An update

Here, I wrote about a company that demonstrated the wrong way of trying to implement change in customer relations.

The situation has now been resolved in an unexpected way.

Their complaints procedure seems to be to ignore any correspondence they receive (this is my experience I have to stress). What correspondence I did receive from them amounted to an email informing me that they had sent the password details regarding the control panel used for invoices, to my client. Why they should use my email address to tell me this but then use another email address belonging to my client to send the actual details makes no sense to me.

I then received a paper letter from them telling me a payment was overdue and that they needed my VISA details. This surprised me as they had my card on continuous authority which is like a direct debit set-up. So once I had obtained the password details to the control panel from them (without so much as an apology from them for passing sensitive information to my client) I decided to take a look at the information on there.

I noticed the VISA details they had were for a card that had subsequently expired. My clients account with me was up to date and I decided that the little bit of mark-up I got out of handling this account was now no longer worth the extra work I had to do. So I contacted my client and told them they could take over the payment of the account if they wanted to, which they did. I received an email from the service provider asking me to confirm that this is indeed the case.

Job done. I had washed my hands of this incompetent company.

Several days later the telephone rings and it’s a representative of this company chasing me for my new card details. I told her that it helps if departments in a company talk to each other, then she would have known that the client had taken over the responsibility for payment. My gentle sarcasm was wasted on her; she couldn’t have cared less.

When I had looked at the control panel, and read the small print on the site, I noticed the company was now owned by a much larger parent company. Just as I had anticipated, the family owned, conscientious proprietors had carefully built up the company until they could sell it for a tidy profit. The company that bought it just wanted to make money. Whereas the original owners had asked themselves “How can we best serve our customers and make a profit?” the new owners asked themselves “How can we maximise our profits without losing existing customers?”

These are two entirely different questions.

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