could please send me a replacement. Their customer services were so helpful, polite and even apologetic. It arrived the next day! So thank you for your great customer service, Amazon.’

A friendly service has made a big difference to Mary-Ann:

‘I want to commend two companies which have consistently provided us with excellent customer service. They are: The Co-operative Bank and Good Energy (electricity and gas). Probably no surprises there, but every time I need to call (not frequently), I have gotten through quickly, the customer service agent has been courteous, friendly, efficient and have provided the information I need or taken care of the problem. I wish I could say that about all companies I have to deal with.’

How important is customer service to you? Would unhelpful staff put you off using a company full stop? Or are you able to look past poor customer service if other factors, such as price or product quality, are right?

Which companies have treated you exceptionally well or exceeded your customer service expectations? Has a company ever treated you so badly that you’ve resolved never to use them again?


British Gas is another company with no care in the world for customers.

A few weeks ago, I had to kick up a big fuss before getting compensation from a failing on the part of one of their employees.

A few years ago, I was expecting a boiler service. The engineer turned up late one evening and put a card through the door saying that he had called, but nobody was at home. Unfortunately for him, I was standing beside that door and insisted that he do the job that I had been waiting for all day. Needless to say, he got a right roasting afterwards. One type that gets me very angry is lazy people.

BG is also inefficient. I often get duplicates of the same letter, even though the details on both are identical.