More and more companies are spending more and more time and money on Customer Relationship Management (CRM).
This is based on the theory that happy customers will buy more products more often (repeat purchasers) and, because they are happy customers, they will advocate these products to other people (word of mouth).
Thus it seems strange that they are willing to sacrifice their CRM investment in their after sales methods.
I have a little domestic experience of my own to share...
Well over a year ago, I received an invoice from a 'utility' supplier. As it was over 50% more than the previous period, I queried the sum stated on the invoice.
None of us like to complain of course, especially when it involves the telephone experience we all hate - twenty minutes listening to a recorded message "please hold on, your call is valuable to us" etc. followed by a futile conversation with an operator who, is unauthorised to explain or agree to anything at all.
In this experience of mine, after several minutes of going round in circles, I asked the call centre person to make a note of my query and pass it on to whoever could explain the unexplained increase in my bill.
Later, out of the blue as it were, I received a letter threatening me that, unless I paid up within seven days, my case would be passed on to a 'Debt Recovery Agency'.
No attempt whatsoever was made to respond to my query.
I was told that, unless I settled by bill within 14 days, I was at risk of the following:
- Registration of a County Court Judgement which could affect your credit rating for six years
- Registration of a charge against any property you own
- Instructing Enforcement Agents to visit your property and remove goods
- Contacting your employer to deduct your debt directly from your salary
- Ordering your Bank or Building Society to pay your debt directly to us
All I am doing is querying a bill and I face the possibility of 'Enforcement Agents' bashing through my front door and nicking my possessions from my house?
What sort of system is it that big business can override genuine customer queries with scare tactics and bully boy behaviour such as this?
For scare tactics and bully boy behaviour this certainly is. The threatening letter from which I have quoted above was dated over six months ago in 2012. Yet, despite the seven day deadline, none of these threats have been carried out. So ...
Who are these 'Debt Recovery' people?
Who and what are 'Enforcement Agents'?
What right do they have to force their way into my house?
How many people are being treated like this?
How can they be allowed to frighten people in this way?
To what extent would this terrify vulnerable customers such as the elderly?
How many of them have the resources to resist such aggression?
Is this behaviour legal?
What happened to the judicial process?
What happened to the rule of law?