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Service Tracker

FROM: Nuno Leitao

What NEED does this meet?
Customer Service in the UK and other countries is poor. This is due to a number of factors, but mainly because there is no way to "name and shame" companies (big or small) that offer poor customer service.

What is the APPROACH?
The plan is to develop a simple, yet functional website that allows people to "name and shame" companies or organisations (governmental or not) that offer sub-standard customer service. This would be controled by a "voting network" -- i.e., once an organisation is nominated, people can either vote organisations up or down, depending on their own experience with them.

The website would also include a "service tracker" with the top-10 poor service organisations divided by categories. Users would also be able to read other people's stories about particular organisations so they are better informed when buying a service or product.

What are the BENEFITS to people?
Offer consumers a way to share their experiences and better select who they spend their time and money with.

What is the COMPETITION?
No competition I know of - this idea is genius, so go and implement it! :-)

What BUDGET & LOGISTICS are required?
It shouldn't be too difficult (probably between 6 to 12 man months of implementation time) -- a £5,000 budget should be sufficient to implement an initial version that allows the site to gain traction.

October 30, 2003 in Empowering Consumers, Increasing Awareness, Reputation Systems, User Created Content | Permalink


In Australia there is a very effective site - NotGoodEnough.org.
NGE work in conjunction with one of the consumer affairs TV shows to extend their 'shaming' range and perform quite a good litmus test before purchasing products.
In the UK www.ciao.co.uk has a good product based community review

Posted by: Jeremy E Cath at Oct 30, 2003 10:42:23 PM

I believe that the decline in customer service is something that requires legislation to fix. Often economic forces create conditions where all the companies in an industry have to compete on price. One way to do this is cut customer service costs. Once cut they won't come back because the rest of the industry has done the same in order to stay competative. The only way to ensure minimum levels of customer service is to apply an external force like legislation.

A current example of this downward spiral are the mobile phone operators. They all seem to be extremely focused on extracting every last penny from their consumers with the least amount of customer service from them. My pet hate which has become common practice in almost all industries, is that they are putting all their customer service lines on 0870 numbers. These numbers generate revenue for their owners in the same way as a premium rate number. Now look at the economics of this. Will the company answer the phone promply, have an expensive human deal with your complaint and resolve it? Or will they answer the call with an automated system, spend minutes giving you promitional messages and explaining the many "useful" options, put you on a queue for 20 minutes and then report that the queue isn't going to get any better and you should call back another time? The second approach generates revenue for the company and a lot of people will drop their issue because it's too hard to resolve. The economics are completely wrong. All a league table in the mobile phone industry would show is small variations in extremely poor and, frankly abusive customer service.

What we need to do is arrange for the economics of the customer service situation to be reversed. It should be expensive for companies to fail to provide good service. League tables won't stop the downward spiral. Legislation that inverts the economic factors will and might even produce a virtuous spiral (one that causes incremental improvement).

-_-_ Alan Skea.

Posted by: Alan Skea at Oct 30, 2003 11:28:41 PM

Perhaps an idea such as this could be integrated into my 'Brand Facts' ( http://mysociety.blogs.com/mysociety/2003/10/brand_facts.html ) idea. Level of customer service is just one part of the 'perfect information' we need. Its level of importance will vary for different people.

Posted by: Jake at Oct 31, 2003 10:38:01 AM

Jake, yes -- it would make sense to collapse the two ideas together. I suggest you re-propose your idea with hints of my idea in it. :-)


Posted by: Nuno Leitao at Oct 31, 2003 1:54:50 PM


Posted by: poppen at Aug 31, 2008 12:10:24 PM