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News : Worst Call Centres Named and Shamed
London, UK, May 20, 2015 -- It might be assumed that firms such as BT and TalkTalk know quite a lot about communication.
However, a study found that their call centre staff strike dread into customers who are looking for help and information.
A survey of more than 7,000 consumers looking at the performance of 65 large companies revealed alarming delays, misinformation and a ‘computer says no’ approach to service.
Consumer group Which? asked the public to rate the companies in terms of waiting times, the complexity of the phone menu system, staff knowledge, politeness and helpfulness.
A spokesman said: ‘The broadband and energy sectors fared worst overall with consumers frustrated by long waiting times, poor staff knowledge and lengthy phone menus.
‘BT, TalkTalk and Scottish Power all scored an overall rating of just one star.’
Other industries examined included banking, with Bank of Scotland at the bottom of the heap and car insurance, which rated Direct Line’s call centre the worst of the bunch.
Almost one in five people calling a broadband company – 17 per cent – felt the person they spoke to had poor or very poor knowledge of the service.
Alarmingly, a third – 34 per cent – of BT broadband customers rated its customer service as poor or very poor. While 18 per cent of Npower’s electricity customers thought staff knowledge of its products and services was poor or very poor.
By contrast Ovo Energy, NFU Mutual, Zen Internet and First Direct all scored five stars across the board.
Last week Scottish Power was named and shamed by Citizens Advice for an all-time record number of complaints following the introduction of a shambolic billing system. Its call centre became so overwhelmed that customers have found it impossible to make contact and sort out the mess.
Which? executive director Richard Lloyd said: ‘Unfortunately, poor customer service from call-centres has become a 21st century bug-bear for too many people. Customers should vote with their feet. We want the worst offenders in our survey to raise their game by answering the phone quicker and improving staff training to demonstrate they really value their customers’ time.’
BT said: ‘We’re disappointed by the results of the survey. We are investing significantly to improve our customer service in order to make our service easier for our customers.’
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
Today's Tip of the Day - Involve Staff
More Editorial From Which?
Which? is a brand name used by the Consumers' Association, a registered charity (No. 296072), and company Limited by Guarantee (No. 580128), which is based in the United Kingdom. It exists to promote informed consumer choice in the purchase of goods and services, by testing products, highlighting inferior products or services, raising awareness of consumer rights and offering independent advice. The association owns several businesses, including Which? Limited which publishes Which? magazine, Which? Financial Services Limited (Which? Mortgage Advisers) and Which? Legal Limited.
BT is provider of communications services and solutions for everybody in the UK and for corporate customers in the rest of Europe, with global reach through partnerships. BT provides services for all UK customers, network services and solutions for communication companies, worldwide business solutions, internet services, and advanced research and technology.
Published: Tuesday, May 26, 2015