The customer service divide – what is going wrong?

Yesterday I experienced terrible customer service at the hands of a well known large company. I was bounced around six different departments (which included my hanging up and redialing, and not to freephone numbers). Different departments were quite rude about other departments, then myself. My query was never really successfully answered and as one customer service rep told me bluntly: “You are being fobbed off”. Great!

As a result of this I was left frustrated and angry but what saddens me most, is that I wasn’t surprised. Nowadays it seems that good service is the exception rather than the rule. When I do my shopping, be it online or otherwise I use a variety of retailers, both large companies and smaller, independent ones. Over time I have noticed that the levels of good customer service between these are widening. I rarely receive anything but excellent service from smaller retailers and on the odd occasion that there has been a problem, it is usually dealt with quickly, efficiently and pleasantly.

I have to wonder if more needs to be done with larger companies to narrow the divide. I know that the company I encountered yesterday have an extensive induction and training programme and that customer service is included heavily in this. What is going wrong? What can these companies do to pull their levels of customer service up? Do staff need to be monitored more carefully? Is this plausable, given the extra workload and expensive it would cause? I hate to see large companies written off / slated because of the actions of the few.

What is the answer? Do you agree that smaller businesses and services have much better service records than larger companies? Why do you think this is and what can be done in big businesses to bridge the gap?

Blogging Pressure

Do you feel pressured when it comes to blogging? Over the last few weeks and months my timelines have been littered with tweets and status messages about people feeling they “have” to blog.

Really need to blog today, didn’t do one yesterday

I need to do some posts but I just can’t think of anything to write?!”

Seeing messages like these sadden me. For the most part, people blog for themselves, for fun, for their families and for an outlet. It seems that when they start they thoroughly enjoy it but it can become a chore, why is that?

I love blogging, it’s an outlet for me, it’s fun. I can use Curly&Candid for whatever I like, to share recipes, family news, debates, to discuss world events or to campaign. It’s a tool, a thing… it’s not “me“. If I don’t blog one day, two days or a week I don’t worry that the blog might cease to be or that I will implode. The day that I wake up and feel I have to blog is the day that I stop blogging. I don’t think anyone needs that pressure.

I hear lots about link-ups, again how people MUST make sure they do it. I’m pretty sure no-one who runs a linky would want people to feel this pressure to perform as it were. Britmums now have a weekly blog prompt, and although this isn’t something I would use myself, for some I expect it can  be fun /useful; will it however become another of these things that people feel they have to do? I hope not.

At what stage do you feel like you have to blog, when did it become a job, do you feel the pressure to keep up with everyone else?

Social media is the greatest tool and sometimes the worst de motivator. The recent surge of “experts” popping up from nowhere ready to tell you how to blog better and how to be the best blogger don’t help. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with wanting to improve your bloggy technical expertise or  work on your writing style and sites such as Blogger.ed (which I highly recommend!) are a fantastic resource of info and advice.  I just think that overall bloggers can be bombarded with info on what they should rather than being offered hints, tips and advice.

So where does it come from, is the pressure forced upon us as a blogger by social media and the blogosphere or do we pile it upon ourselves? This is an issue I’m genuinely curious about. What do you think?

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