Thousands hang up on TalkTalk as the second-largest telecoms company in the UK is awarded the Wooden Spoon Award for worst customer service
They say talk is cheap, but if you’re TalkTalk, it could well be the reverse and end up losing you a fair bit of money along with some 4 million phone and broadband customers.
That’s because, in 2010, TalkTalk was the first company to be awarded the dubious honour of Money Mail’s Wooden Spoon Award.
In case you’re out of the loop, the Wooden Spoon award is presented to companies with exceptionally bad customer service and is meant to prompt companies to improve customer service levels and enable them to handle consumer complaints more efficiently.
Companies usually aim to dodge the award – no one wants to win it and certainly no one wants to have its win publicised. Once it becomes known that a company has won such an award, its reputation is shattered and its inept services and often-appalling ways in which consumer complaints are dealt with are exposed.
Even worse for the telecoms company, TalkTalk later went on to win the award again in 2011, with a massive 26% of the vote – a shocking revelation that the company clearly had not improved its way of dealing with consumer complaints. The firm was so mortified by this shameful exposure that Chief Executive Dido Harding refused to be photographed with the two awards. Ms Harding was understandably disheartened at winning for a second time and acknowledged that the company’s customer service is ‘not yet good enough’.
Last August, TalkTalk and its sister company Tiscali were fined £3 million for inaccurate billing of some 65,000 customers for services they had not received.
So why do companies do this? Why are customers’ consumer rights being violated left, right and centre? Well, you might think it’s because they can get away with it and to an extent, you’d be right.
Conventional complaints procedures seem to be the only way consumers can attempt to resolve their issues. And you all know how frustrating those can be – filling in the complex forms, posting them off, waiting for a response that never comes…
Or you might dial an offshore call centre only to be met with further frustration on the other end of the phone. You feel your stress levels rising, your temper is off the scale and you ask for a superior thinking they’ll be able to resolve your issue but often, you’re met with even more excuses.
Sound familiar? You’re not alone. So many of us don’t know how to complain or where to complain that we feel stuck. We know what we want to complain about (poor customer service) but we haven’t got a voice or any way to channel our frustrations. At least voting in polls like the Money Mail’s is one way of making our voices count. Eventually companies will have to listen