Customer Service – The Best and the Worst

//Customer Service – The Best and the Worst

Customer Service – The Best and the Worst

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Which company saved your life this Christmas  or which company will you not be using again because of their poor service?

How was your customer experience in 2012 – I’d love to know.

In this day and age, most of us at sometime order goods online, I did most of my Christmas shopping on-line, and there is a lot of trust involved, you need to know that the company will live up to their promises, that they are trustworthy and that you can contact them if there is a problem (Yes, problems do happen, we understand that, to be informed is all that customers ask).  It is helpful to check for reviews on businesses before you order but people seem more inclined to post a bad review for the company that has upset them, than the company that has done as expected.

This is why an active social presence is so important, customers can see how businesses deal with people and problems. Some Brands really take advantage of this chance to boost brand loyalty. Even though some of them receive many complaints, at least they do try to answer customers –  maybe Brands such as –  Virginmedia, O2, Nokia, Orange, Xbox  Sainsburys –  I’m not saying they all get it right all of the time, (I’ve had many a run in with Virgin, but they try) this would not be possible with their customer base but they appear to be trying to improve or keep their good reputation and retain their customers.

Amazon – super service

It doesn’t surprise me to see Amazon on most of the lists for the best customer service or customer satisfaction, they almost always deliver quicker than they say – quality is good and they are contactable 7 days a week.  Apple are also up at the top with their own customer service. I’ve used these companies numerous times, and have never been disappointed.  Maybe you have?  Let me know.

Cambridge Accessories saved me this Christmas

With Amazon, its usually better if you are ordering from them direct but my best purchase this year was with Cambridge Accessories. Just before Christmas my hard drive died Sony was little or no help at all, so I ordered a new hard drive from Cambridge Accessories, delivery was 4-7 days but I paid for the quickest delivery which was up-to 3 days as I was desperate to get it fixed, no false promises from them. To my amazement it arrived the next day, and I’d only ordered it at 3pm, brilliant service, thank you Cambridge Accessories.

One relatively new business that I had problems with this year, did eventually listen. I was contacted by a senior member of staff via email and who said that they would sort out the problems that I discussed and even gave compensation, not that I wanted that, I just wanted some reassurance that others wouldn’t be dealt with this way, customers don’t like to be tricked or fooled into ordering and they sure do not like it when there is no way to contact with the company. I wouldn’t use this company again, the trust is lost, you see how fickle we consumers are, we have so many companies to choose from out there, we do not have to stick with the same supplier if they are useless.

Talking of useless …..

iWoot iAwful

However sometimes the horror story is from someone you might not expect – I want one of those –  a type of gadget shop online – when they first started in 2000, they cared – they won awards! –  it was their baby – but it was sold in 2010 to The Hut Group. Just wow!

The Hut Group who in 2009 and 2010 also won awards from Young Finance Director of the Year, 100 fastest growing tech company in the UK and Matthew Moulding won Bank of Scotland Entrepreneur of the year 2009.

I want one of those are otherwise known as iWoot, and it seems its now a different story, they just don’t have any customer service at all. Zilch!  AMAZING! 

  • The phone number says they are busy and cuts you off,
  • They don’t reply to emails,
  • They don’t reply on Twitter
  • They have a messaging system on their own website but they rarely reply to that, and if they do they haven’t read all of the other messages so their reply is late and not related to your last problem.

They charge for next-day delivery which is supposed to be free it states this on their own website, (see above) and then deliver over a week late – which for me, meant that I had to go out (yes, outside) and buy more Christmas presents in time for Christmas. No apologies, nothing.  If you search #iwoot on Twitter you will see that many other people have complained and received no answers – many of those customers are fighting for refunds. They do appear to have a presence on Social media but they simply post out adverts.

I could write a whole post about how bad I want one of those service is, but I want to look at the bigger picture.

Strangely enough when I was searching for the hut group online I found someone saying that Zavvi also owned by The hutgroup has the same answerphone message as iwoot – not accepting calls due to high volume, he is also fighting to get a refund. 

Obviously people / consumers can have different experiences with different companies but generally you can tell those Brands or Companies that care –

  • They Engage on Social Networks
  • You can contact them easily !
  • Others have positive things to say about the company.
  • Staff seem like they actually care, and go out of their way to help.
  • Staff listen –  and not read solutions from a card.
  • Staff need to be able to speak the language they are communicating in correctly.
  • Companies / Brands admit their mistakes.

Technology is increasingly making it easier for companies to connect directly with their customers and to show their GREAT customer service

Of course, the better our customer experience the more likely we, the customers are going to recommend that company or Brand. We certainly won’t be recommending or using those companies again that do not fulfill promises, lie or have a terrible customer service.

I would love to think that as we grow, using the various tools now available, that so will old and new businesses, for the better.

What were your best and worst experiences this year with Customer Service, lets big up the great companies, and warn the others that it is time they improved. 

About the Author:

Lover of Social Media/Networking, Digital comms, technology, computing, blogging, gadgets, music, and art. Modifying a written novel.
  • I have always loved Amazon, and my daughter received awesome service from Zappos.

    • Thanks Diana, yes I always look for what I need on Amazon first now.  Thats good to know about Zappos thanks. 

