British Telecom managed to attract half a million new consumers in the last 12 weeks of 2013 through BT Sport which is part of its retail division. Included in this arm of the company are the broadband and phone services to UK households and, whilst gaining new business, the reputation for poor quality customer service may cause a problem to BT in the long run.
This month saw financial website “This is Money,” presented BT with the Wooden Spoon award for rotten customer service which was present to BT’s consumer chief executive John Petter during the first week of January 2014.
BT accused of taking their eye off the ballThe website also handed over many complaints from consumers about the wrong cabling being installed, being kept waiting or passed around when ringing a BT call centre, not having promises kept about when broken connections and services would begin, and so on. The main issue seemed to be around the last half of 2013 when the company focussed all its attention on BT Sport and left its core business understaffed. This was backed up in December when Ofcom showed that complaints had doubled in three months, as consumers were subject to poor service and shoddy treatment.
John Lewis stirs up praise for outstanding customer servicePerhaps the communication firm ought to take a leaf out of John Lewis book of consumer service. As their business went from strength to strength, this still managed to win the outstanding customer service award, although not named as such, I like to think of this as the Silver Spoon Award. John Lewis put delivering the best possible customer service at the very heart of what they do, because they know as consumers we do have a choice and we can go elsewhere. Mr Petter will do well to look at the name plate on his office door and remember his job title includes the word “consumer” in it. Whilst this represents someone who purchases goods and services for personal use, it also represents a real person who would like to be on the receiving end of good customer service. It is not as if performing poorly in the customer service stakes should come as a surprise as BT have managed since 2009 to be named and shamed as having the most appalling customer service in the UK.
Investing in new infrastructure, better broadband, competition for Pay TV customers is a business need and a very important one, but somewhere along the line, could they not remember that it costs very little to offer quality customer service and timely and accurate delivery of products and services – if it’s that good to talk then make sure the talk is good!