I’ve recently taken over responsibility for the supply of gas to Dad’s property. The supplier, British Gas had confirmed they would send me a final bill for Dad’s account. In my initial dealings with British Gas I’d been liaising with a bereavement team who were spot on throughout. Based on my previous experiences with service providers, my heart sank a little when the bereavement team told me they were passing my dealings onto the usual billing team. So how’s it going?
Over the weekend I received a threatening letter demanding £380.73. The threats included additional charges to the bill if I don’t pay, passing the account to a debt collection agency, taking me to court and trashing my credit history. As you can imagine, this letter didn’t put me in the best of moods.
I called British Gas today to give them a meter reading for the property. Yeah I know, they didn’t have a meter reading yet somehow they managed to bypass the final bill and go straight to threats, you figure it out.
I dialled the number, and the machine asked for my 12 digit customer reference. I entered it then pushed several more choices before dropping into a queue. The guy who answered, we’ll call him Gassy, committed a classic call centre faux pas as he asked ‘Can I have your customer reference please?’ ‘You’ve already got it, I entered it when I dialled in’ I replied. I politely and firmly refused to give Gassy the number and he agreed that yep – he had it in front of him alright. Whuh?
Gassy then asked me to confirm the supply address (my Dad’s place) which I did and then we were off. I explained I was in receipt of this letter and I didn’t understand why. Gassy and I muddled about a bit, he got confused about addresses, ‘your address on the bill doesn’t match the one you gave me’ so I explained he’d asked me for the supply address not my home address. I could go on, and on, but you get the dull, tedious, boring, mechanical gist of things. Eventually I gave Gassy the meter reading, he reckoned that information would produce a much lower final bill and I should hear further in about two weeks. So much for the threatening letter eh?
After each one of these crappy service experiences in relation to sorting out Dad’s affairs, I keep hoping it’s the last and I keep being proved wrong. To be honest I feel a little awkward keeping writing about them but the truth is, the vast majority of these businesses I’m interacting with seem to be incapable of delivering a timely, accurate, and dare I say it sensitive service. They clearly don’t talk with and listen to customers when designing these experiences and the end results speak for themselves.
I wish I’d had the foresight to ask Gassy how he felt about the whole thing, after all it must be pretty crap being trained to deliver something so unhelpful and unsatisfying, no? I expect he may have exploded.