When a customer is happy, he will tell a few friends. When a customer is not happy, the whole world will hear about it. There! Let’s try how far the power of blogging and social media can go.
Why would I want this? To have a rant? No, not really. Just to warn other customers, and maybe prevent some of them from having an experience like the one I had.
Ironically, this is what I received after five tweets from the bank. When they must have realised that the usual sugar sweet coating is not working (“We are sorry to hear about this” sort of stuff).
Let’s start from the beginning, shall I. It was a mid term school break here in England last week (half-term they call it, by the way). Time for quality time with your kids… and, let’s face it, some quiet moments in front of the TV.
Not since Friday, when we realised our TV was broken. Literally. Don’t ask me how. No blinking idea. All I can say is that I have a two and a half year old toddler. She must have bashed it, for all I know. Little do I care how, to be frank. The result can’t really be changed: what is done, is done.
After the initial panic and desperation, this bright idea got into our head, like in the radio advert: “Relax, we’re covered!” A quick look at our home insurance booklet proved that yes, we were. Yupee, we will get this sorted and will have a new TV in no time!
Right. This was Friday night. Being used to this (remember the saga with Vodafone, anyone??), I decided to start my chronicles (again) – just in case things didn’t go too smoothly.
Day One. Saturday
Call to my bank to check: is this type of damage really covered by our policy? You know, small print and stuff.
They couldn’t really tell. Not until they’d seen the TV. Fair enough.
Perhaps here I should explain that I have been their customer for fourteen years (I know, where does the time go!!). Only just recently we decided to move our house insurance to them: all under one roof, so to speak, as they’ll surely look after us even better.
I have my own sources and know how much Lloyds strive for excellent customer service.
Or do they.
“If our service today is less that 10 out of 10, we want to know why!” This is displayed in their consultation rooms. Well, my score is definitely a… z-e-r-o.
So, back to my Saturday morning waking up exercise. A polite lady took all the details. Not all of them, mind. There obviously wasn’t a box to be ticked for customers like us who only knew what had happened, but didn’t know how it happened exactly. Eventually, we somehow made it through to the end of her interrogation. We were now expecting a phone call from the company dealing with the assessment. 24-hour timescale. I may as well give you their name, too:
If you can, stay clear of Direct Validations Services (DVS)!
Following another one of our desperate bright ideas, I headed over to Twitter to try and speed things up. Which did lead to something: a missed phone call. Whom from? Irrelevant, really, as by the time I managed to call them back, they were closed. Apparently, they finish at 1 pm on Saturdays. Convenient.
Day 2. Sunday
No TV; kids at home. Oh joy. Looking forward to tomorrow when all will be sorted!
Day 3. Monday
Waking up exercise: I called the home insurance team again. Or was it their complaints department… Well, anyway, I was told that they were unable to influence the valuators’ timescales. I beg your pardon? Lloyds Bank, who has contracted some company to work on their behalf, cannot interfere with their work?? So this must be how they make sure they look after their customers – and reputation.
We patiently explained that if anyone would need anything from us, we’d be free all day. Otherwise, we would only be at home after 6 pm: we do have to work for living. The lady happily said she’d check to make sure this was OK and would give me a ring to confirm.
Nothing rang any alarm bells. Everything was under control.
Note: nothing could be done without DVS’ assessment. As helpful as the bank tried to be, they depended on the valuators – who’d call within 48 hours.
Here is the time to mention that someone I know had liquid spilt over his TV. All he was asked to do by his insurers was explain what happened and send a photo over. Logical and hassle-free.
No one took the responsibility to give us an idea of any timescales. Report, decisions, actions… Would we have a new TV within a couple of weeks? No one would say. Highly unlikely.
Oh, and I forgot to mention, at some point it became clear (from one of the many phone calls) that they actually had to take the TV away to assess the damage – not just visit us. Which is when it got even more complicated.
Needless to say, no phone call.
Day 4. Back-to-Work Tuesday
After my N-th tweet, I got a concerned phone call from Lloyds Customer Care. Othewise known as their complaint department. The lady was so concerned, I nearly melted. Yes, it must be frustrating to be without TV during half term! She would get onto our case right away and try to speed it up! How lovely.
Later that day I missed yet another phone call. Last time I was in a poor signal area. This time I was at work – but no one bothered leaving a message. Since no one called again, we assumed we should expect a visit after 6 pm.
Guess if anyone turned up.
Day 5. End-of-Story Wednesday
First thing in the morning I called my ever so friendly Customer Care representative. She was, once again, as sweet as honey. This time, having learnt my lesson, I kept checking my phone throughout the day: all I needed was another missed call!
Complication: I got into trouble with my manager for being on the phone all day.
Afternoon. Missed call, surprisingly followed by a voice mail. We got news: the TV could only be collected between 9-5. This must be a joke.
This time my conversation took substantially longer. And it got heated. Very. Obviously, our home insurers cannot possibly take into account that some of their paying customers may be working full-time and may not be able to take a whole day off to wait for collection of their TV/fridge/cooker/whatever is damaged.
In all fairness, we were given an option – to leave it with a neighbour: very clever. Is it me, or is the option of leaving a 40′ television set with a neigbour a bit ridiculous? To which Sophie had the balls to reply: “Well, it’s not like you have to carry it somewhere!”
My jaw dropped. Excellent customer care, Sophie! 5-star service!
You can probably guess where this is leading. We cancelled the insurance.
She thought she’d clarify it: “Are you also cancelling the claim?”
Crikey, she should be a rocket scientist!
I won’t bore you with details on how many times and why I was put on hold. But what you may find amusing is the other option we were generously given: to find a local electrician to look at the TV and produce an official report of what happened (which even we didn’t know!) – in our own time and at our own cost.
Am I being awkward by thinking that, somehow, this is not our job??
So, to summarise. The bank we have been using for fourteen years lost me and my husband as clients within five days. F-I-V-E. Simply because their assessors were unwilling to find a way to collect our TV outside of standard working hours. Imagine if we had a serious problem with our house – like this one:
And the purpose of this whole exercise was only to ascertain whether this particular damage was covered by our policy.
It may even not have been. But I had no patience to find out. Would you?
P.S. We will now be looking to move all our Lloyds Bank products to other providers. Anyone wonder why? And, by the way, a couple of years ago my other half had a car insurance with Lloyds. They were just as useless when it came to representing him during his claim.
So, for all these reasons, I’m out.