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Customer Service Review 2019

It certainly was an interesting year of odd customer service moments, some good, some bad, and some a mix. Here is my review on how 2019 went.

I can’t put companies in a good or bad bucket as some were a mix, so I will just list them.

Review

Capital One UK

  • I had an old account that I wanted to close, it wasn’t that simple. Lots of back and forth, messages, traumas and so on. Until, I came across one employee who said “oh sure, no problem, sorry to see you go” and it was sorted in a couple of days.
  • Companies like HSBC make it easier to deal with internationally but this wasn’t the case with Capital One. They are low tech and if you are living outside the UK for a while it’s extremely difficult to do business with them.

DHL Canada

  • I got my British passport renewed and DHL UK delivered to my place in Canada without any difficulty. I say this from the perspective that other delivery companies have been a complete nightmare to deal with.
  • There was a slight mix up with a parcel delivery but managed to sort it out quite quickly, instead of worrying their driver we decided to pick it up from their conveniently located depot, which is in a shopping center.
  • The company even sent us a gift basket to say “thanks for the business”. Last time I experienced that with a company was back in 1986. I was impressed.

HSBC Canada

  • Like some other companies getting to the right person was a challenge mainly tackling their call center telephone system workflow. There were, unfortunately, many questions that remained answered for which I just gave up.
  • Connecting with someone I could talk to on a daily basis was actually a very good experience and could settle matters very quickly without any fuss.

HSBC UK

  • HSBC UK and HSBC Canada have very little connectivity together despite them being the same brand, this I found to be a major challenge.
  • Finding a subject matter expert was quite painful. For example, the company wrote a letter to me and I needed to speak to someone about it. When I sent them a message I got the runaround. When I phoned no one was an expert in that subject. I eventually sent a snail-mail letter but no one has responded as yet, I guess I won’t know how that went until 2020, if at all.
  • Questions still remain unanswered with the bank, so I will just have to give up.

Shaw Communications

  • It’s easy to contact Shaw, by telephone or social media DM’s, however they lost track of some of the issues I registered. Maybe a ticketing system would help.
  • We were having this strange pop up appear on their cable system, I reported it 4 times but they never got back to me. An engineer came round and advised us it was totally normal, issue resolved. Not good that I had to reach out so many times to get an answer.
  • We had a lot of picture and sound break up on certain channels. At first they didn’t believe us. I then recorded the TV and sent them videos of the issue. Two times engineers came out, it improved a little as they fiddled with our cables, however, we still get the issue now and again. I am wondering if it’s nothing to do with Shaw but the feed they get from the US. Who knows.

Siteground

  • Siteground is my web hosting provider I’ve been on for just over a year now. They are awesome.
  • 3 minutes unplanned downtime since I’ve been with them (competitors are nowhere near this). Superfast connectivity to the website and CRM I store there. Customer service calls answered in a flash.
  • I am amazed how good this company is.

UPS

  • I ordered something from Wayfair and UPS was their chosen company for the delivery. Twice the company never appeared when they said they were supposed to deliver. I struggled through their telephone system and when I got someone he was actually in the US, not Canada.  He told me the parcel had been lost, I agreed with them if they ever find it to return it to Wayfair.  Wayfair kindly agreed to refund my money and give me a $75 gift certificate, that was really nice.
  • The next day UPS tried to delivery the item, maybe it hadn’t been lost after all. However, I didn’t accept deliver and the took it back to Wayfair.
  • If UPS is Wayfair’s chosen supplier then I cannot do business with them, our local delivery depot is not that good and consistently get poor reviews online, and not useful feedback from their Head Office.

Summary

The Best

Every company I didn’t have to call and could resolve issues on their self-service website.  I really don’t like wasting my time on the phone or in live chats.

The Not So Bad

Has to be DHL, they were helpful in fixing the issue and send us a gift! Well, it helps.

The Worst

It’s a toss up between HSBC and UPS. Misdelivery of items I can probably deal with but errors with my finances have a knock on effect down the line.

By |2020-01-01T06:18:33+00:00January 1st, 2020|Customer Service|0 Comments

UPS Failure

WayfairEvery now and again I will write about good and bad customer service issues, today I’m sharing a story about UPS.

I ordered some furniture from Wayfair Canada. My friends rave about them especially those who work in Real Estate as they feel this is a great method of ordering items to prepare a property for sale. Before I get onto my experience with UPS I will start with the positive about Wayfair:

  1. They have a lot of choice on their website, high end and budget items
  2. Ordering was easy, a few clicks and it was done
  3. Unlike other companies, I wasn’t bombarded with emails after the order was complete
  4. Their customer service is pretty amazing

Wayfair uses different courier companies depending on what you are ordering, for the item I ordered, pictured, they used UPS. This is what Wayfair and myself went through with UPS.

