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The increasing incompetence of companies

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Haggisman, 13 Oct 2021.

  1. danlightbulb


    Joined: 14 Jul 2005

    Posts: 5,034

    There is no customer loyalty benefit any more. I expect to switch my business around constantly. Maybe that's what's driven this. Ultimately what matters most to most people is price.
  2. Haggisman


    Joined: 6 Oct 2004

    Posts: 14,882

    Location: Birmingham

    I guess it's a self-fulfilling cycle. There's no benefit to customer loyalty, so customers shop around, which means companies don't see any reason to maintain customer loyalty, making customers more likely to shop around... and repeat.
  3. danlightbulb


    Joined: 14 Jul 2005

    Posts: 5,034

    Case in point - Virgin media live chat.


    Id love to know how busy they expect to be on a normal day.
  4. Rids


    Joined: 30 Sep 2008

    Posts: 6,705

    I'm going to have a proper whinge about British Airways.

    We had a couple of flights booked to go to the US in 2020, obviously as a result of the pandemic these flights were cancelled and we took travel vouchers as we knew we'd be travelling again when things opened up. I paid for the tickets for both myself and the Mrs.

    This year we decided to do a short break to Vienna because the Mrs loves a Christmas market and I'll do anything for a quiet life.

    If you want to book with the travel vouchers you can't do it over the web, you have to phone up.

    1 hour on the phone waiting to get through, have all the details that I can possibly think of to hand. 'Can you confirm the last 4 digits and the expiry date of the card you made the original booking with?' - Funnily enough, no I can't, as it was over 2 years ago that I made the original booking and I no longer have that card. "You have failed security, please call back when you have the correct details"

    Minor email rant follows, note gets put on my account and I can call back to make the booking.

    Call back, another hour on the phone, "the vouchers are non transferable and they're in your name, so you'll have to pay for the other passengers ticket" - despite the fact the original booking was for the two of us, both vouchers are somehow in my name. At this point I've had enough and I can't be bothered to fight so I fork out the £250 to pay for the Mrs flight.

    Three weeks later, outbound flight gets cancelled and moved to an outbound flight that is not suitable. Successfully manage to rebook the Mrs onto a more appropriate flight online, when I try and do my booking it keeps erroring and I have to call back again.

    45 minutes on the phone last night to get through, they manage to successfully change my outbound flight but then insist they'll have to change the return flight to be a day earlier so I spend the same amount of nights. Didn't have this issue when I did the Mrs flight online, apparently its a 'condition' of their voucher program. I'm not having it and I firmly insist that either they only change the outbound flight or they can find me a manager that will refund me the entire voucher value and the cost of my partners flight aswell. Manager comes on the line, we go around in circles for half hour before they finally relent and do what I asked of them.

    Change my hotel reservation for an extra night, leaves me another £270 out of pocket.

    Once I'm done with these vouchers I seriously doubt I'll ever fly with British Airways again.
  5. hood1971

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 11 Apr 2003

    Posts: 1,306

    It is very easy to dismiss a worker that has worked less than 2 years - from citizens advice.
    UK companies have invested in staff, they rely on a cheap disposable labour force with little or no training. Managers are there to collate stats not oversee actual service. And this will only get worse as the UK tries to undercut the EU on goods and services.
  6. Psycho Sonny


    Joined: 21 Jun 2006

    Posts: 38,366

    That should be obvious. Once your probation is over it's nigh on impossible unless you do something really really bad.

    I'll give you an example. In a place I worked at a long time ago. Probably 6+ years ago now. There was a guy who was clearly an alcoholic, had severe mental health issues and a personality disorder.

    He started going out with a bunny boiler also in the same workplace. He ended up assaulting her a d pulling a knife on her.

    She complains to workplace and gets an emergency move. Ends up with a promotion to keep it quiet even though she's incompetent. He stays on as an employee but given leave until the court case is resolved.

    The day he was found guilty in court they processed the papers to dismiss him.

    He also during that time messaged another female staff member on Facebook and said they were next.

    His court case took over a year to get through the courts I think close to two years he was being paid full wages whilst not actually going into work or doing any work at all.
  7. hood1971

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 11 Apr 2003

    Posts: 1,306

    Since 2012 there is no right to claim unfair dismissal if you worked less than 2 years.


