The increasing inability to actually contact customer services (not OcUK)

Man of Honour
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Note: I am not referring to OcUK here :) They have always replied to me.

Does anyone else find it increasingly frustrating that it's almost impossible to actually contact many companies nowadays? I'm not just referring to during COVID lockdowns as this was happening before that. Many companies don't have a phone number any more. If they do then you simply can't get to speak to anyone and there is no option which matches what you need so you are sent back round to the start with only options to get automated responses to questions you don't have.

Some have a webnote and some provide an email address. But often finding those pages is difficult and needs googling to actually locate it. Sometimes you can't actually get to it with any obvious link on the company website. You'll usually get a reply back which bears no resemblance to the question you asked. Then you're back to square one with sending another question off into the ether.

If you're lucky then there will be an online chat. Your spirits are briefly lifted... until you find that it's just an automated bot and there is no way to get an answer to your question.

On a few rare occasions, with much smaller companies, you'll get excellent service. I just bought a jacket and had the company contact me asking questions about my body dimensions to make sure my chosen size was right. Now that is good service and will probably help reduce the number of returns. But for many larger companies actually reaching customer service is near on impossible.

Anyone else feel the same?
 
Soldato
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A combination of consolidation to a few big players reducing competition, and shareholders demanding much greater return on investment. Ultimately you get payback through your pension funds if it means that reaching out to British Gas is a bit crap.

Most needs to contact an organisation are fully commoditised as well. Using your jacket example, why would I bother with explaining all of those details when I can order 10 (with no cost outlay if you are using Amazon Wardrobe) and boomerang the rest back (boomerang is the woke word for this process of ordering 000's worth of clothes to sample/even wear with tags and send it back).

Amazon are basically operating a train service where their vans are going to be too'ing and fro'ing all day every day anyway, so a half empty van costs the same as a full van by unit cost.

Much smaller companies can operate a more personalised service but you need to be willing to pay for that. If I am buying a suit jacket though, I am going to TM Lewin. If I am buying a pair of gloves I want to last for life, I may be tempted to go to a boutique.
 
Soldato
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I ordered some toothbrush heads from Philips UK, over a month later and the lost package / complaint has still not been actioned. Everytime I have to respond it's 3 working days before they reply with yet more unhelpful info. So many useless companies out there at the moment. No wonder everyone just buys from amazon.
 
Soldato
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I like it when a company can utilise e-mail to resolve queries. It's just so much more convenient. I wanted to change something about my service plan with Zen last month, dropped them an email saying what I wanted, I provided as many details in the e-mail as possible, I had a reply back within 6 hours with everything actioned. Easy!
 
Soldato
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Those chat bots are just evil, I'm sure they are designed to just wear you out so you give up and go away.
 
Soldato
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I like it when a company can utilise e-mail to resolve queries. It's just so much more convenient. I wanted to change something about my service plan with Zen last month, dropped them an email saying what I wanted, I provided as many details in the e-mail as possible, I had a reply back within 6 hours with everything actioned. Easy!
Yep. Amazon PrimeNow is a very similar experience. It is a shame you have to use the live chat on normal Amazon.
 
Soldato
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i do agree that some places even finding a telephone number is next to impossible.

you end up having to ring new order enquiries or something like that just to get a human being who can then solve the problem, even if it's only directing you to the correct helpline.

depending on the query i wouldn't mind say having an email address that only responds once a day, but even that is rare to find.
 
Soldato
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I pm’d on Twitter House of Fraser about an item that arrived ridiculously faulty (hot it got shipped I do not know) with a couple of photos of the condition it arrived in still sealed as new. Got an immediate refund, no questions asked... was very impressed. My partner thinks she might even be able to salvage the product with enough work!
 
Soldato
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What gets on my nerves are companies that have about 20 minutes of IVRs and automated messages just to end up with "Did you know... You can find the answers to 90% of queries on our website. Goodbye!". Even the automated chat bots on the sites just want to send you to FAQ pages. If you're lucky, after 15 minutes with the bot (after numerous chat resets) you'll get a "Thank you, your request is #GB6623660 - one of our team will endeavour to respond to your query with 7 business days. Response times may be affected further by Covid 19". These types will not get my custom unless absolutely necessary.
 
Soldato
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Recently tried to spend £1k on a laptop but had some questions and attempted to contact 3 different pc companies. First one I was on hold for one hour and then cut off, I persevered and tried again and after 2 hours spoke with someone who couldn’t answer my question but took my email address and promised to come back to me. Nuh.

Second pc company I just couldn’t get through whatever I tried and 3rd I hung up as the offer on the laptop actually expired during my ‘wait on hold’.

Ended up buying one off that auction site where the seller responded to my questions within minutes.

I know covid is slowing things down and there must be a huge amount of people ringing to enquire where there 3080’s are but I suspect they are all just woefully understaffed.
 
Soldato
Joined
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13,367
Note: I am not referring to OcUK here :) They have always replied to me.

Does anyone else find it increasingly frustrating that it's almost impossible to actually contact many companies nowadays? I'm not just referring to during COVID lockdowns as this was happening before that. Many companies don't have a phone number any more. If they do then you simply can't get to speak to anyone and there is no option which matches what you need so you are sent back round to the start with only options to get automated responses to questions you don't have.

Some have a webnote and some provide an email address. But often finding those pages is difficult and needs googling to actually locate it. Sometimes you can't actually get to it with any obvious link on the company website. You'll usually get a reply back which bears no resemblance to the question you asked. Then you're back to square one with sending another question off into the ether.

If you're lucky then there will be an online chat. Your spirits are briefly lifted... until you find that it's just an automated bot and there is no way to get an answer to your question.

On a few rare occasions, with much smaller companies, you'll get excellent service. I just bought a jacket and had the company contact me asking questions about my body dimensions to make sure my chosen size was right. Now that is good service and will probably help reduce the number of returns. But for many larger companies actually reaching customer service is near on impossible.

Anyone else feel the same?

There's a simple solution to this problem :

Leave a 1* review on Trustpilot, and wait for them to contact you.
 
Soldato
Joined
27 Feb 2015
Posts
10,137
Yeah I posted about this elsewhere, the messages you have at start of calls are getting longer and longer and are clearly designed to get you off the phone.

Always "did you know you can do this and that on our website instead of calling" Followed by a long menu where my option is always the last one, and I would say I am lucky to enter the call queue within 2 minutes never mind the phone been answered.

I think ofcom do need to look in to all the junk at start of calls and extensive menus.
 
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