Recently I have had 2 issues. One with Lloyds TSB Bank and the other with British Gas. The reason for writing this blog post is to highlight my experience of their social media teams. One was excellent, the other awful.
British Gas Experience
A few months ago, I asked for a name to be removed from my Gas Bill. I have lived in my flat for over 2 years and needed some simple housekeeping to the bill done. I have never missed a payment, the account is up to date so thought this would be a simple process. To cut a very long story short. It was a total nightmare. In fact they removed me from the bill and left just the other person. Whilst this situation was ongoing, I must have called their customer care number at least 7 times and spent at least 40 mins on each call going over things with each new person. Whilst I was calling their customer care, I was tweeting @BritishGasHelp with what was happening.
After my 7th failed attempt, I contacted the social media team. I have to say that within minutes Tom their main man was on the case. Sorting it all out for me. Calling me back when he said he would, helping me by advising me what had happened, and how he was personally going to sort it out. He also apologised for their errors. He then followed it up with tweets giving me feedback and dates on when things would happen & then when it had all been sorted, called me to make sure all was ok. Exactly how customer care should be done.
He took ownership of the issue, had the authority to actually do something and then went and actually did it and kept me firmly in the loop with what was happening.
Lloyds TSB Bank Experience
On March 25th 2013 I went into the Lloyds TSB branch in High Road Finchley N12. In the branch I handed in a form to close a business bank account. I have had this account for well over 3 years, it has never had a penny in it, and it costs me bank charges each month even though I am not using it.
I checked my Online banking and it has remained live ever since. Then suddenly appeared the £5.15 bank charges. Instead of calling the Bank, I decided to contact their social media team. Surely this was a simple thing. I had already closed the account. They replied to me saying that they would get a relationship manager to contact me. Nothing. I have since then contacted them a further 3 times asking when this person was going to contact me. All they keep saying is that someone will contact me. Nothing, Nada…
Tonight, on the 9th May, I gave up on waiting and decided to call them. So firstly what was the point of having a social media team? they sorted nothing out, resolved nothing and if the idea was that it stops customers calling in, err.. wrong as well. I called their Internet banking division. 8 mins of waiting and got through to someone. He told me.. Wrong department and he could do nothing. He then transferred me.. err right.. the old pretending to transfer someone to a never answered phone line.
I then hung up and called the normal banking customer care number. 8 mins or so of waiting and then I got through to someone. Explained what I wanted to do, His reply was that he could not close the account, and that he was going to give my number to a relationship manager to call me. Err Why? the account has never had a penny in it, never been used. So why do I need to speak to someone else who supposedly will call me?
A very simple situation has been made so complex and time consuming. I have already handed in the form to a branch. I have now had to waste more time speaking to people that cannot help or do anything to sort it out for me. This would have been a perfect situation for their social media team. Take ownership, deal with it and keep me posted on what they had done. But no.. It was a total waste of time.
I hope that these 2 examples highlight the difference that a well run social media team can have to a businesses customer care. British Gas got it sorted and for me my first port of call will always be their social media team. Lloyds TSB Bank were awful. Everyone just passing me from pillar to post for what was a simple thing.
Love to hear your comments on this or any other social media examples of good and bad customer care.
On Friday 10th May I received 2 calls from Lloyds TSB Managers. One of them closed the account down and later on the other Manager apologised for what had happened and offered me compensation by way of a sorry that this had happened. I also was invited to take part with their Online customer service questionnaire which I duly did.