Typical - it never rains but it pours. It's been a busy old week what with one thing and another. Gartner's CRM summit came and went, leaving the outsouring industry fuming in its wake over claims that most customer service outsourcing was doomed to fail; Salesforce.com made another new version announcement and Microsoft attempted to clear up some of the question surrounding the direction of the fabled Project Green.
Almost unnoticed was the news that NTL was this week named as the worst customer service provider in the UK in a poll by Internet Market Research Services. The survey also brought bad news for BT which drops out of the best firms to take second worst behind NTL.
Tesco offers the best customer service for the second year in succession, while other good practitioners include Virgin, Asda, Morrisons, Safeway, Boots, First Direct, John Lewis and Orange.
On the roll of shame were PC WOrld, Currys, Dixons, British Gas, Comet, Argos and Vodafone. Online book retailer Amazon surprisingly dropped out of the top ten of good service providers following complaints about Christmas deliveries.
NTL's ranking does not surprise me in the slightest. I've phoned them and emailed them many times trying to get them to cable my apartment - all the other buildings in the street are cabled so the infrastructure is there - only to be told by a succession of gormless sounding individuals that my address doesn't exist in their database and so thereforce cannot exist. Curiously enough it does appear to exist in whatever junk mail database they use as the ever increasing slice of rain forest that gets shoved through my letter box every other week seems to prove.
BT of course will come as no surprise to anyone. Since my encounter with the Bangalore service desk a few weeks ago I've had several emails from CMC readers who've 'enjoyed' the same level of customer service, based on the mafiosa principle of thinly veiled threats and intimidation it seems. Perhaps the fact that BT fell from being in the top ranking to near top in the worst ranking might give them some pause for thought... but you know I'm not going to hold my breath on that one.
Most surprising to me was Amazon's fall from grace, due it seems to the age old problem of supply chain over Christmas. Every January we seem to end up reading the same old stories about people not receiving granny's new cardigan in time for Chrismas after ordering it from granny_cardies.co.uk. In a lot of these cases the fact that they didn't order it until Christmas Eve probably didn't help. I can't help but wonder whether Amazon is getting flack for the dreadful state of the postal service rather than for any in-built problems itself. I know I received a present from Debenhams Online on the 5th January that had been ordered on the 10th of December. I'm not about to blame Debenhams for that.
Still we have our winners and our losers. Do you agree with the rankings? Let us know what customer experiences you've had with the companies on this list, good or bad.
News & Analysis Editor
Find out more about Stuart Lauchlan.
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