    The example you give is extreme and the company you worked for sounds like a nightmare. The man clearly needed help, but instead is allowed to continue until an horrific event takes place. To me the company is trying to cover up it's failure of duty by paying her off without explicitly saying that is what they are doing. The company had the right to fire the man even before 2012 as this would be seen a gross misconduct, but they might have wanted to keep him on, or reduce exposure of being sued by either of the parties for failings in duty of care.
  8. bayo000


    Joined: 28 Jan 2008

    Posts: 5,073

    Location: Manchester

    Frustrating for sure but don't think that's hard to automate. They probably know how many tickets, on average, they get by 11am. So if today they received more than the average than the message will display on any new tickets.
  9. Janesy B


    Joined: 19 Apr 2008

    Posts: 25,685

    Location: Essex

    From first hand experience it's lack of processes and poor management. Process being a nice word for having to be told what to do at what time and how.
  10. Freakbro


    Joined: 29 Jul 2010

    Posts: 20,030

    Location: Lincs

    There's always been the issue of people getting promoted to their level of incompetence, but I don't disagree with the the sentiment of this thread, it's certainly got worse at all levels.
  11. Psycho Sonny


    Joined: 21 Jun 2006

    Posts: 38,366

    Yeah the management chain was at fault here and his manager really should have raised concerns about him but she was completely clueless and didn't care about anything other than self promotion and preservation and distanced herself from him as much as possible.

    An example being we had a new female start and she asked for volunteers to show them around and he was the only volunteer. Rather than get someone else to do it and say can you just do it as a favour I'd rather anyone but him do it. She lets him do it and this led to his bunny boiler gf thinking this new start liked him because he was showing her around but reality was different. I can guarantee though he also gave that impression to her due to the personality disorder.

    Then as you suggest a big cover up operation for many incompetent failings including the management. In this case nothing was done to the manager when IMO they if they were any good at their job could have prevented the whole thing. But she decided to distance herself from him and then deny any knowledge of anything out of the ordinary when it all came to light.

    The guy used to stink, he clearly hadn't washed his clothes in weeks. It was pretty obvious he was a on a collision course and she chose to completely ignore it and helped accelerate it by her complete inaction.

    Problem was bullying by management was common therefore there was no formal way of dealing with issues. Anyone who did make a formal complaint they moved that employee to another office rather than trying to fix the actual problem. So the management was left in place to show they could get away with their actions and were essentially untouchable.

    I left that job a long time ago like I say but incompetence was rife and it was bred to be that way by the way they resolved issues.
  12. Diddums


    Joined: 24 Oct 2012

    Posts: 21,116

    Location: London

    *pulls up chair*

    You want to know what the problem is? Everyone. The problem is that people allow this to happen. When you've got people who are happy to sit on hold for an hour only to speak to Jamesh in Bangladesh who knows three words of English and only speaks off a script, what incentive is there for companies to get their act together? I can't blame them either, if I was a CEO I'd also happily take tens of millions in bonuses every year if people are happy to roll over and get stiffed with crap service.

    I guarantee that if everyone said "**** this, I'm going elsewhere" all on the same day, these companies would sort themselves out overnight and would be begging for our custom again. But we don't, we sit back and chill, wasting days or even weeks of our lives dealing with incompetence, getting frustrated and irritated and often taking it out on family members. I don't know about you lot, but when I've been on the phone to Jamesh in Bangladesh for an hour listening to his 5 sentence script and four word vocabulary only to put the phone down having achieved absolutely naff all, I am rather irritable and will be grumpy for a few hours.

    Now the overarching societal problems here are two fold: people want cheap, and people are greedy. The public wants cheap, and the CEOs are greedy, so money is saved on the customer service departments which then goes in to the CEO's pockets. Tell me these clowns can't take a smaller bonus every year and hire more staff instead, it's very possible, but greed innit.

    I fully understand that mistakes happen, everyone has crap days, etc. There's a massive difference between chatting to someone in customer services who's helping sort a mistake or whatever, to dealing with plain old incompetence, and this difference will generally reveal itself on the first phone call. If I deal with a company which is the latter, my solution is very simple: I email the CEO.

    Find the CEO's email here and email them. We live in a society where people tend to forget that we're the customer, not the product, so by emailing them I'm reminding them that they're being paid to provide a service, and if they don't, I'll find someone who will. I have zero time for crap companies and will do everything I can to avoid them.

    Perfect example today, I am trying to book tickets to Odeon on Saturday and I'm having problems with the app, it's not accepting my unlimited card. Phone them up, get some automated email that I need to use the webform which then hangs up. That service costs my wife and I £20 a month combined, so no, it's not acceptable. I pinged an email over to their CEO Mark Way so he can deal with it.

    If the rest of society want to spend their lives waiting for crap customer service, getting frustrated and irritated at very-avoidable incompetence that's up to them, but I ain't got no time fo' dat.

