Faceless Bureaucracy……

11 Jul

It usually starts with the numbers 0845 and they’re all at it, even the Department of Work & Pensions.  They’re known in the trade as non-geographical numbers and are charged at a higher rate than a call to an 01 or 02 number……

Many of the organisations using them provide services to the people who are less able to afford the added cost of expensive calls.  As if to add insult to injury once you are connected you invariably find yourself being taken through a long winded choice of options which more often than not do not have a selection which serves your query.  After being offered the choice of listening to it all over again, you usually have the choice of holding for an operator.  You’ll usually be informed that “calls may be recorded for training & security purposes”.  By this time you’re usually 50p lighter and none the wiser in gaining the information you’re looking for……

Call me cynical but these faceless companies are simply seeking to recoup some of the costs of their customer services.  If customer services are an integral part of your organisation the cost of delivering them should be a natural part of your overheads and seeking to make money from your customers to cover them is unethical & in my opinion, a disgrace……

All of this would not be quite so bad if your query was resolved at the first call, or you could speak to the same person should you need to call again but this very rarely happens.  In my own experience, I am simply referred from one person to another, all at my expense……

Here’s my advice……

Put your query in writing and if possible get hold of the company’s Customer Charter.  This usually sets out the time scale you can expect your enquiry to be dealt with.  Always request a persons name and a direct telephone number for future contact.  If it is acceptable to both parties suggest any future communication is done via email.  This way you avoid being fobbed off with the “it’s not my department” line and take a little pleasure in knowing that the time saving & money making plans of your customer services department have been spoiled.  Now someone will have to write you a letter explaining their actions and taking up some of their valuable time.  Finally, keep copies of all your letters……

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