Wednesday 7 February 2018

Poor Customer Service and getting results online.

I'm getting increasingly fed up with up.

The last few times I've had a problem with major organisations and companies, I've followed the correct procedures, emailed the dedicated customer service team and waited for their response. Failing to get a response, where possible I've visited the relevant department and finally taken to Social Media, had an immediate response and the matter has been resolved within 24 hours.

Why have a customer service email and procedure to follow on a website when all you need to do is complain on twitter?

It irks me and it's not fair on people who don't use social media or have access to the internet and have to resort to being fobbed off over the telephone, after pressing a combination of buttons and being put on hold at considerable expense or being fobbed off face to face or even worse waiting for a reply via the postal system.

I visited several branches to obtain a deposit after a house move at the 'happiness centre' I left in tears on more than one occasion after being told all the paperwork they told me to have was incorrect and in the bank had a complete meltdown when i was made to obtain a ticket and queue 3 separate times to complete my banking needs and was in the branch for over an hour, as I had to see people in 3 different departments to change address and print a statement.

Living in Dubai I'm constantly comparing between here and the UK, whilst I find the above works pretty much the same in both countries, what I find different about Dubai is the service in the stores.

There appears to be an assumption in Dubai that all customers must be followed around the stores, closely by a sales assistant, muttering at you the entire time, taking your purchases off you and trying to get you to the counter or leading away from what you're looking at to show you something better and usually more expensive. This is for a variety of reasons.

Firstly, if they assist you with a sale, they may get commission on your purchase, secondly, if they're seen not to put packing your bags and serving you at break neck speed, then their manager will tell them off for not helping and thirdly because they think it's what we want or in some cases demand.

For me it feels rushed, I feel like I'm suspected of shop lifting. I like to browse. I may pick up several items to compare and then decide which one or two I would like to purchase. I might like to pack my own bags as I don't want potatoes put on top of bread or meat in with fruit or one item per plastic bag as I've actually brought my own bags with me.

Quite often though it is assumed you don't actually know what you want or what you are doing so they assume what you want and take over leading you down an avenue to purchase something you don't actually want or need. I don't speak any other language other than English and I'm pretty much in awe of people who do speak other languages, but often things get lost in translation or people just don't listen and it's difficult to get them to stop and work out what you are actually asking for without shouting at them to stop and listen.

But what irritates me the most is when I go into a relatively empty store, have dealt with most of the above and as I put something back on a rail or a shelf, before my hand has even left the object, the staff are right by your side, tidying it and lining it back up with perfection, making you feel like you're just an inconvenience and all it makes me want to do is leave the store and ruffle their window display as I exit.

Change is a big issue also for me as in no one ever has any and they think it's ok just to give you the receipt, since the introduction of VAT in January, unless the total is a round number, I'm no longer using cash and am paying by card, as I estimate I can save 2-3 dirhams a day which can add up to quite a considerable saving every year.

In Dubai there are 3 coins.

1 dirham
50 fils
25 fils

Prices are not set where it is possible to give exact change so a lot of rounding is done, if you pay by bank card you'll be deducted the 67 fils, if you pay by cash, they'll take 50 fils and let you off the rest.
Although sometimes if the total is 10.67 and you give them 11 dhs, you'll not get the change.

The cash machine dispenses large notes in denominations of 100, 200, 500 and 1000, yet the shops rarely have change for you. I was turned away from Boots trying to buy an 11 dhs packet of sanitary pads in an emergency and due to the fact I was using a UK bank card at the time I'd withdrawn 1000 dhs to save on costs and it came out the machine in 1 note. 

They will often force customers to use a bank card for small purchases, which is ok for me as I have a local card, but for a tourist, the charges can often cost more than the product.

A lot of companies are now charging VAT on products and services purchased prior to it's introduction earlier this month and it's causing a lot of arguments. We purchased a service agreement for Peter's car last year, there are 3 services left. At the time of purchase they were aware that VAT would be introduced, yet they waited until January 1st to ask for payment on all remaining services. Now in my mind that is not acceptable. It may be correct, but large organisations should in the name of good customer service, absorb these costs for their customers and only charge the VAT on newly purchased services. They're also trying to do it with gym memberships, purchased last year. Many companies have also taken the opportunity to increase their prices. At the car wash I was informed the price increase was due to the added 5% VAT, but in December the cost was 25 dirhams, now it is 36.75 dirhams, meaning a price increase of 10 dirhams for the same service, yet they're trying to tell me it's only gone up because of the added VAT.

I was denied access to speak with the manager at the garage, I called head office who informed me I had to speak to the manager, I called customer services who informed me I had to speak with the manager and despite telling them both no one made any effort on the desk to ask the manager to speak to me, they just then quoted the law about VAT at me on a loop till eventually I was forced to pay it as the garage refused to hand my car back to me until I did.

That is poor customer service and we will not be renewing the service agreement with them.

Do you have experiences with poor customer service? Does it always take longer to resolve an issue than it should? Is it the same where ever you are in the world?


  1. I really feel that customer service in general has gone downhill, but I think its more due to big bosses wanting targets to be met rather than giving a genuinely good experience. Unfortunately we're just numbers to them now!
    Thank you for sharing this with us at #TriumphantTales. I hope to see you back next week!

    1. yep and the person who works in the store really doesn't care if you go and shop elsewhere, there is little ownership these days and it's just viewed as a job

  2. That is pretty poor service. I wouldn't buy anything if I was followed around the shop like that. Customer service is very variable where I live but having worked in retail in the past I know it is a very hard job with lots of targets and few rewards #pocolo

    1. I used to train back to work people in customer service and retail, i'm sure it doesn't get taught as a subject anymore

  3. Oh gosh! The shops sound so frustrating.
    I have always found complaining on Twitter works wonders. A few years ago I spent days arguing with British Gas about something and being passed from pillar to post. I spent 10 minutes on Twitter & it was sorted.

    1. really irritates me and they make out they're doing you a favour by responding to your tweet also

  4. I hate calling the customer service, and having to listen to half an hour of music, so annoying. I have once complained to Tesco on Twitter, but it didn't help much. And I absolutely detest shopping assistants following you. If I need help, I'll go and ask you, don't bother me with unsolicited advice. Thankfully, I don't often have this problem, maybe my face is intimidating. :) And in restaurants, you can't have a meal without being asked every five minutes if everything is all right. I feel like saying, it was, until you came to bother me, just go away. I'm a grumpy old woman.

    1. yep I'm a grumpy old woman also, must learn to stop snapping at people though

  5. I think customer service isn't valued as highly in the UK as it is in America. I always feel much better when in America whether it's shopping or in a restaurant - the service is almost always better.
    Thanks for linking to #pocolo

    1. I don't think there's much good about customer service in most places these days sadly

  6. Oh I think I'd be irked too - with all of that - especially the change, and all that queuing. I know we like to queue but productive queuing not for time wasting. thanks for sharing with #PoCoLo

    1. having similar issues in the UK, I'm going mad