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Where are Customer Service Rating Systems?

Cliff posted more than 7 years ago | from the purchase-is-only-the-start-of-the-relationship dept.

The Almighty Buck 25

mugnyte asks: "There are various ways to watch single complaints congeal into a groundswell of 'market issue' (Badware add-ons, Sony root-kit, AOL un-install, etc) via blogs and google numbers, but I'm finding no sites that rate Customer Service on an ongoing basis. I'm looking for something like the home-service-industry Angie's List or perhaps Tom's Hardware guide, but on the topic of Customer Service. Is there anyone doing the hard work to gather and legitimately rate companies by their quality of service?"

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Dude... (0)

Klaidas (981300) | more than 7 years ago | (#16037756)

Dude, it's the internet, and you're complaining about badware? :)
Ok, seriously, the company itself (like AOL) should have some guest book/ a telephone number where you could leave your complaints.

BBB (3, Informative)

Ruff_ilb (769396) | more than 7 years ago | (#16037803)

It's been around for a while, and it's called the Better Business Bureau. You can view ongoing complaints for not only things in your physical location, but they also have an online component (http://www.bbbonline.org/).

Now, it doesn't support all sorts of businesses, but it's easy to see if one company has bad customer service.

Re:BBB (2, Insightful)

eggoeater (704775) | more than 7 years ago | (#16038060)

I love the BBB; filing a complaint with them usually resolves the issue.
Unfortunatly, the BBB doesn't really rate "customer service".
eg. Metrocall really screwed up my account about 10 years ago and it wasn't until I filed a BBB complaint that it got straightened out.
Obviously this has nothing to do with customer service and the BBB doesn't want to get complaints that "some customer service rep was rude to me."
The BBB deals with situations in which a specific outcome is desired by the plaintif (eg. Correct the balance on my account; refund my money; etc..)


I'm a techie at a LARGE call center in a finance company. We use Gallup surveys to rate our customer service and then we publish those scores. Customer service is important in commercial and retail finance; that's why we publish those scores. Finance will sell you a product (mortgage, checking, brokerage) but the company doesn't make money unless you keep your account open.

Unlike finance, most companies don't see customer service as a money-making opportunity. (Many times, it isn't.) For instance, if you buy a video card from company X, then they already have your money. Once company X has your money, their incentive to make you happy is gone. They will provide you with the cheapest customer service they can and they sure as hell aren't going to spend a fortune on things like quality coaches and Gallup surveys.

Here's the moral of the story:
Good customer service is VERY EXPENSIVE for any company and, because there's very little brand-loyalty left in the consumer market, it rarely leads to repeat customers.
Good customer service is only viewed as a necessity for companies that need to keep you as an ongoing customer.
The finance industry, and other "service" industries, has figured out that retaining customers is far cheaper then aquireing new ones.

Re:BBB (1)

Raenex (947668) | more than 7 years ago | (#16040257)

The finance industry, and other "service" industries, has figured out that retaining customers is far cheaper then aquireing new ones.

I'm not sure about that. Maybe a year or so ago I got a new credit card. Customer service was obviously through India, with hard to understand speakers. It's gotten to the point that I'm amazed when a professional, native English speaking person answers the phone.

Re:BBB (1)

Karthikkito (970850) | more than 7 years ago | (#16046480)

I assume that by finance, the allusion is towards financial planners, CPAs, and the like. There's no shortage of customers for credit cards, after all.

Re:BBB (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16039002)

Speaking as the owner of a small company that has repeatedly had threats of complaints and complaints themselves used in efforts to scam us, I would also say that you need to take what it is in those reports with a grain of salt. This is routine situation for us:

Impatient and unreasonable jackass orders on Friday before a 3 day weekend. Because impatient and unreasonable jackass is both too stupid to theorize that maybe he's not getting a reply to his email because of the holiday weekend and is too impatient to take the time to read the news and announcements on our website that we will not be around for the holiday weekend, impatient and unreasonable jackass fires off letters not just to the BBB, but to other complaint websites on the net.

