Customer Service

What a pile of utter BS.

I haven’t been online this week because OneBill’s idea of resolving customer disputes is to cut people’s phone line off if they don’t do as they are told.

A few years ago I signed up with OneBill when they promised £10 a month line rental and inclusive phone calls.

The last time I bothered to look at the bill it was £25, month after month. Which isn’t a lot, but I hardly ever use the phone given I’ve got an all-the-calls-you-can-eat package on the mobile. Well, on the new mobile. Vodafone had the same approach to customer service OneBill has. I told them I couldn’t get any signal and it had got worse over the past few years.

No problem sir. We’ll cancel your contract.

But you’re investing millions of pounds a day. Your website says so.

Not to worry sir, we’ll cancel your contract.

Why can’t I have the service I’ve paid for?

Don’t worry, we’ll cancel your contract.

I appreciate these people on the end of the phone don’t have any autonomy and they’re only doing their jobs. Actually I don’t. I don’t care what their problems are. I am paying their wages, and they’ve got a job this week, which is more than I have. If “I was only following orders” didn’t cut it as an excuse at Nuremberg I don’t see why it should now.

Consumer Units

We are being treated not even as consumer units, but disposable ones. Not by all companies, by any means. But some of the biggest, EBay, who simply don’t deign to answer queries, Amazon, more talking to a wall, the Post Office, so farcically over-priced and unproductive and so stupid they actually show a graph of the decline in postal volumes on the same page as a graph showing the increase in the CEO’s salary, all the way down to the ‘we’ll cancel your contract’ approach displayed by Vodafone and OneBill, it’s the same message: there are plenty more customers where you came from. Think yourself lucky. If you don’t like it, go somewhere else.

It’s nice to be thought of as disposable, isn’t it? How many earnest young marketing executives do you think there are there, brightly debating customer churn and retention strategies, right this minute? The really dangerous thing is this: these companies employ lots of people. They’re some of the biggest employers in the UK. Just like the banks, when they lay people off and entrust them to the tender care of food banks and repossession sales, the way they’ve treated other people just makes most people think ‘good.’

Luckily for me there’s wifi at the local pub, 200 yards from my house, until I get another provider sorted-out. In state-of the art England today it takes an entire working week to push a button and connect the line. Honestly, it does. BT told me, with a straight face, not even crossing their finers behind their back and smirking while they said it. This isn’t a Third World country. In the Third World people treated like this would start burning down office blocks.

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