Like f&&k it is…
I’m sure the pandemic caused companies a few initial issues with customer support, but two years on telephone support is still pretty abysmal and a website can’t give all of the answers.
Sometimes (after negotiating the various bloody menus and listening to the on hold music) you just need to talk to a human being
100% agree, the pandemic is still being used by many companies as an excuse for poor customer service. We keep getting told companies cant hire because of labour shortages, but I do wonder why this is an issue. Dont we still have the same number of people in the UK as we did pre-pandemic??
My bank is a classic case of this - every communication starts with a “we are very busy due to the pandemic, please use the web” etc etc. Pityful for an organiation that made $18.9 BILLION profit in the last financial year - perhaps they should spend some of this on new hires
My father died in October. The crap my mother has had to put up with from Mercer in trying to sort out his pension ever since is nothing short of abysmal.
Absolutely no easy way to find out who to contact, how to contact them or steps to take. No phone numbers given. No names available. They change their contact email addresses over the space of days.
I warned her beforehand I have experience myself of how awful Mercer is but even I am dumfounded and left speechless by the lack of anything positive about them whatsoever. A shambles and appalling. A dreadful, dreadful company to deal with.
Legal & General by contrast have been fully engaged, practical and efficient every step of the way.
To be far, it was much the same before the pandemic. Your call may be important to them, but not sufficiently important to employ enough people to answer the phone.
The only calls that are answered rapidly are sales enquiries. That shows what’s important.
If anyone needs some light relief, the sparks song with the same title as this thread is a recommended listen. The song says all of the above and more.
I wish I could say the same regarding potential fraud - basically somebody else using my address.
I have been unable to access by British Gas account online for almost 2 years - the website says the email is not registered. Numerous calls, eventually to a human, plus webchats have confirmed it’s the email address they have linked to me. Multiple assurances that it’s a ‘back-end’ issue that will be sorted within a few days are just bull, no one has managed to fix it so far. they also never call back when they say they will to check it’s sorted.
Currently I use little to no gas but pay the standing charge as disconnection/reconnection is potentially very expensive (so BG claim anyway). Paper bills are sporadic and I’m just annoyed there’s a risk I could miss a payment (quarterly billed) if I’m not told of a bill in a timely manner.
We’re also all being pushed to use smartphones to manage bank accounts/credit cards etc. Great when it works but for over a week a credit card app on iPhone (up to date app and iOS version) simply tells me it cannot get account information as I’m probably not connected to the internet which I most definitely am. 2 secure messages via the web browser portal have just generated generic answers and a phone discussion with an ‘adviser’ was equally useless telling me to do all the things I’d already checked and done including app deletion and re-installation. At least I get regular paper statements!
My condolences Jamie. I had all manner of hassles dealing with a local authority pension provider after my father’s death during the pandemic, there were no consistent lines of communication and discussions were often not recorded. Dad had the audacity not to die at the end of the month leading to increasingly aggressive attempts to reclaim a few days of ‘overpaid pension’.
When my mother died my father and I were stunned to discover he was only entitled to a few months of survivor’s half pension as she was a woman despite decades of service and contribution - had she been a man the wife would have had the half pension for life. Admittedly schemes are full of complexities which have changed over the decades due to changes in roles and current norms of 2 partners working.
Ouch. Is it an identity fraud issue or simply the address being used?
“Your call is important to us … but your time isn’t”
In New Zealand it is no better.
When I seek assistance from Air New Zealand or my ISP the answer phone says that due to “unusually heavy demand” my call may not be answered for 2 hours. However this “unusually heavy demand” is present whatever the day of the week or time of the day I ring. They obviously want us to use the website to sort things, but it is poorly designed and the FAQs list invariably does not answer my query. To add insult to injury, appalling music is played , usually involving some 23 year old woman screaming in a bathroom with a drum and bass accompaniment.
As someone who over the years has regularly had to ring the DWP as one aspect of my work I despair of the concept of “unexpected demand”. I don’t believe there’s any such thing. That 15 to 75 minute queue you’re in is very much all about the conscious choices of the organisation you’re contacting.
Called the Office of the Public Guardian yesterday (re PoA matter) and their 'phone system advises up to 20-week turnarounds on new requests. I just hope someone isn’t in need of an urgent PoA and/or doesn’t have a change in their mental capacity status over this timeline.
At #41 in their queue of calls, I decided against waiting.
I can’t say for absolute certainty but I reported this seven years ago thinking it was an admin type error. The life assurance policy start date happens to be my birthday, house number is the same and I have been a customer of the person named on the policy’s business who would have access to these details. His name is a Nigerian one so wasn’t difficult to find.
I’ve been assured by L&G that they sorted it but I’ve still received the letters. I’ve posted a copy of the letter on L&Gs Facebook page and contacted one of his businesses for whom he is the director. Not much has happened so far.
Barclays have won the prize for me of late in not responding to 3 calls from my aunt in trying to establish why they hadn’t transferred her ISA over to Aviva after c.6 weeks (a cash TF as being re-invested) - of course, all the staff in Barclays said the calls would be returned very quickly. It seems Barclays Smart Investor operation (outsourced as best I can see) is an atypical black box, with no contact 'phone numbers for customers and/or other FIs/providers.
Having made a formal complaint (with concerns explained on repercussions), they’ve responded after c. 5 weeks with compo of £100 for inconvenience, wholly over-looking the opportunity cost and differing valuation aspects caused by their in-actions - of course, not recognising that they broke ‘market dealing rules’ in not actioning the ISA-TF in a timely matter.
Customer Charter commitments eh, simply vacuous virtue-signalling statements.
When my father died I phoned his mobile phone company to tell them that he had died, and to cancel the contract. They said that they needed one month’s notice (or some such period). I apologised that we did not know that he was doing to die one month before he did so, but they were welcome to try talking to my father to come to some arrangement. We just ignored them, and they never came back to us.
Addendum - All ‘kicking off’ at chez-HL today.
2 small ‘point of sale’ debits showing today for ‘MYHERMES’ (the parcel people), when I don’t have any form of account with them nor have I ever posted anything with them.
…and they don’t have a person2person 'phone interface, just please send us a screenshot (of what precisely?!).
They’re now called Evri - avoid at all costs I would suggest.
Reported to bank as highly suspicious and fraudulent which, at first sight, they agreed with.
New debit card on way, existing one cancelled – of course, wonderful over Easter.
Oh dear, this is defo a soapbox subject for me and the target for my vehemence is SSE who are IMHO the worst of the worst. SSE in their infinite wisdom decided to ignore the fact my dear old dad had passed away and continue to send utility bills to his flat which was attached to a care home. This happened during lockdown so I was unable to access the Care Home grounds to go to his flat and collect any correspondence. Despite my having notified them of his passing it seems the Bereavement Department didn’t notify the billing department. This went on for some 18 months and I only found out about it when the Care Home Manager called me to say Bailiffs were on site demanding access to the apartment.
SSE insisted on slapping on the debt collection agency fees and court costs and then started chasing The Estate (i.e “me”) for settlement.
It took the intervention of the Energy Ombudsman to make them see sense in the end but they fought them all the way.
I totally get the sentiment and have suffered through this frustration many times. The worst I have encountered are Ryanair during their pilot walk out fiasco a few years ago.
However, a thumbs up to First Direct who have been a phone/internet bank since inception and have it nailed. Kudos also to AXA Health who, despite their claims of unexpected avalanches of calls, do have a call back system which actually works. I have been called back within a couple of hours every time.