  1. Supposed to deliver on Tuesday 15th October
  2. After waiting at home all day UPS pinged me a tracking update to say my address didn’t exist.
  3. I phoned UPS who had all the correct details. They said they didn’t have a name but seconds later contradicted themselves saying they did have it.
  4. They promised they would re-deliver the item on Thursday 17th October
  5. I called Wayfair to provide feedback at this point, they were kind enough to put me on hold while they contacted UPS. UPS also promised Wayfair the package would be delivered on 17th October.
  6. So 17th October came along, I waited in for a good portion of the day and didn’t see any tracking updates so I called them.
  7. After a challenging 45 minutes on the phone, UPS said they had lost the package and had to “open an investigation”, whatever that means.
  8. I called Wayfair again and they were kind enough to offer me a refund, which I accepted.
  9. I sent UPS a message through their website to ask them to return the package to Wayfair should they ever find it.

I looked up the UPS Depot who should have delivered the item which is in Delta, British Columbia. The reviews on the Yellow Pages website are pretty bad which explains the horror story I’ve been through. When I go to a UPS store for printing or other needs, whether it’s been in Washington DC, Denver CO or Vancouver Canada, the experience has been great, so I’m sad they don’t have the same service levels in their delivery branch.

Sorting this out consumed a lot of my time which was quite draining. Wayfair did everything they can to resolve the issue but UPS performance was obviously out of their control. So I will buy an alternative product at one of the local furniture stores here in the lower mainland. I’m sad as I was looking forward to doing business with Wayfair.

By |2019-10-17T23:27:24+00:00October 17th, 2019|Customer Service|0 Comments

My Customer Service Approach

Customer ServiceEvery year I appear to have more than one trauma dealing with customer service departments of various companies, mainly blue chip in size. Whenever I approach a company it is for fairly basic and reasonable requests, shouldn’t be out of the ordinary, but they do appear to have many issues dealing with them.

Here is how I have handled customer service queries in the past, these are my expecations on how I should be treated.

  1. Thank the customer for reporting the issue
    Often you can learn something from the customer, about a gap in the product or service levels, as they really are your best asset in finding bugs. So, be thankful, show empathy, apologise, and of course professional.
  2. Timescales
    If the issue cannot be dealt with immediately agree a turnaround time with the customer. A customer doesn’t like to be kept in the dark so it’s also important to continue to touch base with them during the process. I find it useful to have an online system where I can look up ongoing isses and their status.
  3. Deal with the issue
    Either deal with the issue or escalate it to a subject matter expert within the organization, but keep an eye on it to ensure it’s not forgotten.
  4. Sign Off
    Get back to the customer to thank them for reporting the issue and let them know it’s resolved BUT ensure they are happy that it has been sorted.
  5. Product or Service Enhancement
    If there is an error in your product or service ensure that it’s added to a roadmap for a fix, if it can’t be fixed immediately. Getting it fixed will limit other customers having to call in and the bug can be marketed to say your company is on top of product development.
  6. CRM and Data
    Personally, I use a CRM (SuiteCRM) to register all issues for which I can pull of useful data ie 1) reports of open/closed issues, 2) current or past bugs, 3) time spent, and so on.

If I can keep to this basic workflow so can other small businesses and especially larger companies, I don’t think I’m asking for too much.

It’s been another bumper year with bad experiences with customer service departments, which I will be reporting on soon.

By |2019-09-27T23:38:24+00:00September 27th, 2019|Customer Service|0 Comments

PayPal Minimum Withdrawal Amount

PayPalI would say most people know about the maximum withdrawal amounts that PayPal has but they also set minimum withdrawal amounts too and the company doesn’t want you to know why they have them set so high, at least that is my experience. Asking why they have set these amounts so high has made me realise their customer service isn’t so great.

Backstory

I bought a subscription on behalf of a client which came to CAD$12, the client paid me back via PayPal.  So, I then attempted to withdraw that money to my bank account but received an error message stating I had exceeded the limits, didn’t mention “minimum”, but had to figure it out by groping around their system.  I reached out to the company to find out why they have the minimum withdrawal amounts, why they are so high and why it differs greatly from country to country (ie GBP£6 in the UK, CAD$15 in Canada).

  • Call 1: nobody knew about the minimum withdrawal amount so they decided to hang up on me
  • Call 2: nobody knew about the minimum withdrawal amount and they got into such a pickle over the phone I just said goodbye
  • Call 3: had problems with their phone system and got through to fraud for some reason, finally got someone who knew about the limits, told me to move money into PayPal to then withdraw $15. I told them this creates unnecessary red tape for a client and asked why they had the minimum withdraw amount, the only answer got was “those are the rules”
  • Email 1: didn’t answer the question
  • Email 2: replied with a lot of copy/paste messaging about irrelevant stuff I already knew but did say the minimum amount related to “integrity of our system”, didn’t know what that was supposed to mean, not really an answer.
  • Email 3: again didn’t answer my question and told me to phone in, however, given that most staff don’t know there is even a minimum withdrawal amount I thought this would be a futile effort and there is no reason why they can’t tell me over email.
  • Email 4: again didn’t anser my question, copied and pasted some fluff from their system
  • Email 5: yet again didn’t answer my question, copied and pasted even more fluff from their system.

