Saturday, 4 July 2009

Nation Wideboys

Update: 8 July 09, Nationwide rang to resolve the query. Victory for CCS!

Smiling and helpful customer services? We think not. Read on to find out why.

Nationwide are under the spotlight this week. They have a reputation for poor customer service in a number of places online e.g. 'It pays to decide NOT Nationwide' and 'Nationwide Building Society equals poor customer service'. The details below have been passed on by the customer in question - we will pass any comments on to them.

Failing 1 - Customer Services no help over the phone
On 21st May 2009, at 7.30pm, a customer rang Customer Services to ask a straightforward question about their insurance policy. They were put on hold, and eventually hung up after a long wait with their question unanswered. (We are tempted to give an extra 'crap' symbol for the fact that being 'put on hold' and forced to pay to listen to dire music with the fear that you will be cut off or just left hanging is a major irritation, but we will be generous to Nationwide for now). Nationwide's Customer Services had all the details of the customer they had spoken to, and their query - but no one had the courtesy to ring the customer back once they did have an answer. Obviously the customer did not want to try that system again.

Failing 2 - The website offered no simple email or postal address
The customer then visited the Nationwide website to find an email address, but found that the only options offered were to either phone again, or to register for Internet Banking just so that they could send an email, which would be ridiculous. Nor did they want to go into town to their local branch just to ask this straightforward question. Nowhere was there an email address (their preferred form of communication) or a simple postal address, either of which would make customers’ lives easier. Obviously Nationwide does not intend to be helpful. When will companies learn that they should not put barriers (such as forced registration) in the way of their customers?

Failing 3 - An employee from Nationwide completely ignored their communication
In the end the customer filled in the online form on the site (22 May 09, 1.30pm) - knowing that at least someone would read their message then, and could forward it to the correct party or team. They explicitly stated that they did not want to register for online banking; they were unhappy with the phone service; and they wanted an answer in writing, since it was about insurance clauses. They asked for either the email address of someone in Nationwide who could deal with their query, or for the person reading the form output to forward their message to the appropriate person. The customer also explicitly stated how important this was to them. However whatever staff member read that obviously ignored it, since there was no reply or follow up. That may be the fault of the staff member, or of Nationwide’s deliberately unhelpful policies.

Failing 4 - Nationwide ignored a letter
In the end the customer wrote a formal letter to Member Services on 26th May 2009, hoping that at least a different person would receive it - surely a third member of Nationwide's Customer Services wouldn't ignore a customer? That would be more than just poor luck or accident, it would imply a level of contempt or ineptitude on Nationwide's part.

The customer pointed out that what should have been a simple query had wasted their time and left them annoyed. The letter pointed out that if their query was not dealt with this time, they would not only be switching company, but they would publicise the poor service they received online, and would also send personal letters of complaint to Geoffrey Howe (Chairman) and Robert Walther (Joint Deputy Chairman), explaining why Customer Services do not deserve to use that title.

Part of the letter sent to Nationwide

The result? Not even a reply. Nationwide appeared not to care about their customer or reputation.

Nationwide have been informed of their rating below, and we will post any updates here.

Nationwide's current score:

1 comment:

lawrence said...

anyone interested in starting class action against natiowide please say