At the BPIR.com we have been focusing on collecting good or best practices. This is what we believe our customers want. However, perhaps we can learn just as much from bad practices – of what not to do!
There are many cases of poor service that I could highlight but I will highlight the most recent that happened today. It was to do with Vodafone, a mobile phone service provider. I was thinking of not naming the company but how else will we get these companies to change? Over the last week or so I had gone in and out of their website to make changes to my add-on services. In each instance there were problems with their website – saying that the service was unavailable and various functions not working. This was not untypical, I have had similar experiences in the last few years but I still preferred to use their website than their automated phone service which is equally frustrating (especially when entering information via their top-up system and if something goes wrong, as it often does, the whole process needs to be gone through again).
Well today I managed to top-up My Account via the website and then I selected one of their Add-On services – Best Mates. I managed to add 3 best mate phone numbers but when I clicked on submit I received a message to say the numbers were not recorded and to contact customer service. However, the system still took $18.00 from my account!
I then rang their customer service. To speak to customer service and complain about their customer service I was informed by the automated message that I will need to pay $1.00 for this privilege. I had to press “1” on my phone to agree to this as there was no alternative. Unfortunately, after pressing “1” the call dropped off and so I was now in a situation where I had paid $18.00 for a service that didn’t work and another $1. I then went through the whole process again for another $1 and managed to speak to customer service.
At this point I complained about my experience but I could tell it was on deaf ears and nothing would change in the future. The person said they knew there were problems with the website and apololgised. I recommended that until the website works correctly it should be taken out of service or have warnings not to use the My Account area. Surely, it is not too hard for a large global company which reports huge profits to have a website that works? Surely they must realize that many of their WebPages do not work correctly?
Well, at least, Vodafone did reimburse the $2 for speaking to their customer service but of course they would not reimburse me for the time I wasted using their website (over an hour over the last week). Unfortunately, Vodafone is not alone. Many companies survive and prosper even though they have many bad practices – particularly to do with service delivery. This is usually because there are few alternatives for the customer or it takes too much time and effort for the customer to make a switch.
So that is my story. I am not sure how valuable it is as a learning experience for other companies? How important is it for your company to listen to your customers? Do your employees use your company’s products and services so that they can experience these from the perspectives of a customer? What is your opinion on whether the BPIR.com should highlight bad practices? Should we have a section on our website allowing our members to record bad practices to encourage companies to get their act together? Perhaps these could be balanced by allowing members to add good practices too for the same company.
Your thoughts please?