Burger & Chips within 90 seconds ?

  Dragon Heart 00:13 26 Aug 2005

In the Consumer Watch Forum I recently complained about the poor service of NTL which, as expected, got a mixed response from other forum members and also the following from the Forum Editor

"I have to say that - frustrating as it is, the fact that NTL missed one appointment because an engineer didn't turn up for work is hardly the end of the world.

We seem to have developed a mindset that says we must have everything for next to nothing, and we must have it immediately. I'm not an apologist for NTL, or any other supplier, but time after time I see threads in which people let loose at a company because something (or someone) hasn't arrived dead on time. It's irritating, certainly, but businesses are run by human beings, and errors occur, people fail to turn up for work, vehicles break down, and a million other things go wrong. Some companies are very bad when it comes to customer service, and some are very good. The reason for both extremes is that individuals are involved - some companies are better managed than others.

By all means complain when you've been treated badly, but please try to maintain a sense of perspective - all of us (bar none) have failed to perform at peak levels at some point in our lives. Missing an appointment because an engineer wasn't at work doesn't seem to me to warrant the accusation that you're being treated like a doormat."

It got me thinking, have the UK public now developed a mindset that says we must have everything for next to nothing, and we must have it immediately ?

The answer in my mind is both yes and no.
People at work are expected to meet targets including efficiency and we therefore expect efficiency of service from others.

We do not however expect the 'free meal' to be served like a Double Cheese Burger and fries within 90 seconds (even they get it wrong or late). For one thing most of us know the 'free meal' does not actually exist, Companies offer packages not out of the goodness of their directors heart but as loss leaders or due to competition. Most of us have learnt cheap is not always best.

If a company offers a service at a certain price on a day they chose they should supply it as agreed. A single missing engineer is not a good enough excuse. Would they have claimed for an aborted call out fee if, for example, I had taken my wife to hospital on an emergency and not been in when they called ?

If I get good service I ring up or write to say how pleased I was with the service. NTL appeared to simple ignore the fact they let me down and continued to act as if everything was OK.

Back in September 2004 NTL was named as one of the UK's worst companies for customer service (from memory someone said they only got 19%). This month, almost one year later, they have appointed a customer service champion in the form of Neil Berkett who joins them from Lloyds TSB, previously with insurer Prudential where he set up an offshore operation in India. NTL is quoted as saying Mr Berkett, who will report to chief executive Simon Duffy, improved customer service "significantly" in his previous jobs.
For NTL's sake (and it's customers) lets hope so.

Why should we put up with poor service ?

Offshore call centres ...... another thing I hate .... but that's another story.

  Stuartli 08:55 26 Aug 2005

Companies provide after sales services and support based on average annual responses or typical customer requirements.

If they set the average too low then problems mount, if they set it higher than necessary it becomes uneconomic to maintain.

If you are unfortunate to require such services at a period when demand exceeds supply then it's basically unfortunate, although obviously frustrating.

  ade.h 15:15 26 Aug 2005

The FE has a point I suppose; it's not the worst offence ever. However, from you point of view you (presumably) gave up a working day in the anticipation of a visit.

That is particularly galling for anyone (like me) who works freelance and doesn't get paid for days off.

Surely someone at NTL could have had the sense to phone the customers that were to be seen that day by that engineer and inform them out of courtesy. It would not have taken much effort to make a brief call to a dozen or so customers.

I haven't seen your previous thread, so I can only assume that NTL failed to do this.

  Dragon Heart 01:24 05 Sep 2005

There is clearly a complete lack of communication between the various dept's @ NTL. I would of accepted the missed appointment with a simple grunt of disapproval but they compounded their error .... several times.

Do you think it was acceptable to be sent to the back of the installation Q for their error ?

I was going to go with Virgin.net but I see they are owned by NTL.

Customer service should be getting better not worse, OFTEL appear to be all bark and no bite.

My current ISP HQ is only a few miles away so as and when they start providing broadband and I get any problems I can go hammer on their door !

  TOPCAT® 13:20 05 Sep 2005

That service engineer's manager should have checked the absent engineer's workload and made an effort to let customers know of the problem. That is, of course, assuming he was notified of his absence in the first place, but any manager on the ball would know that soon enough. A simple courtesy like a phone call would certainly have helped here. TC.

  spuds 17:06 05 Sep 2005

I think all large and not so large industries suffer from 'absentmindiness'at some time or another. BT can suffer from this, as was proven to me last week. Problem with BT telephone line which I reported and was told no faults,after stating that I could hardly hear the conversation due to line noise, I was placed in a 2pm-4pm engineers call-back slot. Was that agreeable to me, yes great, I will await the call.That wait-in time past and at 7.10pm I had a call from a lady who informed me that there was no fault with my line. After further discussions it was obvious that she had no actual knowledge of the fault, but was just repeating a message. Could I get to speak to an engineer, no way, but I could book an engineer's visit, which would cost me £50.00 plus vat, if they could find nothing wrong.

Point in my case, I know what the problem is, heavy downpour and water in the system.The last time I reported this fault, the first engineer couldn't find anything, the second engineer replaced and sealed an exterior box and replaced the cable. Result pay for one engineers service and get a refund from second engineers visit.But it still doesn't excuse the fact that the customer is expected to wait around at their own expence for that possible non-existant arranged time communication.Yet the companies are soon quoting call-out fees,time wasting costs etc.

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