Tuesday, 8 November 2011

What happened to customer service?

When did good customer service become so hard to find?

I bought a phone direct from Nokia back in December 2010. Ever since I bought it (a Nokia N8), I have had nothing but trouble with the phone. It has been returned to be fixed no less than five times. Admittedly, after the fifth time, I was sent a replacement phone, but this also has problems.

Anyway, my bugbear is not with the fact that the model of phone has proven itself to me to be pretty useless, it is with the customer service of Nokia. Now you'd think that a company whose vision for the future is 'Connecting People', would invest time and money on a fantastic customer service team who understand and communicate effectively. But no, they shipped their call centres out to India. I'm sure this is very good financially for Nokia, and whilst the operatives speak very good English, they regularly ask you to repeat thing, and didn't understand the word hassle at all.

Last week I spent over half an hour on the phone to their customer care department. After 23 minutes, the lady I was speaking to finally understood what I wanted. She then put me on hold for five minutes, came back and told me she couldn't do what I was asking. 

I also had e-mail correspondence with the department, which I assume is in India. It took four e-mails before it was finally understood what I needed and, in spite of me asking them to call me, they just told me to send my phone off to be fixed again.

When I was with a certain high street bank, every time I called their customer services they dealt with my request and then tried to sell me something. Even though I had banked with them for over twenty years, it took less than two years of them trying to sell me insurance for me to leave and go to another bank.

Yes, good customer service does exist but it does seem to be so much harder to find. The best I have encountered recently has been that of the Co-operative Bank.

But why should I have to commend a company for good customer service, surely it should be par for the course that we receive good care? I don't know when we starting settling for poor service, but I hope we can buck the trend soon.

I should add that Nokia have contacted me since I wrote this and are sorting it out through a UK customer care department and I hope that the issues will be sorted soon. Mind you, I have had to send my phone back again, so we'll wait and see.

Update on 16.11.11
I still have no phone. It was sent off for repair on the 8th of November. This is one of the reasons I no longer want to have the phone. I have been without a phone in the past year for approximately six weeks, and yet I have continued to pay for the contract during that time.

I also wanted to share this excerpt from an e-mail from Nokia customer care which I received this morning:

'Kindly email us back for a feedback if the document we can provide you will be fitted for your requirement. Should you have further query do not hesitate to email us back.'

This is basically just asking me if I would like a copy of the document they have suggest to me!

Seriously, this is ridiculous. It has taken me five e-mails for them to understand what I want, and then get back to me with nonsensical English.


  1. I'll be honest here and hope I'm not seen as one of those politically incorrect discriminators, but I get really irritated when I have to speak to customer service depts in India, or any foreign country for that matter when we have an absolutely colossal amount of people the UK who are desperate for a job and would be happy to clean toilets just to feed their kids. It seems so many larger companies now have call centres in foreign countries especially India and most of their employees can't speak proper English. We should be expected to deal with people who couldn't care less about our problem or issue and who make it almost impossible for those issues to be resolved, when we're paying premium costs to receive a service that many of us in this day and age take for granted.

    Now I'm in danger of having a rant so I'll go and have a glass of Vimto instead!
    CJ xx

  2. I have to agree with CJ. I'm not at all against any other race but I find it incredibly irritating having to deal with call centres overseas. I feel it just make the customer experience worse.

  3. This could so easily have become a rant! If call centres were in the UK then you would be starting on an even platform, with good English and an understanding of our culture. I do think that maybe we're too accepting of poor service and we somehow need to buck the trend.

  4. I honestly don't think customer service is much better in the UK but at least they understand what we're saying, and more importantly, at least they are citizens in this country who we customers are paying to give us a service.

    CJ xx

  5. Good customer service seems to have gone right out of the window these days. And the worse ones are call centres - its always someone's else's problem - they don't want to deal with you because they are not selling to you therefore not making any commission - so you usually are passed from pillar to post.
    I feel really strongly about good customer service and can't understand why people are sometimes so rude and unhelpful - with the recession they need to realise how lucky they are to have a job.

  6. I dont think business but nearly enough thought into their customer service they spend FORTUNES on market and advertising to attract your business then cant be arsed to put in the effort to keep it - very poor


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