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March 22, 2017, 10:19:05 PM *
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Author Topic: How long is too long to wait for a reply?  (Read 1125 times)
grahame
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« Reply #15 on: February 14, 2017, 06:37:50 PM »

Once it takes beyond a certain time to get replies to customer queries out due to backlog, an organisation's going to be in trouble because even more queries are going to start coming in saying "where's my answer", and any short term expedient of bringing more staff on will be diluted as those staff have to be indoctrinated trained into the mindset and response pattern on the organisation to ensure consistency of message.   Bit of a mess, really.

I have worked for organisations that outsource their purchase contracts through the like of Capita and have found that for us - as a small supplier filling a very specialist niche - such contracts have put us to a considerable amount of extra work, and have added significantly to the workload of our contacts in the parent organisation.   It's also tended to make it harder for us to specify the right tuned product for the end user customer, and in our payment on completion to require both tenacity and patience to obtain. I am very conscious, though, that we are not a typical supplier as we provide one-of courses and the sign of success  is that our customer the know what to do and don't need to re-order from us!
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simonw
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« Reply #16 on: February 14, 2017, 07:16:37 PM »

Outsourcing has many benefits, where the function is defined and well monitored, however when things have gone wrong, who do you want salvaging your reputation?

  • trained, sympathetic/empathetic member of staff who can address issues quickly, to a point where all are happy
  • outsource to an external company, where the staff might be responding to anyone multiple calls via a soft phone (computer) where the screen identified the company this caller is asking about, and the processes guide for dealing with the call?

I know who I'd like to talk to, and it certainly wouldn't be the stressed person who has handled a mobile phone complaint, broadband issue and then been passed to a train customer, and every time they look up they can see a scoreboard listing the total call queue length, numbers waiting by company, and how long till a toilet/coffee break.

 
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the void
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« Reply #17 on: February 15, 2017, 07:19:38 AM »



I know who I'd like to talk to, and it certainly wouldn't be the stressed person who has handled a mobile phone complaint, broadband issue and then been passed to a train customer, and every time they look up they can see a scoreboard listing the total call queue length, numbers waiting by company, and how long till a toilet/coffee break.

 

It doesn't work like that, the FG contract is handled by a dedicated office, with dedicated staff, there is no crossover with other contracts, that would be insane - how would anyone be expected to retain that kind of knowledge?! Even within the FG office there are dedicated teams for the different subcontracts - GWR, TPE & Hull Trains, and within these subcontracts there are dedicated teams for different workstreams - Customer Support, Telesales, Aftersales etc. There is no crossover, each advisor works in a specific team.

I'm not saying it makes it any better, of course it would be better to have an in-house GWR Customer Support team, but that's a First Group decision, but the staff are certainly not shared amongst multiple contracts.
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TaplowGreen
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« Reply #18 on: February 15, 2017, 08:31:37 AM »





It doesn't work like that, the FG contract is handled by a dedicated office, with dedicated staff, there is no crossover with other contracts, that would be insane - how would anyone be expected to retain that kind of knowledge?! Even within the FG office there are dedicated teams for the different subcontracts - GWR, TPE & Hull Trains, and within these subcontracts there are dedicated teams for different workstreams - Customer Support, Telesales, Aftersales etc. There is no crossover, each advisor works in a specific team.

I'm not saying it makes it any better, of course it would be better to have an in-house GWR Customer Support team, but that's a First Group decision, but the staff are certainly not shared amongst multiple contracts.

If that's the case, and despite all the "dedicated" resources the service is still appalling, it reflects very badly on GWR and their management's decision to outsource to an organisation which clearly isn't up to it, it could only have been a cost cutting exercise rather than anything in the customer's interest, and I suspect Capita came in with the lowest bid - they generally do, and you generally get what you pay for.

It would be interesting to see the KPIs which where agreed, and the details of any penalties imposed for missing them.

The more that gets escalated to Hopwood, the better, as this will catalyse more assertive action against the supplier to improve performance.

Notwithstanding the outsourcing, GWR need to take it on the chin - a business decision to outsource a function does not absolve the organisation's accountability for delivering it, addressing poor performance with a supplier is an internal matter.

