It is one of the great ironies of life that when you telephone a telephone company to complain it is very difficult to get through by telephone. Don’t they have enough telephones and telephonists? Telephone companies rank amongst the most complained about companies in the UK and many people get extremely frustrated with them. So what is the best way to approach your next row with BT, Sky or whoever?
  • Don’t spend too long on the phone to “Customer Services”. Unless you like listening to Vivaldi and you enjoy being passed from pillar to post do not be too tolerant of the system that they want you to follow.
  • If the Customer helpline is busy (”Your call is valuable to us, you are held in a queue etc etc”) call the Sales line. They always answer that and that can be an easier route in.
  • If you are passed to a numbskull who plainly does not understand your complaint or who is wholly incapable of dealing with it in any sensible way, demand to speak to his or her supervisor. The supervisor may well speak better English and have more power.
  • Create an email paper trail whatever else you do and keep on reverting if you can to the same person who understands your issue. The worst problems arise when someone new is dealing with your complaint every time.
  • If you are getting no joy a very powerful weapon is to threaten to vote with your feet. If you ask to end your contract (or with mobile phone companies ask for the MAC code) you will usually be transferred to the rather anally-named “Retentions Department” who may go the extra mile to resolve your complaint. Telephone companies well know that the market is very competitive and that disgruntled customers will walk.
  • You will tend to get more sympathy if you can demonstrate to someone at the company concerned that you have already been through the mill. It is not a bad tactic to try a charm offensive in a forceful but very polite way saying how terribly disappointed you are. The fallback position is aggression but do not become abusive either in writing on the phone – that is always counter-productive.