If I had one (money-related) wish for the new decade, it would be for the return of good old-fashioned customer service.
I regularly despair as I attempt to dodge the endless costly traps lying in wait for me.
In just the past ten days I’ve battled with my home insurer after the price of my policy was hiked by 30 per cent for no reason, chased my old energy supplier for a £174 refund I’ve been owed for months and lost my temper with a spa company after it buried extra charges for booking on a Saturday in its voucher small print.
Every customer should be seen as an opportunity, not a problem. Treat them well and they will stay loyal. This doesn’t mean just doing whatever is necessary to get a customer through the door, or get a sale over the line. Aftercare is equally as important
And, judging by Money Mail’s bulging postbag, it is clear I’m not the only one who is utterly fed up.
Every week, dozens of letters and emails pour in with tales of how you have been driven to distraction by banks, energy suppliers, insurers — you name it.
Is it really too much to expect businesses to treat their customers fairly?
In the past year, the Money Mail team has won back nearly £600,000 for readers — money they may otherwise never have seen again.
And while we will never stop fighting your corner, it is time for companies to wake up and root out poor service once and for all.
Every customer should be seen as an opportunity, not a problem. Treat them well and they will stay loyal. This doesn’t mean just doing whatever is necessary to get a customer through the door, or get a sale over the line. Aftercare is equally as important.
My partner and I just had a terrible experience when trying to get my beautiful new engagement ring resized. It’s such a shame, because, instead of returning to the same jewellery shop to get our wedding bands, we’ll now almost certainly be going elsewhere.
And we aren’t alone. One of the biggest gripes we see in our Money Mail inbox — particularly at this time of year — is about retailers refusing to help customers who later experience a problem with their purchase. You say your phone calls and emails are routinely ignored and, when you go in store, staff just pass the buck to suppliers, who then pass it back.
If only our suffering High Street would remember that customers are for life, not just for Christmas.
Of course, there are simple steps you can take to protect your pocket — see Pages 35 and 36 for our consumer champion Tony Hazell’s 50 top tips.
GIVEN my sentiments above, it is more important than ever to highlight any examples of good customer service.
So thank you to everyone who has written in response to my mini-competition calling for top service tales from the past year.
I will be revealing the winning letter (or email) next week, so if you haven’t yet sent in your good service nomination, you’ve only got a few days left.
There could be a bottle of champagne with your name on it!
I’M always on the lookout for nifty ways to trick myself into saving a little extra each month.
So, one of my New Year resolutions for 2019 was to sign up for a mobile phone app that automatically squirrels away spare change. I chose Moneybox, which rounds up my spending to the nearest £1 and moves it into a stocks and shares Isa.
After 12 months, I was thrilled to discover that my pot is now worth almost £500 and currently earning around a 4 per cent return.
It’s not a life-changing sum of money, but what’s so brilliant is that, with only small amounts leaving my account each week, I barely even noticed it had gone.
And if I can save another £500 each year for the next decade like this, I’ll have built up a pot worth £5,000 — before any interest is even added — with zero effort.
If you have set yourself a money-making New Year resolution for 2020, or cashed in as a result of a goal you made at the beginning of 2019, write to me at the email address below, or Money Mail, 2 Derry Street, London, W8 5TT. I’ll print the best letters in my column next week.
For now, on behalf of the whole team at Money Mail, we wish you a very Happy New Year.
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