PHONE RAGE INDEX, SEPTEMBER 2013

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HMRC is the first organization to achieve a 1 megatonne yield on the phone rage index

Updated and expanded index now incorporates customer comments and feedback from social media

HMRC tops leader board of companies that befuddle callers with their complex telephone menus

New entrants include BT, Sky and the TV Licensing Agency

PleasePress1.com, the website devoted to making it easier for consumers to get through to companies on the phone, today publishes its second Phone Rage Index, ranking the UK’s most frustrating automated phone menus. Devised by former IT manager Nigel Clarke, the index is a review of the industry based on data collected on his website PleasePress1.com. It pinpoints the UK’s most ineffective customer service lines and today for the first time includes verbatim user feedback to help shoppers in the market for new services to make informed decisions.

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The Rage Index considers and weights the number of menu options, the levels within each menu and the length of introductions in formulating its rankings. Expanded to include the twenty worst offenders, the index identifies a broad range of brands from retailers to insurance companies and service providers.

Despite some new arrivals, HMRC, aka The Tax Man, has the dubious honour of topping the Phone Rage Index again. HMRC’s phone lines offer an eye-watering 400 options for customers to wade through.

BT, Sky and the TV Licensing Agency are new entrants to the index published today. Strong views are expressed by consumers who have been driven to despair after struggling to make contact with these companies.

Customer feedback offers instructive advice for the companies and potential users of the services. “I cannot get through to speak to a human being. No option for my query.” said one customer in reference to the Royal Mail’s enquiry line. Another directed their anger at the TV Licensing Agency: “There are 4 levels of options before you can actually speak to somebody, even then I got blasted by loud Beethoven classical music – very frustrating!” Other comments speak for themselves: “Sky!! So frustrating! Leave you on hold for ages in between passing you around to various wrong departments!”

The biggest improvement within the index comes from Lloyds TSB, Halifax, Direct Line and Co-operative insurance who have dropped out of the top twenty altogether. They are closely followed by the Ford Motor Company who has dropped 15 places to land at number 17.

“What we’re seeing here is that no particular sector is to blame. It seems to be a general attitude to so-called service” said Nigel. “It’s a widespread issue yet some of these companies actually say they pride themselves on their customer service. I’ve had a vast amount of feedback via social media and on the website which is available to view online. There is a real buyer beware message here and the index is useful for both existing customers and those who are considering their options.”

He added: “It may appear that companies are trying to delay the inevitable contact from customers who, by the time they get there, are ready to slam the phone down.”

PleasePress1.com has received an average of 400,000 hits per month since the launch of the service in May. During that time, the website has been inundated with requests for new features and the inclusion of additional brands and services. Several companies, including Saga, Plantronics and Lloyds TSB have responded positively to Nigel’s campaign by providing full details of their phone menus.

Nigel believes that by using his website, UK consumers could save a combined £100million* in phone charges every year. Also, by using the key codes published on PleasePress1.com, consumers can shave several minutes off their call times to contact centres.

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