  13. Ergates


    Joined: 24 Jun 2005

    Posts: 252

    That's not really it being impossible to fire somebody, that's your former company being useless.

    It's not at all impossible to fire somebody for incompetence - even if they've been around for a while - you just can't do it straight away and there are processes to be followed. Mostly, people not doing their job properly is down to a lack of clear instructions, lack of clear expectations and/or inadequate training. So, if a staff member isn't performing as you'd like, first you have to make sure they know what they're actually meant to be doing, then you have to make sure they've been taught how to do it properly, and you need to record your findings and any steps taken to rectify any gaps, and (the important bit) record what has been done. Then you need to give them a reasonably chance to show they've improved. If they're still not doing their job properly you're in the clear to fire them. Most of the time though, this results in not having to fire them as the problem is fixed - which is a win for everyone.

    I think this is a better way of doing things - who here can honestly say they've never made a mistake at work? Would you really want to go through life with the fear that you could be fired at any point for any reason (or even no reason)?
  14. FoxEye


    Joined: 17 Feb 2006

    Posts: 28,581

    Location: Cornwall

    Not you, but I noticed a fair few people bashing the employees in this thread.

    Let's face it, many companies aren't even loyal to their own staff, and treat them extremely poorly. A lot of companies and company execs *only* care about their shareholders. Their employees, their products, and even their customers come waaaaaay down the priority list, with shareholders at the top.

    This is a (relatively) recent thing, before the 80s shareholders weren't nearly so prominent in the minds of company execs. But these days a CEO's job is basically to satisfy the shareholders, and pretty much only that.

    Sacrificing the employees is fine; sacrificing the product is fine; just got to keep those shareholders happy.

    In this world there's no loyalty to or from staff. To or from customers. They know, and we know, that companies don't care about either.

    So yeah - good luck motivating your employees to go above and beyond when your company doesn't care a jot for them.
  15. Jez


    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 33,003

    The race to the bottom, on price, means that if i choose to use the cheapest or cheap suppliers then i will not in return expect anything more than atrocious customer service. Its not worth expecting anything better.

    What does bug me, however, is when monopoly's or public sector organisations to which you have no choice but to use (Council depts, Thames Water) have equally appalling customer service. Those are unavoidable which is annoying.
  16. Grimley


    Joined: 18 Nov 2007

    Posts: 7,439

    Location: Deepest Darkest Essex!!

    Pretty much this. Though I'm of the school that a CEO of a large firm has the shelf life of a Football Manager. I've lost count of the MD's my employer have had in the time I've worked there. The moment the share price starts a downward trend or the dividend payout is less than the previous years, the shareholders kick off & that's another one exit stage right through the revolving door. Most of them must think 'I'm only going to be here a short time, so I'll see what I can do to cut costs & increase profits & when the pack of cards come tumbling down, I'm alright Jack with my golden handshake/pension & whoever takes my place can sort out the mess.'
  17. cheesefest

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 18 Jul 2021

    Posts: 1,103

    Location: Land of Gin (I wish)

    Companies don’t give staff that work the hardest any decent pay rises. Yet when the CEO leaves, even though the company has had the worst five years in the company’s history, made hundreds or thousands redundant - guess what? They get a 6-7 figure pay out. Which makes morale an all time low.
  18. Resident


    Joined: 10 Mar 2012

    Posts: 2,792

    Mrs used to work for one of the large mobile phone providers. Her office was specifically set up for specific customer service calls. Calls were meant to be 'triaged' by general CS and sent to them if it applied. Everyone was promised it would be purely CS & no sales or upselling etc.

    Lasted 6 month did that promise. General CS was based in India who are nothing short of bone-idle and incompetent to a level that dumb and dumber characters are to be considered geniuses. Any call they didn't want to deal with got sent through.
    Because of the level of calls and costs due to increasing staff levels they were then told to start selling which moved the focus away from the 'high standard of customer care'.

    Make sure you tell them right at the beginning the call is recorded & never rely on them having the call recorded. The number of times I've requested a copy of the call with companies to be told "sorry we can't find the audio & there's nothing in the handler's notes to back up your assertion"
  19. Steampunk


    Joined: 1 Jun 2013

    Posts: 9,047

    "Good customer service? Do you know how much that costs? If we had good customer service, all the customers would want some!"
  20. Jimbeam3678


    Joined: 8 Dec 2002

    Posts: 18,494

    Location: North Yorkshire

    Here’s an idea why not flip it on its head? How many people have taken the time to congratulate a company who have provided good service?