So, we get back in Tuesday and have 13 emails from impatient and unreasonable jackass. The last of which is practically drooling with rage as he cherishes telling us that he's reported us for "scamming" him(even though his card is not charged until we manually process the order, which we had not done because we were not there). So now, we have to go to these websites, where he has taken liberties with the chain of events which have morphed from 3 days into weeks and sometimes months(I'm not kidding nor exagerating), and tell our side of the story. He now gets enraged that we would dare tell the truth about the situation and then adds more bullshit to the story and it explodes into a big drama over a 30 dollar item. Half of the impatient and unreasonable jackasses will then let us know that they will take back all their comments if we send them free stuff.

So, having been through this one too many times, we no longer reply on those sites and the moment someone does this to us, their order is canceled, their money refunded if it had already been charged, and asked never to shop with us again. We've tried being nice, by offering deeply discounted and in two cases, absolutely free products just to try to make them happy, but we've found this only leads to repeat bullshit.

So remember that when you read some of the complaints on the BBB and other sites. The scammers and ripoff artists use those sites as leverage in their attempts to rip off small businesses.

Re:BBB (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16039869)

"Speaking as the owner of a small company that has repeatedly had threats of complaints and complaints themselves used in efforts to scam us, I would also say that you need to take what it is in those reports with a grain of salt."

Besides that the the BBB is pretty shabbily run. As someone that used to respond to customer complaints via them, either their system for filing and resolving customer complaints or their customer service department itself is broken.

BBB/Consumer Reports (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16037901)

The Better Business Bureau and Consumer Reports both come to mind. If you're looking for something similar to Reseller Ratings, I don't know if I would personally trust it. Looking through the comments left in Reseller Ratings, many negative comments are there because the buyer didn't get away with their latest misprint-price-match scam, or they tried to cancel an order after it shipped, or they tried to return an item after filing a rebate for it, etc etc etc. Sure there is some valuable information in there, but there's also a whole lot of meaningless filler.

Re:BBB/Consumer Reports (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16070650)

because the buyer didn't get away with their latest misprint-price-match scam,

I read and participate in quite a few of the deal sights (Fat Wallet, Slickdeals, etc..).
It is funny how many people really do complain about those things. There was an issue recently where Sears had a misprint for an XBox hard drive for $14 which was supposed to be $99 I believe. Even though Sears had placed corrections near where they were sold, people were getting so pissed that their attempt to buy them for $14 was failing. One guy even went as far to attempt to get a 24 hour Walmart to match it but waiting until Sears was closed so they could not verify it. When the manger at Walmart refused to honor, he was frustrated and complained and threatened to call regional, blah blah blah. His post talked about how shitty Walmart was, he was never shopping there again and so on. WalMart is big enough that I'm sure his opinion does not matter but a smaller facility does not the volume. Oddly enough, others in the forum shared his opinion. I am all about getting a good deal but I am not going to attempt to belittle someone if my questionable plan does not work. I will try it sometimes and move along happily if it does not work. Others are not as nice.

customer service and bbb (1)

S1LK (998773) | more than 7 years ago | (#16037964)

...its hard to rate something like a customer service department because of the extreme range of possible outcomes regardless of actual problem. One person can call in with some issue or another and acomplish something like get a month of their cable bill credited, or a month of free HBO, or a grand total of nothing. So much depends on how you deal w/ those customer service basterds. If such a system were to exist, its benefit would be to inform would-be callers of possible call outcomes; if you know its possible to get part or all of your bill credited, you will certainly aproach a call to a customer service departmet apropriatly. Similarly, if you know that it is possible to get late charges and/or interest rates removed from your bill, this knowledge can influence what strategy you take when calling.

google? (1)

superwiz (655733) | more than 7 years ago | (#16038024)

Wouldn't anyone ambitious enough to look for others' customer service experience just google first? If there something to vent about, someone has already done it on the web.

Re:google? (2, Insightful)

Meshach (578918) | more than 7 years ago | (#16038258)

Wouldn't anyone ambitious enough to look for others' customer service experience just google first? If there something to vent about, someone has already done it on the web.
The trouble with this stratagy is you are getting a selective bias: only persons who have had a exceptionally bad experience will actually write about it in a publically indexed blog. If all you go by is google all you will get is the horror stories.

