LEE BOYCE: My quest for superior customer service

This week we introduce our Wooden Spoon Awards for poor customer service.

One of the main issues we’re repeatedly told about most of the companies in this year’s shortlist is call waiting times.

Spending up to an hour talking to a human is annoying. But not only that, there’s keyboard tapping to get to the “right” department and be directed to dreaded online chatbots.

It's hard to say: one of the main issues we're repeatedly told about most of the companies in this year's shortlist is call waiting times

It's hard to say: one of the main issues we're repeatedly told about most of the companies in this year's shortlist is call waiting times

It’s hard to say: One of the main issues we’re repeatedly told about most of the companies in this year’s shortlist is call waiting times

It’s important to us to be able to talk to someone quickly. That’s why Money Mail launched its Pick Up or Pay Up campaign earlier this year, calling for new rules to ensure businesses answer the phone within 10 minutes.

Our annual Wooden Spoon Awards put the power in your hands to ensure businesses don’t get away with horrible service. But we also love to hear about great customer service.

Companies that went out of their way to make you smile or solve problems quickly. Here is my own example.

Last week, Mrs B. opened a new bottle of Jo Malone perfume. It had been a birthday present from me in April – she had only just finished her previous bottle. However, she found that the spray button didn’t work.

She walked into the Jo Malone store in the department store where she bought it without a receipt. She was told it was beyond repair but was given a phone number for customer service.

She called, a Jo Malone employee answered right away, and the company agreed to send a new bottle after asking a few details. The new scent came two days later.

I see examples of good customer service weekly.

The staff at my local coffee shop who are always keen to ask how I am and serve with a smile; my bank, who picked up the phone in seconds this week and helped reset my banking app on a new phone; the London hotel receptionist who upgraded our room last month simply because it was available “and it seemed a shame to waste it”. All of this keeps me loyal.

I will continue to buy Mrs B’s favorite perfume. I routinely go to the same coffee shop, even when a flat white can be found cheaper elsewhere.

I will continue to stay with my bank despite large cash rewards from competitors. I will return to this hotel because of the friendliness of one member of staff.

So come on Let’s spread a little cheer this Christmas – tell me which big and local businesses have impressed you this year? I’ll be highlighting the best in the coming weeks.

Change boom

The checking account switching service is one of those rare beasts: a personal finance idea to combat laziness that worked.

Before launch, the thought of lugging around your old direct debits and standing orders, reporting work for your pay, and losing your financial history seemed like too many obstacles.

Not only did this seem complicated and time-consuming, but most of all, many feared being left in the lurch if the transition went wrong.

It created a world where people opened an account – typically in young adulthood – and then stuck with it.

Almost a decade later, the goalposts have been moved with that seven-day guarantee to promise that moving your account will be easy.

The banks spend even larger sums to win new customers. A £200 carrot for change is a huge incentive – and paying within 10 days only sweetens it further.

I recently spoke to my 24-year-old niece at a family party. She moved in mid-October and says it was easy.

The reason she gave up her bank for Nationwide was the £200. To her, it felt like a bribe big enough to get her to move.

Thousands of other first-time migrants felt the same way.

To put that £200 into context, with the currently offered Best Buy Easy Access rate of 2.85 per cent, you would need a lump sum of £7,000 – and you would also have to wait a year for interest. So what are you waiting for?

[email protected]ymail.co.uk

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https://www.soundhealthandlastingwealth.com/business/lee-boyce-my-hunt-for-star-customer-service/ LEE BOYCE: My quest for superior customer service

Brian Ashcraft

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