Thursday, 4 June 2015

Can staff giving out information please be informed?

Today's blog is going to be somewhat 'rant' style.  The element of marketing that it pertains to is - Customer Service.  Well, that's the official title that it goes by, but it relates to any member of staff being in the position of giving 'information' to customers.  So, how many times have you been misinformed directly by the company. Not by hearsay, a friend telling you something second hand, but actually by a representative of the company itself.

Well, two such incidents occurred this week - both by big guns - and as neither are clients, I can name and shame.  The first is the DVLA and the second, Barclays Bank.

DVLA - when last paying my car tax online, I had the option of saving a fiver by paying by direct debit.  Now that I have no tax disk to check, I was concerned that I would forget when my tax was due.  I also wanted to know if the direct debit was for the one off payment or for a regular six-monthly payment.  So I made the arduous task of phoning the DVLA (several number options, a song and several minutes later I was connected to a helpful human).  I asked purposefully and clearly whether the direct debit would be taken again.  He said no it would not, it was just to do the one off payment and each time I need to choose that option again when paying online.  Fine.  I asked if he was sure, he said 'absolutely'.  I then asked if I would be notified that my tax was due.  He said I would be and that it was only the tax disk that was being scrapped.  I reiterated.  He repeated.  I would definitely be told when it was due and the next payment definitely wouldn't be taken from my account.

You know where this is going now don't you?  Yes, today a direct debit was taken for £120 which I only saw because I looked at my app today.  Did I get a notice to say my tax was about to expire? Did I hell as like.  Did I get advance notice of the direct debit going out - like I do from O2, PlusNet and others?  No, don't be silly.

So I appeal to all business owners - big and small - make sure the people on the front line know their onions and do not misinform your customers.  When we call back and complain to say how we were misinformed, we get "well, I don't know who told you that, they shouldn't have told you that" - which is absolutely useless to us after the fact.  If they don't know the answer, please train them to ask someone who does know rather than make something up on the fly.  We, the consumer, would much rather wait for a correct answer than get a quick wrong answer. 

If anyone has any stories of misinformation from companies, I'd love to hear them.  Barclays will follow next blog.

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