Customer Service and Service Delivery – Get it right!

I’ve not written a post like this in a while!

I’ve had a couple of experiences over the last few days that reinforces how customer service and service are not mutually exclusive

You need to get them both right if you want your business to stand out from the rest. This sort of thing is highlighted to me when dealing with larger companies

In my last post I talked about my shiny new HTC Touch 2 Windows Phone. Well guess what, it’s broken 🙁

I was out watching my Sunday football team at the weekend (watching is all I’m doing at the moment as I need a knee operation) and I’d forgotten to charge my phone. By the time I got home the battery was dead so I hooked it up to the charger and left it

When I checked on it few hours later the phone started up and shortly after the home screen was displayed the whole thing locked up. None of the buttons worked nor did the touch screen. I couldn’t even power it off and had to either pop the battery out or press the soft reset button

I performed a hard reset (press both the volume buttons and turn it on) but it was still the same

So the following morning I called T-Mobile and braved their telephone menu system

I spoke to a customer service agent who asked what the problem was

I explained the problem, told her that I’d tried a hard reset and said that the phone was unusable

She asked if the problem occurred in specific menus on the phone or all menus. I said that I couldn’t get into ANY menus. The phone locks up before then

She said ordering a new one shouldn’t be a problem and it would arrive tomorrow. So far so good I thought but it turns out there wasn’t any stock. Service delivery fail!

I needed to know where this put me as I was now without a phone

She seemed surprised at this

“Are you not calling from the phone?”, she said

my perplexed reply was, “No. I’ve already said the phone is unusable”

“You said that the problem only occurred in certain menus”

“No. I said that I couldn’t even get into ANY menus, the phone is unusable”

Customer service fail! You really need to listen to the customer when they are describing a problem

She basically then said I had two options, wait for stock or take it my nearest service centre

I asked where the nearest centre was and she gave me the address before adding,

“If you take it there the repair could take up to 28 days”

Multiple fail! This isn’t doing anything to solve my problem. I have phone I’m paying for and can’t use. Waiting 28 days isn’t really an option I want

She then told me that she would monitor the stock and call me the following day to let me know the phone was dispatched so I’d get it the following day

That was Monday, I didn’t receive a phone call at all on Tuesday so I’m not expecting any phone to show up today.

Yet more fail! If you promise to do something for your customer, make sure you actually do it. If they hadn’t received any stock so I wouldn’t have been getting a phone today, at least keep me informed to that fact!

In contrast I had to take my car to the garage recently. It’s something I always dread as you hear lots of horror stories about people getting ripped off for work that doesn’t need doing.

However, the garage I go to have really good customer service, they did the exactly the work they said they were going to at a reasonable price and even sorted out a problem with car they probably should have charged me extra for

In their reception area they have a notice board full of letters of thanks from previous customers. Recommendations from happy customers are always a good thing to see

What’s the difference between these two companies?


As a small business it’s really something that’s critical. There are tons of garages I could have taken my car to so by making me into a happy customer they get my repeat business. It’s a real differentiator

For big business it’s difficult to keep a high level of service across your whole company, there is also less competition and they all have similar problems

So now I’m off to ring T-Mobile again..that’ll be fun

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Andy Parkes is Technical Director at Coventry based IT support company IBIT Solutions. Formerly, coordinator of AMITPRO and Microsoft Partner Area Lead for 2012-2013. He also isn't a fan of describing himself in the third person.

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5 thoughts on “Customer Service and Service Delivery – Get it right!

  • I hate big companies, I always feel they are saying things to me to get rid of me on the phone. The one company who I feel has been great for me is Sky. I had problems with my HD box and were always attentive and helpful and did their best.

    I can out Packard Bell for having terrible customer service though. I bought a new PC back in May and the system restore image was faulty and I could not make another. PC World said to call Packard Bell as they had the discs. So I called them and they wanted something like £50-60 for a set of restore discs. I said they could not charge me under warranty for something which was inherently faulty from the start and they insisted I had to pay. So I said I would take them to small claims court for a copy of the discs. Their reply was “give us a ring back then when you have spoken to a solicitor”. I couldn’t believe the disrespect they treated people. I will never ever knowingly use a packard bell product ever again just because of those few small words to me.

  • Oh and BTW, because the problems I was having with the pc had lasted over 30 days without a fix (it had problems) after what packard bell said, I took the PC back to the shop and exchanged it for another brand. They piss me off and they lose a sale 🙂

  • Having worked in one of the largest organisations in the world, it was something that we unfortunately experienced principly because of the way that the business was structured – particularly with the likes of mobile phones and insurance.. For example, it’s one of the reasons why what level of warranty you buy on hardware matters at times like these. Premium warranty tends to get you a local and dedicated account manager to hand hold you through the process. Just like a SBSC Partner with their clients.

    Small and medium businesses will almost always have the upper hand in these situations and whilst larger corporates have the geographical and media reach, it is the clever SMBer that finds ways to surf on their coat tails and pick up those licking their wounds. Not an easy job to do, and not great that you have to go through a bad experience in the first place to get to it. Still being the Phoenix from the Ashes is a great feeling…

    However, it’s always worth remembering that there are plenty of people who do have a good experiences but don’t shout about it. Constructive feedback is only useful if someone takes action on the back of it. Make sure you take a case number or a name to be able to loop the feedback back into those who can make a difference.

  • Thanks Susanne

    I know what you mean about picking up the aftermath from a previous supplier. It’s great for us for it’s always a shame that the customer has had to go through it in the first place

    Appreciate there are good experiences too and my post probably does lean towards small businesses

    I do try to shout about good experiences when i have them, we should encourage more people to do it!

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