peterbirks: (Default)
Big companies have different departments. Marketing, Sales, Customer Service, Technical Services. And they all hate each other. They must do. Why else would marketing send out material which technical services have no chance of keeping up with?

If you want to have a look at the way of the world as it is today, you need look no further than The Guardian's Jobs And Money Section each Saturday. A random selection turns up the following.

1) Abbey National managed to arrange it so that a mortgage for £9,000 taken out in 1970, converted to a repayment mortgage in 1978 (yes, 27 years ago), turned out to have a balance of £13,500 in 2005. I'm not quite sure how a mortgage where repayments have mostly been made promptly can end up with the mortgagee being more in debt than he was 35 years previously but, that's finance for you. Apparently if the debtor carried on paying at £100 a month he would be debt free in 2028. Between now and then he would pay Abbey £26,400, 3 times the original debt. It would appear that he has already paid them about £25,000. Nice business, this lending. No wonder Abbey does all it can to make sure the principal is never paid off. Tony Soprano would be proud.

2) One-Tel, owned by Centrica, offered a man a broadband service. By "Broadband" and "Service" they mean "no broadband" and "no service". So the guy cancelled, after much inconvenience. Except that One-Tel had "monopolized" the line. They wouldn't provide the broadband, but no-one else could either. Then they denied that it was anything to do with them. The poor guy had to go to the head office, insist on speaking to a senior manager, and get that manager to speak to BT, who then said that Centrica had control of the broadband on that line.

These two examples sum up the "gap theory" of customer service in Britain today. Marketing will send lots of glossy brochures, which bear no relationship to reality. When I find a service that works (as, to its credit, my BT broadband system does) I would happily pay significantly more for that level of service to be guaranteed. When I hire a car in the US, I use Avis. Yes, they are expensive. And, yes, their system has worked for me and their staff have been efficient. Kwik-Fit are the same. But these are minorities. More often it is British Gas, or NTL, Or One-Tel, or all the other "use us and it will be cheaper!" companies that simply cannot deliver what the wankers in marketing have promised.

At work, I make a point of replying to any queries from subscribers as soon as they come in. Frequently they are dumbfounded by the speed of the response and the thanks are effusive. Why? Because people have become utterly used to sending e-mail queries and receiving no reply until they threaten legal action. I recall that my blistering e-mail to Betfair never achieved the courtesy of anything bar an automated "your points are being considered" reply.

Is there a solution? Probably not. As we know, 95% of the population are a useless waste of space, and most of those are working for large companies, just waiting for 5pm. They don't care about you and their employers give them no reason to care about you. I guess that we shall just have to continue our guerilla activities, attempting to fire a rocket up the arse of the worst offenders.

So, prize of the week goes to Nacional el Abbeye. Death to the usuerers and cast them from the temple!

August 2017

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