Thursday, July 09, 2009

The corporate way of dealing with complaints

A couple of weeks ago I was concerned as my online bank statement seemed to be showing me as not having any available cash when I knew for a fact that I did. The lady at the bank told me to speak to their online banking customer services department. I duly did this and they said they would get back to me.

A lady has just rung me about it. As the complaint was made two weeks ago I had forgotten all about it. Also she rang me just when I was in the middle of writing something complex, and I did not particularly want to discuss it, neither did I really want her ringing me back about it.

No doubt she will now tick her boxes to show that she has satisfactorily dealt with another customer complaint, thus improving the banks customer service statistics. It’s a great way of dealing with customer complaints, apart from the fact that the customer (i.e. me) does not feel particularly happy about it.

The Courts have an even better way. It is now almost impossible to get through to the courts to speak to a real person (certainly this is the case in the busier London courts) unless you are prepared to hang on for hours. Although I rang a Court recently which did not even give me that option, but only the option of leaving a message.

So the only thing to do is to write. This leads to the following ridiculous scenario:

1. A client contacts me, unhappy about the court failing to do something
2. I try to ring the court, can’t get through. Not having all day to hang on the phone (I do have other clients) I send a fax, asking what is happening
3. Several weeks later the court write about the thing the client contacted me about.
4. Several weeks after that, I get a letter in reply to my fax, saying that the thing I was asking about was dealt with a couple of weeks ago
5. No doubt the clerk then ticks a box to say that the complaint has been satisfactorily dealt with

This has happened to me several times.

I also know of a case where a solicitor wrote to a court asking them not to list a hearing on a particular day for a particuarly important reason. However the court lost the letter and listed it on that day. When the solicitor rang to complain, he was told that he would have to write in about it!

Its madness!

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