Poor customer service from British Gas- but are they alone?

You’ve probably seen the news today that British Gas were fined £2.5M for not handling customer complaints properly. It seems strange to me that in the current economic environment companies could be failing to deliver good quality customer service when I would expect us all to be fighting hard to hang on to every customer we have got.
And yet, when I think about it, I have noticed a few disappointing customer experiences myself recently. One scenario which I seem to encounter with increasing regularity is the company that has ‘helpfully’ put lots of advice and support on to their website, but then rather than offering this as an added service seems to offer less direct support to compensate. So when you ring them up for help, you get a pre-recorded message telling you how busy they all are (does that inspire confidence?) and that there is lots of help on their website. 15 minutes later, having discovered that my situation isn’t covered by their website I ring back again, to find out that they are still very busy helping other customers and reluctantly join a queue to speak to someone.
And that doesn’t even take into account the people who don’t have internet access, or aren’t confident using it or would just rather interact with a human being.
It really is critical to make sure that as business owners we continue to delight and exceed (or at least meet) our customer’s expectations. It’s probably worth a small investment to measure customer satisfaction or monitor the actual customer experience of trading with your business. If you can use the knowledge to improve customer retention it will pay for itself many times over by saving the huge cost of finding new customers to replace the ones you would have lost.
Happy marketing,