The customer has returned from exile…. (part 2) ‘The grumpy old man’ view

It is not difficult to recognise the organisations that have changed their strategy – just try ringing them. If this idea has already brought back terrible memories and filled you with dread, then you have tried to contact an organisation that still hasn’t woken up to the recession. All organisations have to tell you that the call may be recorded and monitored for training and quality purposes, although one style of organisation realises that you are paying for the privilege of telephoning them and can stretch this opening message out beyond belief.


Whoever made the wonderful invention of the telephone system that gives you four options, followed by another four options, followed by more options has a lot to answer for. Now, to make matters worse, you can get the computerised voice asking you a series of questions, such as your postcode and name, followed by a series of questions with yes / no options. Not only do I have to listen to this computerised message, I’m now talking to it!

Once you complete all these options, if you still have the will to live, you get told that all of the advisers are busy and that your call will be answered as soon as an adviser is free. Then you get the wonderful music to keep you entertained – whilst you are still paying for the call, considering all of the better things you could be doing with your life and wondering why they don’t employ more advisers. Then, when you do get a response, you quickly realise that the call centre is not based in this country!

Having moved house recently, like everyone else, I had to make a number of these calls. By day three I had decided to change my Internet service provider, one of my energy suppliers and my bank – all because of the abysmal customer service I received.

Well, apparently it doesn’t have to be like this. If you don’t believe me then try telephoning first direct (as you can guess, they weren’t my bank, but are now). I know there are people who will have had a bad experience with them but you get an answer quickly from an actual human being who can understand English and engages with you. They have made the transfer from my old bank as easy as possible and, as a consequence I have already recommended them to a friend.

We all know that ‘word of mouth’ referrals are best and the way to get them is to change the culture of your organisation with a strategy that ensures that the customer is king – long live the king!

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