First, allow this Arsehole to provide some context.
In 2015, two things happened in Australia that impacted those amongst us that could be classified as points enthusiasts, each involving a major supermarket chain/corporate conglomerate:
- Wesfarmers decided to make their Flybuys program relevant and provide a means to transfer points to the Etihad Guest program arbitrarily in reasonably-sized increments. They didn’t extend the program to cover their various other brands (like Officeworks and Bunnings), but they did improve the program.
- Woolworths decided to tell everyone shopping at their stores that they could fuck right off if they were interested in collecting Qantas Frequent Flyer points. The colocation of BWS stores with many Woolworths outlets, the fact that 1 QFF point was earned per dollar spent over $30 in a single transaction, checkouts being allowed via a BWS register and the excellent earn rates on certain American Express cards resulted in a simple decision of supermarket when it came to shopping for cheese and wine whilst being a wanker. Alas, idiocy disregarded this segment of valuable shopper and instead focused on promising discounts to bogans.
At this point, the maximisation of earning stuff for no reason required that I gaze upon Dawn French’s smile and dig out my Flybuys membership card from my bottom kitchen draw where it had previously been placed with spare lightbulbs and pamphlets from hardcore Jebus promoters offering to wash my car in exchange for sponsoring a tarp for their next orgy.
After spending a few dollars at my local Coles outlet and scanning said card, I received a wonderful phone call from a bloke claiming to be named Josh. It was extremely unlikely his name was actually Josh, but that’s not really relevant. The call unfolded thusly:
Josh: Hello. As a valued Flybuys customer, we would like to offer you an excellent rate on your car insurance with Coles Insurance!
UA: Thank you for the offer Josh, but I’m not interested in changing my insurance arrangements at this time.
Josh: (Violent disconnection)
Josh hung up with incredible prejudice! How very dare he! Up with this the Arsehole would not put!
Feedback should be targeted and immediate
Google is a wonderful thing. It allows one to very quickly determine who to complain to when their sensibilities are not carried aloft to the clouds in a pillow of honey whilst employing an army of amoeba to cushion their hemorrhoids. Immediately after this call, the following e-mail was composed and sent to Coles Insurance:
To whom it may concern,
One of your representatives called me today as a part of the outbound marketing campaign currently being run by your organisation. Upon politely informing your staff member that I was not able to consider the offer he was promoting, I was treated with complete and total contempt and hung up upon. I have confirmed that the call was terminated explicitly and that no network issues resulted in this schism of conversation.
I am sure that this conduct is not at all representative of the manner in which Wesfarmers seeks to engage with current and/or potential customers. I would like to include Wesfarmers-issued insurance products in future as appropriate, but would require confirmation that the treatment I experienced is an aberration that has been examined such that it not be repeated.
Sending this e-mail was admittedly an example of what is called a zero-sum game. Either I would receive a response that I was able to then do something with (and gain something for free), or I would not receive a response and have basis to escalate my concerns (and thus gain something for free). Although an automated acknowledgement of my e-mail was issued, I received 3 further phone calls of similar intent and script to that employed by “Josh” in the week prior to a deafening lack of response being received.
As insurance is technically a financial product in nature, the Financial Ombudsman Service is an escalation point available to all customers in Australia. The very name instills fear in the hearts of call centre staff and complaints managers everywhere, so I decided to take the path of least resistance and do just that:
Attention: Coles Financial Services Compliance Department
I recently wrote to CFS with feedback regarding an extremely poor customer service experience I received. Although I would have expected the outcome of this experience to have at least resulted in no further experiences of this same poor nature being inflicted upon my person and accounting for a disproportionately egregious amount of my time, my expectations have not only been left unmet but have been failed terribly.
At this point, I require the following:
- Formal acknowledgement of the inappropriate conduct of the agents who have made contact without regard for previous interactions.
- Specific details of how this issue will be addressed such that it does not reoccur.
- Recognition of my time in having had to repeatedly address this issue .
Should I not receive a written response from CFS by <insert date 5 business days from now>, I will have no option other than to submit the details of this issue to the Financial Ombudsman Service.
In accordance with prophecy,
To my astonishment, CFS was in contact within 12 hours! My details had been expunged from their outbound calling database, the persons involved had been counselled, scripts reviewed and 20,000 Flybuys points deposited into my account as a gesture of apology.
This is an example of a company doing the wrong thing on a few occassions and then actually subscribing to the Acknowledge, Resolve, Right principal. Not once was the term Goodwill mentioned, but actually the term apology.
So impressed was I that I later signed up for 4 different Coles Financial Services products, mainly so I could quadruple my Flybuys points haul so I could fly all the way from Adelaide to Port Adelaide after spending $20,000 each week for 3 eons.
All in all, victory!