Thursday, 9 June 2016

An open letter about communicating with your customers

Dear customer service twonks in general and Barclaycard slaves in particular,

You seem to be forgetting to meet your customers' needs these days; let me run this up your dirty corporate flagpole:

  • If I phone you, phone me.
  • If I email you, email me.
  • If I write you a letter, wr...

You get the idea. Picking up on your customers' preference to use one particular communication 'channel' is known as a "courtesy". A courtesy apparently unknown at Barclaycard:

  • If your website lectures me about how great your secure messaging is (even though you've done your best to hide it) and how it can be used for anything, I don't expect you to phone me up in response to an online message. Ever. Not even if it's because your complaints department is dealing with it or even if your CEO thinks he's above all that. It's either the way I communicate with your or it isn't. If it isn't, you said it is, so routing messages is your problem isn't it? Why make it mine?
  • If I wanted to speak to you on the phone, I would have phoned you. Why is this so hard to understand?
  • If you really only want to do things by phone, be honest and get messaging deleted from your web site. Stop misleading customers.

Why don't I phone you or expect calls to me?

  • I can never hear your staff clearly. Not only do I have some tinnitus but your phone system is old/dreadful and/or your operators whisper and often in a strong regional/national accent. Does anyone know what elocution means any more? Is it included in staff training?
  • Your security procedures have been a joke for 40 years and serve only to teach your customers bad habits. You phone up from a withheld number and demand to identify ME. I need to identify YOU first.
  • Phone calls are nearly always inconvenient or an interruption unless it's your job but it is most certainly not mine.
  • I have no record of the content of telephone calls and a memory like

Once you realise people do things for a reason and not to be difficult, your attitude towards customers will change.