Conclusions

  • There could be a perfectly legitimate reason why they have set this amount, even though the majority of PayPal’s competitors have set it at $1, but I can’t get that answer from the company, or more likely they don’t want to tell customers.
  • It actually takes 10+ days to transfer money into PayPal Canada in order for me to withdraw the $15 out, which is a nightmare really. Other platforms have faster “deposit from bank account” process.
  • If PayPal customer service cannot answer this simple question how are they going to perform at other, probably more important, questions?
  • People will, rightfully or wrongfully, assume they are holding onto these smaller amounts to maximise their profits
  • PayPal might be a great company with a good product and hard dedicated workers but these frustrating issues override any worthwhile things they might want to achieve.
  • There are many other companies that provide similar services to PayPal so it’s worth looking around for one that meets your needs.

Final Say

PayPal might be ok to deal if:

  • Any transactions you may want to withdraw quickly into your bank account are over the minimum withdrawal limit, the platform is not good for small amounts (as is often advertised).
  • You are not reliant on moving funds into them from your bank account quickly,
  • You don’t have to deal with customer service as they don’t appear to be particularly helpful in resolving matters.
  • PayPal have had a lot of media attention through their dodgy practices, been the subject of class action law suits and many unhappy people can be found online. Here is one frightening incident involving PayPal I picked up on:
By |2019-04-28T23:55:20+00:00April 24th, 2019|Customer Service|0 Comments

Worst Customer Service 2018

Customer ServiceEvery year I have reported on my worst Customer Service experiences, this is a summary of my bad experiences in 2018.  I seem to report the same companies year in year out who aren’t able to get their act together or at least don’t learn lessons from previous experiences. I’m not sure why that is, maybe they just don’t want to listen to clients or they are too big to be able to pull themselves together.

When it comes to Customer Service my expectations are as follows:

  1. Preferably I can resolve any issues via self-service through a website/online account.
  2. If I have to reach out to a company I expect that:
    1. I only have to call them once
    2. I don’t have to keep chasing them for an answer
    3. I don’t have to escalate to social media, or even worse the Better Business Bureau, to get them to do something about the issue

Sounds easy huh? Not for some companies.

Kaiser Permanente

I stopped doing business with them 18 months ago when we moved from the US to Canada.  I had many awful experiences with them when I was a customer I was so pleased to be shot of them.  All of a sudden this year I started receiving sales emails from them despite telling them to never contact me again. Of course, they don’t have any business in Canada so I reached out to them to find out why they had started contacting me and asking them to take me off the mailing list.  This episode went on for many weeks trying to get an answer from them to the extent that I had to report them to the Better Business Bureau.  They finally responded to the BBB comment but not only did they lie but didn’t answer the questions I had. So, the issue was never resolved but hopefully, they got the message and won’t ever contact me again.

HSBC

Again, another company who we consistently having issues with, the UK is much better than Canada and the US.

We closed our accounts in the US as we experienced some racism from one of the Virginia branches. We tried for over a year to get a safety deposit box here in Canada.  We went to multiple HSBC branches, some had availability and some didn’t. No one ever seemed to be available to take us through the “sign up and approval” process, not sure why we had to go through that, didn’t have that workflow with any other banks. So, this went on and on with promises of a call back’s and more, it never happened. Finally, we escalated to a manager who we were dealing with about something else. She tried to be as helpful as she could but it took weeks for her to get something going too by which time we were so fed up and dragged down by the process we just had to say we’d take our business elsewhere.  This should have been the simplest thing to resolve and I’m not sure why it was so difficult for them.

Hostgator

I used to host my website with this company and had multiple problems, in particular with downtime. I had so much back and forth with them I was never getting really helpful answers. They charged me for something they shouldn’t have done but fortunately they did resolve that, not without a bit of aggravation, but it was thankfully put to rest.  I just think this company take on more than it can chew with the number of customers on shared hosting plans that many sites fall over despite not reach the limitations of the plan they signed up for.  I’ve never come across a friendly and helpful person in this company, I wonder what the work climate in there is like.

Telus

Earlier this year Telus tried to sign us up for their cable package but there was so much confusion over the plan they were offering we decided not to go ahead.  I believe this was mainly due to Telus agents, companies that act on Telus’ behalf to sell plans.  We wanted to see details of the plan in writing with terms and conditions, I thought this was reasonable before signing up to anything.  This was not forthcoming from anyone, even Telus told us this wouldn’t be available until after we had signed the contract.  I found all this terribly bizarre and they wouldn’t supply me with what I needed to make a decision so we didn’t go ahead. It could have gone better for them. We have encountered some of Telus’ own salespeople at various events, to say they are aggressive is an understatement, although I do appreciate the company sponsoring so many good community events. There was one issue I had with them which was resolved very quickly, maybe they are improving?

Summary

It could have been worse, I know many people who are going through far worse issues with companies that I have, so I am thankful most of these are just annoyances rather than something more serious.

By |2019-01-07T23:33:30+00:00January 7th, 2019|Customer Service|0 Comments