A tale of two problems – online customer service

By | May 15, 2023
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Today, I wanted to quickly share a couple of tech-based customer services experiences I’ve had over the last few days. You may wish to compare and contrast…

So, a couple of weeks ago I ordered a new TV. Fancy 4K smart thing (basically, I wanted a bigger screen, and it just happened to come with all the bells and whistles). Anyway, I didn’t get on with it once it was all set up – it didn’t cope very well with fast movement on the screen (for whatever reason) and it was sending me cross-eyed, so I decided I needed to send it back.

Now, I was dreading this, to be honest.

I’d bought the TV from Argos, and their customer service is done by online chat nowadays. Honestly, I’ve got better things to do with my weekend than argue with a bot, but I steeled myself and got on with it.

I can genuinely say it was the best online customer service experience I’ve ever had. The bot asked me for my name, email address (to send a transcript to at the end), order number and nature of the query – then I was straight through to a person! No frustrating loops or waiting half an hour for someone to connect. The whole thing was dealt with in about 5 minutes and the courier’s coming to pick it up this afternoon.

I left one very happy customer – thank you very much Argos!

This was in stark contrast with a holiday I’ve got booked for half term.

So a few days ago, Ryanair emailed me to say that my flight home had been cancelled. They don’t have a plane – so fair dos – but still frustrating. They said I could reschedule or get a refund, I just needed to sign in on their website to do it. So far so good. But that’s where things started getting complicated.

You see, I didn’t book my flight through Ryanair – I booked it as part of a package through one of these budget holiday websites. It’s four days in Benidorm with the kids, I wasn’t bothered about anything fancy. But that meant that I had to jump through various hoops to register directly with Ryanair before I could change my flight. I had to take photos of my driving licence, a selfie of me, this weird “live check” video thing, where it tells you to move your head and blink your eyes and smile. Urghhh – all a bit tiresome.

So I did that – first time the “live check” failed. I am alive, honest!

Tried again – got a full set of green ticks. Hurray! But the next step was to make an account. I did that, tapped OK, logged in. Fine.

I went to try and change my flight, and it had forgotten all that ID-checking palaver! I nearly screamed. So I did it all again – photo of front of licence, photo of back of licence, selfie, weird video thing. I’ve got it down pat by now.

Finally, I’m in.

And I couldn’t change the flight anyway, because the holiday website I booked through hadn’t finished paying Ryanair yet.

This holiday had better be worth it!

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