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Anthony Healds frustrations with Sainsbury’s Bank last week struck a chord with me. If you didn’t see it, here it is.

“Four and a half minutes of IVR which screamed ‘GO ONLINE AND SERVE YOURSELF’. I tried that but as I wanted to cancel a card the website told me to call.

‘Due to Covid…’ followed by ‘due to severe weather…’, regularly interspersed with ‘YOU CAN DO MOST THINGS ONLINE’. This is a blue chip brand here that clearly did not want to talk to me, despite telling me to call.

Hey ho, after the four and a half minutes of IVR I then waited half an hour before giving up. And the best bit…if I want to complain guess which number I have to ring? Yep, the same number that went unanswered for over 30 minutes.”

It reminded me of my own issues with Paypal towards the end of last year, which is still unresolved. All I wanted to do was changed my mobile number on my account. When I log in, you have to have to put your mobile number in to log in. well I can’t do that. Try the live chat. No, you can’t change your mobile number here, you need to ring up.

After a lot of searching and no help on the website, I finally find a phone number, to be treated with the voice recognition tool. Sorry, you can’t change your mobile number via this service, please try the live chat.

So I go to complain. And guess what. To complain, you have to log in. Nope, can’t do that either, as to log in you have to have your mobile number. AAAGGH!!!

My point is, where are the people that design these journeys and processes? Where are they all hiding? They are not people that are prominent in the CX industry and no one who is would admit to such appalling work, so where do they come from?  If anyone knows please enlighten us all

Also this week, there has been lots of debate about deliveries going wrong.  Sharon Boyd’s post about her valentines days substitution from Sainsbury’s was hilarious, substituting a valentines card with greaseproof paper. Our own delivery driver told the story last week of how he had been presented with a substitution for his previous customer of a bag of sliced lemons for a bottle of Worcester sauce! And we also had the half eaten KitKat incident go viral this week

But it makes a more serious point. In any business with millions of transactions per day or each week, things will always go wrong. There used to be an old adage, an unhappy customer will tell 10 people about it. Well now, that could very easily be 20,000 within a day, and dealing with that has become a very fine skill.

Alex Mead wrote this week and stimulated a lot of debate about Amazons halo slipping. There has been lots of comments and complaint from a lot of customers about late deliveries and poor communication.

Much of it it has to be said are issues with the 3PL providers, but its amazon who people are buying from and its very unfair of them to shove the blame onto overworked couriers getting 5p a parcel with no employment rights or on a zero hours contract if they are lucky.

All this also ties into the latest Institute of Customer Service CSI  Report recently published. It says that as far as customers are concerned, things are getting worse, not better. The sad things is, we could have been saying this for much of the last 5 years.

I’ve seen a few comments from people in the CX industry saying it’s not getting worse. Well customers are saying different and we as an industry need to face up to this and ask ourselves why this is. We could carry on saying the boardroom are not getting it, or we could carry on saying CX is still too silo’d, or that IT is still failing us. Or we can recognise it for what it is and accept the challenge to develop our profession.

How much of this is just 1st world problems? Are we just a bit too self-entitled these days, or maybe we just have to accept it’s the on demand world we live in.

Your thoughts as ever, greatly appreciated


Honourable mentions this week for Anthony heald, Sharon boyd, alex mead

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