As you may have noticed, I can be a bit publicly moany. But sometimes, being a bit publicly moany can actually get results, whereas being a bit privately disgruntled gets you nowt.
I thought I’d share a success story. The names have been altered, to protect the innocent
me because I don’t want to get sued
Here is a little email that I sent to a Generic Mobile Phone Company:
Hello there Generic Mobile Phone Company:
How are you? Well? Good.
I’m not so good.
Allow me to explain:
The reason I’m not feeling so hot at the moment, is because of something that you (not you personally; you, The Company you) have done. And I just feel that I should let you know about your customer “service”. You may have noticed that I used quotation marks around the word “service.” It’s to highlight the irony. Because, service is sadly lacking in some parts and is shoddy, at best. As a positive (I was always taught to follow negatives up with positives) you (you, the Company you – I can’t review you personally) are excellent at selling. You genuinely can’t do enough for me, Mrs Customer, at that crucial stage where I am about to sign up for a commitment to you (you, the Company you.) But, once the selling is done, it all goes a bit downhill, doesn’t it? Once I’ve signed over a bit of monthly salary for two years, and you’ve got me – what then? If I dare to have a problem…well, that seems to be a different kettle of fish entirely.
Allow me to explain:
One day what happened was this – my mobile became unusable. I was unable to download anything, I was unable to purchase anything, and I was unable to get online. And then, suddenly & for no reason, after 3 months of ownership, the screen went completely black. So I took it into my local shop who sent it off for repair on 21st March.
I was comfortingly told, that I would have my phone back within 14 days, unless there was a big problem, but I would be kept informed at all times.
14 days came and went, and I was left uncontacted. If you know me (which you don’t) you’ll know that this is the sort of thing that makes me make this noise: “Grrr”
So, I waited another 3 days (just in case you were operating on some sleepy European time-scale.) But, after 17 days, of being phone-less I had heard nothing. So, what I did was this – I called the shop and explained that I wanted to know what had happened to my phone. The woman on the phone “listened” (there are those quotation marks again) to everything that I had to say, and then “helpfully” (do you see the pattern?) told me that my phone had ben sent away for repair.
I knew this. So I tried to progress the conversation.
I asked for any update on how my little patient was doing, and she told me: “It’s nothing to do with us – we don’t have it”
I knew that she didn’t have it, because I understand the concept of “sent away.”
Eventually, and after much cajoling on my part, I wheedled a contact number out of the woman who took my call, and I even got my repair number, although she did sullenly tell me I could obtain that myself from my paperwork. I mentioned that I was on the phone and it would be easier if she could just tell me what it was, and she said “I’ll have to boot it up and it’ll take ages. Do you want me to have to do that?” I did. I allowed her to boot it up. I thought it would be the most convenient for me. The customer. The paying customer.
Obviously, having to respond to a customer’s request during her paid working hours ruined her day, but I fear that I simply do not care…
So, armed with my spanking new contact number and my individual repair number, I decided to call your “repair hotline” (that is what you, The Company, call it. It is not an accurate name)
I tried to phone your fabulous repair “hotline” on no less than 18 occasions. Each and every time I called, I was advised by your robot that I was in queue position “1” and each and every time I called, something very strange happened – my call was cut off on each occasion after 4 minutes and 40 seconds, and I was simply told to email you from my phone as an alternative. I can’t email you from my phone – you have got it. Which is why I’m trying to phone you.
I don’t know if you’ve ever read Joseph Helier’s rather excellent classic work of fiction “Catch 22” – this strikes me as a modern-day (albeit more simplistic) interpretation of the conundrums faced within that novel. If you haven’t read it, may I suggest you do. It’s very good.
Right – back to this communication, and my reason for initiating it:
Generic Mobile Phone Company:– I just want to know where my sodding phone is, and if there’s any chance I’ll get it back within a reasonable amount of time, so that I can (if I wish) email, phone and take photographs using the phone that I am still paying a monthly charge for (bravo on that, by the way. Bravo.)
In terms of your customer “service” – do you know, (or care) how frustrating it is for a customer to have their call constantly cut short? Why do that? Why put me in position 1, and then snatch the promise of speaking to an actual person clean away from me? 18 calls at 4 minutes 40, is over an hour and a half of my life, that I will never get back. And that I am paying for. I am also without a mobile phone, which is a huge inconvenience. I am resorting to putting my sim into an old handset, which doesn’t really work properly (touch screen doesn’t respond to touch – NATCH) for emergencies, but this is proving fruitless also.
Look, Generic Mobile Phone Company. I just want my phone back. Or at least an approximation of when it’s going to happen. Or the opportunity to speak to someone who knows where my phone is.
Who’s going to help me out? Come on – there must be someone.
I would also like to take this opportunity to explain why I have emailed this account instead of using your contacts facility. Your online contacts page doesn’t really give me enough of an opportunity to explain myself. If it was more accessible, then I might have just sent you a brief complaint and left it at that. But the fact that you make it virtually impossible for anyone to send you any negative queries just makes my blood boil. It gets my sarcasm going. And then this happens. Do you see?
With that in mind, may I suggest that a) 3000 characters is nowhere NEAR enough to enable me say what I really think and b) when you ask how I would like you to respond to my request, in this instance offering me the choices of “text” and “call to mobile” is, once again, a little shortsighted. If you respond to my complaint with a “text” or a “call to mobile”, then you (the Company, you) will get to read it before I do. That just seems silly.
So that’s why it’s this way, rather than try to utilise the rather difficult-to-access complaints procedure on your website
May I also take this opportunity to “congratulate” you on your fine “Question and Answer” section. When I asked “How Do I Make A Complaint” you suggested I meant one of the following:
How to make a complaint against a third party provider
How to make a complaint regarding nuisance texts
How to make a complaint regarding nuisance calls
Complaints about online billing
…but nothing about how I might make a complaint about you….. I do hope I’ve found a way…
Yours in eager anticipation
Thanks for your email Bectora advising me that you would like to know your repair status.
I’m sorry if you still needed to get back to us about this matter and I know how important it is for you to know the progress the repair. I’ll be more than glad to sort this out for you.
I can understand that you preferred to receive an email response however, I feel that your concern can be best resolved over the phone and you might have follow up questions about your account. Hence, I’ve decided to try to call you on this numbers 079******93 and apparently, I’m unable to get in touch with you.
Bectora,, I appreciate your comment about our customer service, rest assured that this will be taken care of immediately. I will send your feedback right away to my manager so he’ll be able to cascade this to our next level of support and will be addressed right away. It will be cascaded to everybody so our service will be improved in the future.
I’ve consulted our repair team for you and I was advised that your phone was received on 25 March at around 12:36. Once it has been received it may take up to 14 calendar days to be repaired and returned to you.
Furthermore, you may get in touch with our repair centre through this helpline number
************* so you’ll also be advised what exactly the progress is about your phone. However, you can still always monitor your repair status through our website by clicking HERE
Moreover, as gesture of goodwill, we’ll compensate the number of days you’re unable to use the service and I would also like to offer you one free month of phone usage as a gesture of goodwill for the inconvenience that you have been caused just please get back to us once you receive your phone back so we’ll be able to effectively add the credit on your account
If you wish to further discuss this matter, you may reply to this email with your alternative number and the convenient time to call so I can arrange a call back for you.
Thanks again for your email Bectora,I hope this puts your mind at rest and I’ve explained everything clearly for you.
If you have any further queries, please feel free to reply to this email