Customer Service Nightmares

Let’s face facts and be honest. There are always going to be things that go wrong. Whether this be an item that has been purchased that is not fit for purpose, a product or service that goes wrong by breaking down, being too late, too early or not arriving at all, there are plenty are circumstances and situations that have us reaching for the phone, or getting online, in order to vent our anger and frustration, or just to get some further information. Customer service and care is so important, and is a good indicator of how much a company or service respects and values its customers. So it should always be a good standard, right?


Customer Service in the UK, especially when it comes to call centres, is often terrible. It can often include long queues (you are number 10 in the queue….waits for 10 minutes…you are still number 10 in the queue), horrible, irritating music, and, when you finally get through, a series of security questions, and then being put on hold or being moved from department to department. I have recently had the terrible experience with a well known utilities company after they took the payment from my gas and electricity twice, and then refunded both amounts rather than just the one. The amount of phone calls to rectify this issue was unbelievable, promised return calls were not returned, over a month later the payment was still in limbo, and this was from one of the UK’s biggest suppliers. It was appalling and unnecessary.

And then there’s public transport. Delays and faults are unavoidable when it comes to travel.. Sometimes these incidents can’t be helped, for instance the issues called by the very hot weather a couple of weeks ago. However, a company with a good social media account on Twitter may be able to at least aid its customers and help them make other arrangements. Providing quick and clear information about delay time, additional services that are available or refunds that can be claimed is all appreciated and can make the difference to your journey.

CALLCARE, who can provide a call answering partner service to your business or service, wanted to find out how long it took major train and tram companies customer service accounts to respond to tweets from customers. By looking at their Twitter feeds, they were able to measure an average of how long each company took to respond. They then created the infographic below with the results. There were definitely some surprising stats due to the fast paced nature of the industry. London Overground definitely need to improve, taking over 1 and a half hours to answer a Tweet, hardly helpful if you are trying to get home. On the other hand, Grand Central answer within an impressive three minutes, giving you every chance of getting the next train.

My local train company, West Midlands Rail, take just over 10 minutes to respond, although I have to say from personal experience they are not always that fast. Take a look at the list and see how well your train provider is doing.


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