A better stratagy would be to look for some third party statistics on the service offered

Re:google? (1)

toddbu (748790) | more than 7 years ago | (#16038299)

I'm not sure that the bias is as bad as you think. I've done searches on companies and found both good and bad. I try to filter out the far extremes and take what's left over. This strategy works ok for me, but isn't perfect. I recently did business with a company that screwed me in exactly the same way as they'd nailed someone else. The benefit that I had was that I was prepared in advance, so it didn't take me long to remedy the situation.

Reputation systems (2, Insightful)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 7 years ago | (#16038094)

Going to be big, eventually. Try epinions.com or rateit.com. The problem is their rating systems are still very crude indeed.

At some point someone will come up with a reputation system which will allow everything down to individuals to be rated. Perhaps different aspects of a product, service or individual. Possibly classifying the user by their ratings as well in order to more closely predict what someone will like or dislike, just because you like coke doesn't mean that the next guy thinks that pepsi is rubbish, or that the democrats are crap because you're a republican. Hmm, least squares regression I reckon.

 

Re:Reputation systems (1)

c0d3h4x0r (604141) | more than 7 years ago | (#16040999)

At some point someone will come up with a reputation system which will allow everything down to individuals to be rated.

Awesome! I want a system where I can look up a specific person by name and get back a number between 0 and 100 that tells me how good (in a general sense) that person is. And then everyone should be required by law to have their score stamped on their national ID and implanted RFID tag, and we should only let the best people drive or have children or be gainfully employed!

Yes, it would be just peachy.

Gripe2Ed (2, Informative)

musicon (724240) | more than 7 years ago | (#16038164)

It looks like the site (and the author) has been mostly reabsorbed by InfoWorld, but Ed Foster's http://www.gripe2ed.com/ [gripe2ed.com] blog/site has a history of collecting such information, and the http://www.gripewiki.com/ [gripewiki.com] also has areas with specific vendors listed (although the lists are woefully incomplete) -- in fact, I'd probably recommend skipping the wiki entirely unless you just have time to burn.

Yahoo (1)

Anthony Boyd (242971) | more than 7 years ago | (#16038793)

Yahoo allows reviews of this nature. But it doesn't really have a rating system that goes into specifics about service. For example, here is a restaurant:

http://tinyurl.com/fcoog [tinyurl.com]

Note that it does have a star-rating, but that's just an overall score. And it has 28 reviews. Here's a quote from one review:

What was good? The ambiance upstairs, the bartender and their willingness to host a large group without any extra room fee.

What was bad? The banquet manager, Diana. She was pretty much the rudest person I have ever come into contact with.


I think that gives you an up-close & personal insight into the customer service. Any local business can be listed. Most don't seem to have many reviews. You could start adding yours.

-Tony

GetHuman.com (2, Interesting)

IanDanforth (753892) | more than 7 years ago | (#16038989)

From their website:

"The gethuman project is a consumer movement to improve the quality of phone support in the US. This free website is run by volunteers and is powered by over one million consumers who demand high quality phone support from the companies that they use.

We will soon publish a list of the best and worst mass-market consumer companies in the US based on how long it takes to get to a human on the phone and on the quality of support received."

So, right now, this website is great for finding direct-to-human numbers and then as a place to rate customer service. Soon it will be a great place to see how others have evaluated the customer service of various companies.

Hope this helps!

Ian

Maybe no one seems to care (1)

Curmudgeonlyoldbloke (850482) | more than 7 years ago | (#16039586)

(judging by the lack of comments here, anyway)

There is useful information out there though, and it's usually in independant sites for users-of-all-of-the-manufacturers-of-product-x. To pick just one example, http://www.adslguide.org.uk/ [adslguide.org.uk] is very concerned with the quality of the various offerings.

There's also the likes of http://blagger.com/ [blagger.com] and http://www.clik2complaints.co.uk/ [clik2complaints.co.uk] for seeing how often things have gone wrong for other people. All of these are UK examples, but surely there are national equivalents in most places?

