All of these forms of communication are so crucial to the way we live our daily lives but they don’t come cheap. They probably represent one of the largest chunks of monthly expenditure after our mortgage/rent and electricity/gas bills.
And given how much money we are paying for all of these packages, we shouldn’t ever have to put up with problems. Resolver.co.uk users regularly get in touch to tell me about issues they are suffering from bad connections, poor customer service or their bills and packages going up in price.
On the flip side, there was actually a recent report from UK communications regulator Ofcom that showed a decline in the number of complaints made between April and June 2016 about these sort of providers.
But to me, that doesn’t necessarily mean there is less to complain about. It may simply mean people aren’t taking the time to complain, or are finding it hard to do so.
I know from experience – ever since we launched Resolver to make complaining easier – that so many people are put off raising issues because they see it as wasting time, impossible to get satisfaction from big businesses and also complicated to do.
And if anyone has ever waited on hold for ages or searched fruitlessly for the right email address to contact, you’ll know the frustrations that can be involved. That’s exactly why we exist, to get around those problems and make life simpler for everyone with an issue to raise.
Our free and independent template emails do just that and we can see the benefit clearly during 2016 so far. Users of Resolver.co.uk have taken the time to raise 2,600+ issues about TV providers, 2,500+ relating to landline phones, 18,000+ about mobile networks and 14,000+ regarding internet and broadband.
I always remind people that they have far more power than they assume. Big companies can only continue to be big companies if they have customers. And no-one wants to lose customers due to bad service.
And often the only time they hear or know about bad service is when people like you get in touch with them to tell them about it.
So what can you do to help with that? Here’re some of my key tips for dealing with communications providers when you have a problem…
Don’t wait until the last minute. Know when your contract is up – put it in a diary or calendar – and tell your provider you are thinking of leaving them. They won’t want to hear that. But you have no reason to stay loyal unless they are loyal to you back with a decent deal renewal. Usually, they will offer you some good reasons to stay a customer, especially if you provide quotes from competitors and ask them to match the prices. However, and this is key, you don’t have to accept their first offer. Even if they say it is the best possible price they can give you, it isn’t always. Always keep negotiating until YOU are happy.
Every month, Resolver.co.uk publishes a list of the top companies for customer service to help people like you know which are the best businesses to buy from. This allows you to go off, search out other deals and decide which is right for you based on price, reviews, customer feedback and our own independent chart. There’s so much competition out there today that you can sometimes find the same deal, or nearly as good, by switching provider. And that’s never as much hassle these days as you believe it to be. Besides, if you can get more for your money as a ‘new’ customer elsewhere, then it makes total sense even if it means a few days of disruption and some phone calls and forms. That’s the only way bad businesses begin to shape up when they realise they are losing custom.
In every company of all shapes and sizes, there’s a group of people whose one and only job is to keep you happy and keep you as a customer. Don’t be afraid to speak to them and move on from Customer Services if the employee there is not giving you what you want. You might even find that they will actually offer you a much better deal than the one already offered by their own colleague in another department. They have far more room to move and ultimately they do not want to lose you. Just be polite and friendly and don’t demand. Simply ask for what you want and feel is the best deal and base it on quotes elsewhere or changes in your own circumstances.
Always be careful to never to let a contract ‘roll over’ into a new period. Sometimes this will mean any special offers you’ve previously had given to you will be taken off your bill and you’ll find you’re paying far more with little or no way to get out of the new contract. Always start way ahead of time to be able to negotiate new deals and pricing. You’d be surprised how many people forget this and not all companies will inform you of your impending contract end date or that it is time to renew. Many contracts are continuous and simply roll over unless you make the effort and act to cancel them. So be careful and read all the terms and conditions carefully and check through any letters received in the post or emails arriving in your inbox that you may think are circulars or spam but are actually far more important.
Finally remember this… never be afraid to tell a company if you are not experiencing good enough service or the price is not right for you. You are the customer and you deserve the best. Now go out and get what you’re entitled to and that’s simply the best deal possible for you personally.