customer service vs. customer acquisition

I’ve had a bit of a bad run with technology recently.  In the last couple of months, the following have gone wrong on me: two mobiles, PC, laptop, 3G dongle thingy, TomTom satnav, Bluetooth dongle, printer and broadband. Trying to get all these technology issues resolved has been a real eye-opener around customer service and brand delivery (or lack thereof). 

But what has really struck me is that perhaps these brands should be directing a little more resource towards keep my loyal custom than charging after the holy grail of Brand New Customers.  It seems that even in today’s reputation conscious era, some companies really would rather take the (contract) money and run.

For example, it turns out that Vodafone have a bit of a chinese wall between their retail operation and call centre which meant when my new mobile died after a fortnight I faced a 30 mile round trip to the store I bought it from for a replacement.  Add in overseas call centre staff with a ‘computer says no’ mentality and I didn’t really feel like the brand cared about me and my custom.  I’d much rather have my problems resolved quickly and painlessly than the remote possibility of VIP tickets to some event, thanks all the same.

Tiscali / TalkTalk undoubtedly suck the most.  I’m having to upload this via my rather slow ( but at least now fixed) 3G dongle as my broadband has been down for 48 hours.  It turned out that Tisacli / TalkTalk’s second line engineers aren’t available for some reason at 9.30am on a Friday and a promised call from them booked for Saturday evening never materialised.  When I called on Saturday evening to ask why an engineer hadn’t rung, the guy on the other end of the phone pointed out that it was 2.30 am his time and the engineering department were “not there”.  Neither apparently were any supervisors, managers, or anyone who could help in any way.  But I did get a customer satisfaction survey on email.  I expect you can imagine how I scored them ‘on a scale of one to ten’.  Talk Talk might be spending squillions on X-Factor sponsorship, but if their customers are going to keep complaining about customer service online like me, perhaps some of that cash should be redirected towards retention rather than acquisition.

Oh, and in an effort to get some results I tried contacting both brands on twitter.  Only Vodafone bothered to respond and that was to ask me to email their customer services team…

cartoon by Tom Fishburne

2 thoughts on “customer service vs. customer acquisition

  1. Broadband fixed! No engineer call from Talk Talk as promised on Sunday morning either but I got stroppy enough to get put through to a supervisor who had it fixed within ten minutes…

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