“I’ve had terrible service, why do you still recommend those b*****ds?”

"I've had terrible service, why do you still recommend those b*****ds?"

"I've had terrible service, why do you still recommend those b*****ds?"

This type of message isn’t rare. We often get people emailing, tweeting or facebooking us with things like this. The other day it was over a telecoms company, a gentleman had received hideous customer service, was angry and demanded we drop the company from our guide.

Yet if we stopped mentioning every telecoms provider (or most companies for that matter) that someone had had abysmal service from we wouldn’t list any. Of course while we’re sympathetic, it’s not fair or practical to start deciding a policy from one person’s nightmare. When you have 10 million users, we have to look at a bigger picture.

For almost every company we see scores of complaints and equally scores of thank yous. To try and quantify this, in some areas these days we do regular customer service polls, which we publish to help people make their mind up. Interestingly the company this person complained about has a better than average feedback– with over half of its customers who voted rating it as ‘great’.   

But this gentleman was angry and furious that we wouldn’t remove it even though, as he’d exhausted all other routes, we offered to intervene for him and push for a solution.

It’s one of the reasons I have a site rule that we usually focus primarily on the rate – because service is just too subjective. Unless there’s a widespread and obvious problem that means the entire service is sub-standard, (like TalkTalk when it launched) we don’t remove it (though with our polls we do try and give the info as a choice).

Let me use First Direct as an example

To move it away from that specific complaint, let me use the example of First Direct. It has come overwhelmingly top for customer service EVERY time we’ve done a poll for our best bank accounts guide. 

It has 93% great rating, 5% ok and 2% poor – the best rating for any company in any of the guides we do service polls for. Yet that still means 1 in 50 customers rate it poor. I do remember someone stopping me once to tell me a First Direct horror story and how they’d never use it and we shouldn’t include it.

And that’s the problem, circumstances are individualised. I suspect it’s one reason there’s no CustomerServiceExpert.com as there’s no form of homogeneity. I’d be interested in your thoughts (below) in how we should balance the individual case versus the mass feedback.