On August 30th, mid-evening, our home was broken into. We were away overnight. Fortunately, we had recently installed a video doorbell which alerted me about the activity via my mobile phone, and which recorded footage of the offender trying to jimmy open the front door, failing, and then disappearing around the back of the house. He climbed onto a half roof, entered the house through a bedroom window, triggered the house alarm as a result, and scarpered empty-handed. In the meantime, I had alerted the police who arrived promptly but just missed him.
The video footage from the doorbell proved to be very useful. There was a clear image of the offender, and although he was not on the police database, they posted the image on social media, and as a result, he was arrested 2 weeks ago.
Yesterday the police rang me (no caller ID) to conduct a customer satisfaction survey about how well I thought they had handled the incident. It took about 12 minutes, the questions were not incisive, so my responses were anodyne, and it included questions at the end about my age, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, and soundness of body which had nothing to do with the issue at hand. Do the police not have more important things to do?
To the point of all of this: I was really happy with the way the police handled the break-in. I was much less happy with the customer satisfaction survey. But who do I complain to?
My tale is timely because today Which magazine published a report about how train users who complain to the Train Operating Company’s customer services feel even worse after than they did before. And not in small numbers – in the case of the now defunct Virgin East Coast 71% were even more dissatisfied after complaining than before.
The problem with complaints is that they are always the problem, and never the solution. People who are dissatisfied, for whatever reason, want a remedy; usually, a reasonable remedy which makes them feel that they have been listened to, treated respectfully and which makes them feel ‘restored’. They rarely get offered that, and they almost never get asked what they want. Of course, the problem is theirs as well, because complainers rarely describe what remedy they want, which leaves Customer Services staff having to guess. Seems to me this is a process in need of review.