  • Amazon isn’t alway perfect but best around on most times, Xmas 2011 they were bad due to poor packaging & using Courier company Yodel who are absolutely useless. Damaged goods if they turned up at all, one occasion Amazon refused to send a replacement after 3 attempts which all got damaged. 
    But the worst was, really gone downhill since sold to China. Sent a book that was damaged, arranged courier to collect & never happened. Told me to return it at my cost, told them to send label & after that nothing. Many emails later, still nothing. So had to get Nationwide to do a debit card dispute where you fill form in with evidence & they refund you instantly, Play had 30 days to appeal & get money back, didn’t even respond to the dispute. I emailed to close a/c as no way online & they refuse to, so I removed all personal details off the a/c & they can shove it as far as I am concerned.

    • Thanks for that info Wolf, I used to use all the time, but strangely this year I didn’t.  I don’t think iWoot would bother to respond to a dispute, they don’t respond to much else.  At least Amazon eventually realized their problem and changed couriers, sometimes I think that is a big problem. 

      • Well as are now stopping selling things & just be a marketplace from now on, I think its poor customer services has had an effect on their sales…

  • Arno Karrasch

    Amazon is perfect. This company made me trust into email-driven Service instead of using a telephone call. I never had trouble in sending back an unwanted article or getting a new article because of the guarantee.

    • Another thumbs up for Amazon then – I don’t recall every having a problem with them either, thanks Arno.  

  • I had the most amazing customer service from Verizon wireless. I lost my phone and was trying to get the insurance company to respond (who is separate from Verizon) and the woman on Verizon customer service asked me to hold on while SHE connected us in a three way call. Everything was resolved. I have never had service like Verizon offers from any other vendor. 

    • That sounds awesome Doug, Wish we had in the UK – I just checked out their Twitter account,  WOW, they are totally active today of all days and look very helpful indeed – and they have a separate account for support @verizonsupport  I like this. 

  • I had a fantastic experience with HP. They fixed my printer over the phone, even if it was out of warranty by two months. They spent about an hour with me, polite and great service!

    • I love that, its great to hear that some companies really care – Nice one Hewlett Packard !   

  •  I had a fantastic experience with HP. They fixed my printer over the phone, even if it was out of warranty by two months. They spent about an hour with me, polite and great service!

    • I love that, its great to hear that some companies really care – Nice one Hewlett Packard !   

  • I had a horrible time with Network Solutions. They charged me a domain renewal 60 days in advance, then when I told them I wanted a refund because it was illegal and I was king to move my domain to Godaddy then said they would have a domain transfer expert call me, Their ‘expert’ ended up being a salesperson trying to convince me to stay. Ugh.

    • Thats terrible  – trying to fool us, we won’t take it ….. 

  • Mi piace Amazon.

  • Harold Gardner

    No drama for me either way.  I did not really have any problems; so there wasn’t anybody that fouled up or had to rescue anything.  I really hope this is the new normal for online shopping.  It just works.

    • Thanks, Harold, I am hoping this will be the case very soon, maybe its the UK that need to learn. 

  • Greg Bepper

    On the worst list would have to be the telcos.. any of them.. all of them. They promise the earth when they have made a mistake but rarely follow through.

    On the other side of the coin is, wait for it, is anything from Hong Kong. I know there are most likely many horror stories out there about dealing with businesses from theis region but I have never had one issue with any of the products I have ordered, which is now into the tens of thousands.

    Yes, you do have intrepidations when ordering electronics going over the $5,000 mark but every piece has always arrived in super quick time and a lot of the time with free delivery.

    I guess the greatest peace of mind is that I always purchase with PayPal for that added protection. And don’t purchase if this option is not available.

    That’s about it, Cheers

    • Telecoms – Some here are okay – they seem to try to make the effort anyway.  I have ordered a few things on Ebay from Hong Kong, nothing worth much but you are right, they say so many days/weeks delivery and they are usually right.   Yes I always do use Paypal as well.  Thanks very much Greg. 

  • Handyman

    Last week I ordered two docking stations for my work mobiles. One was from Birmingham UK and the other from China. The one from China turned up on my doorstep 4 days later and you guessed it…. I’m still waiting for the one from the UK.

    • Wow, thats amazing isn’t it – the one from China arrived first.  UK are failing me …… 

    • Sorry I thought I had replied to this but its not showing up – I think that is amazing and just another point against the UK. Is it a courier problem we have as well as poor customer service I wonder. 

  • Torsten Dreier

    Best Customer Service experience for 2012 was  I ordered several items as Christmas gifts and received all but one.  I called them and the CS rep. was very nice.  Not only did she assure me that my item would arrive in time for Christmas (which it did), but she also refunded me the price of the item for my hassles.

    • Thats good to know, Torsten, I’d not heard of before. Sounds like they did a good job of sorting that out for you. 

  • The best customer service experience I have ever had is still with As an early adopter and institutional investor in the company, I have seen it turn loyal customers into raving fans. From its early days as a tech start-up, I have seen Amazon evolve as an adaptive as well as disruptive agent throughout every strategic evolution/business model transformation into what it is today: a customer service juggernaut. 

    For the purpose of this discussion, the social evolution in our culture and society has turned  “customer service” from an essential business process into a critical stand alone business category. Any company that occupies itself relentlessly with delivering outstanding customer satisfaction along with an unmatched value proposition, shall engage the imagination and adulation of the very best of them: the social media savvy consumer of the future.

    Being a lifelong early adopter and lifelong consumer advocate, I would like to think of Amazon as such an exemplary trailblazer, and of myself as such a vanguard consumer. That said, every expectation for the hundred of orders and deliveries my family have ever had over the years never failed to be met or exceeded. The proof is already in the pudding.

    • Thanks for that, very well put. When you think of how many orders Amazon receive, to get such outstanding reviews from so many people is amazing. 

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