There really isn't one (2, Informative)

scronline (829910) | more than 7 years ago | (#16039635)

The problem with things like this is they don't usually work. BBB is worthless almost to the point that it should be dismantled as it does NOTHING for the consumer.

In the S.F. Bay area there used to be a program called "Value Star". It is still out there, and they have asked us to join like we were once members, but it fails miserably in what it is suppose to do as well. They do a good job of checking out each of their members and assigning a rating. However the business must be a member and pay dues. If they aren't a member, they don't get tracked. On top of that, there is really very little incentive for a business to be a member. My company was a full fledged member before I was an owner years ago. Not once did we ever have a customer tell us they came to us because we were gold star rated or found us on the value star website. Any consumer I asked about it had never heard of Value Star. So their point of helping consumers find good service providers fails simply because the consumer isn't aware of them. Plus it doesn't help that they have closed the doors on several occasions without warning but still sent out invoices for dues.

I was actually going to start something that was free and wiki-like in the hopes of having a good site for people to rate and find rating on companies nation wide, but sadly, I didn't have the time. That and thinking more about it I've realized that the only time people will look/use something like that is when they're getting bad service. Very few people actually take the time to say anything good about a company. When they get what they expect they stay silent. Hence the phrase "1 unhappy customer speaks louder than 500 happy ones".

Value Star has a good idea, but they don't do enough marketing for people to actually know it exists so it's a poor value for a business which of course means no businesses such as myself are members. And that means we're not rated good or bad.

strange.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16041885)

no comments!??

Customer Service rating system, please (1)

bakana (918482) | more than 7 years ago | (#16042766)

The problem with a place/program/system that would help rate Customer service is manyfold. First, how reliable can it be? There are people out there that believe as I do, if I can take the time to complain I'll also take the time to complement. There are actually a lot of people who take the few extra minutes to let someone's supervisor or comment board know that they received good customer service. But compared to those that are upset for whatever reason, those people's voices are always silenced. For instance, we had a teacher rating system at my university. The teachers were rated in very detailed categories on a sliding point scale, and then voters were allowed to leave comments. The problem would be people's feedback wouldn't match up. There were redundant questions worded completely different but meaning the same thing and people would answer differently. Then people would just answer whatever to the questions and just put all their frustrations in the comments. Others yet would want to give the teacher a bad rating because they did poorly on one assignment. As far as customer service is concerned, there are too many factors to keep an accurate rating of any business. Here is an example; Mrs. Jones calls a cable company because she is having problems accessing her Internet service. Now we all know there a lot of reasons why Mrs. Jones might not be able to access the Internet. Lets say on this first call her problem is a winsock issue, that's an OS based issue. An issue for which Mrs. Jones would have to call her OEM or MS, yet she gets upset and curses the customer service rep. If she took any sought of survey, since she is the one receiving the customer service she is the only one fit to rate it, she would give that company bad ratings regardless of how well the customer service rep handled her problem. You people wouldn't believe how many kinds of calls can fall into this category. I am a customer service rep at a cable company. I'd say maybe on average I take over 200 calls a day. I can count on my fingers how many of those people calling in actually have a legit gripe against my company. The rest have the TV on the wrong channel, haven't paid their bills, are stealing cable (happens all the time, yes they call in), are having 3rd party equipment problems, etc etc etc. Basically non-cable related issues that we have no way of fixing over the phone. That is why any kind of rating system wouldn't work. This doesn't mean that there isn't bad customer service; I've had bad customer service from plenty of companies, especially insurance companies. I just don't see there being a why to effectively rate a company externally. As far as getting the results of each phone call and getting your services credited back, the easiest thing to say is a lot of people have 10-minute outages on program that will be shown again. The first thing they ask for is a month of credit. Believe me, if any such results were ever released all that would happen is the results would end up changing so that you would see a whole lot less crediting.

HelloPeter.com (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16042851)

There is HelloPeter http://www.hellopeter.com/ [hellopeter.com] but it is currently very South African in nature, even though it seems to be international.
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