"Building a Greater West" eh?  Roll Eyes

« Last Edit: February 15, 2017, 08:58:18 AM by TaplowGreen » Logged
bignosemac
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« Reply #19 on: February 15, 2017, 09:36:26 AM »

"Building a Greater West" eh?  Roll Eyes

By having your Customer Services based in Warrington.  Roll Eyes

A little local knowledge can go a long way. But there won't be any of that now that there are no front line GWR Customer Service bods based in the area actually served by GWR's trains.
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the void
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« Reply #20 on: February 15, 2017, 05:41:15 PM »

The previous supplier was based in Mumbai, so it's a little closer! One of the reasons for the change in supplier was that plans were afoot to close the legacy Plymouth contact centre and move the entire operation to Mumbai. The Plymouth office closed anyway, but the operation did at least remain in the UK.

Preston Brook's route knowledge is arguably worse than Mumbai's though!
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bignosemac
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« Reply #21 on: February 16, 2017, 10:23:41 PM »

The previous supplier was based in Mumbai

With a fair percentage of Customer Service staff based in Plymouth.
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richwarwicker
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« Reply #22 on: February 18, 2017, 09:15:08 AM »

Other than the issue of cost is there the benefit to companies outsourcing their customer relations of deniability. We are, after all, sat here now blaming Capita for these delays rather than pointing the finger at First Group.
I feel the same could be said about the TOC vs Network Rail debacle. Could TOCs really run things better or is it just more convenient to have someone to blame?

The majority of passengers and complainants won't know it's outsourced, so will still blame First Group.

Capita's competence is such, that they are making predecessors Serco look good. That takes a hell of a lot of effort in itself!
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TaplowGreen
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« Reply #23 on: February 18, 2017, 11:24:31 AM »

Other than the issue of cost is there the benefit to companies outsourcing their customer relations of deniability. We are, after all, sat here now blaming Capita for these delays rather than pointing the finger at First Group.
I feel the same could be said about the TOC vs Network Rail debacle. Could TOCs really run things better or is it just more convenient to have someone to blame?

The majority of passengers and complainants won't know it's outsourced, so will still blame First Group.




And they are quite correct to do so.....it's First Group who collect the fares, and provide the service. If they choose to outsource bits of it to Capita on the cheap, they have to face the music when it falls over......you can outsource responsibility, but not accountability.
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ellendune
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« Reply #24 on: February 18, 2017, 12:15:43 PM »

The majority of passengers and complainants won't know it's outsourced, so will still blame First Group.

And they are quite correct to do so.....it's First Group who collect the fares, and provide the service. If they choose to outsource bits of it to Capita on the cheap, they have to face the music when it falls over......you can outsource responsibility, but not accountability.

Absolutely right that's why no company should outsource its customer relations function. Its a core function of any business!
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brizzlechris
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« Reply #25 on: March 10, 2017, 07:48:16 PM »

The latest auto-response now offers this guidance...

Quote
At the moment, we're dealing with a lot more enquiries than normal; so it may take longer than usual to reply to your email. Many of our customers will still receive a reply within 1-2 weeks, but some could wait longer.
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TaplowGreen
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« Reply #26 on: March 10, 2017, 09:19:34 PM »

The latest auto-response now offers this guidance...

Quote
At the moment, we're dealing with a lot more enquiries than normal; so it may take longer than usual to reply to your email. Many of our customers will still receive a reply within 1-2 weeks, but some could wait longer.

Suitably vague!
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NickB
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« Reply #27 on: March 13, 2017, 12:24:10 PM »

Could someone post Mark Hopwood's email address please as I'm sick to the backteeth of these inadequates.

After two months waiting I received a response to my query over the weekend, which was simply 'when is the next meet the manager session at Paddington as your website only contains dates up to July 2016?'.  Guess what... I've been sent the dates for 2016, which have been cut and pasted off of the website. 

The irony of course is that all I want to do is talk to someone from GWR about how s*** their customer services are.  And this is how they answer it...  Stunning.
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IndustryInsider
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« Reply #28 on: March 13, 2017, 12:38:47 PM »

Mark.Hopwood@gwr.com
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NickB
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« Reply #29 on: March 13, 2017, 12:40:01 PM »

Much appreciated. 

Who would like to take some bets on time taken to respond?
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