Or, to put it another way, the BT bill I never got.
An early disclaimer: I don’t have a landline phone because all I ever get are sales calls I don’t want. I’m sure I’m not the only person who only uses their phone socket in the wall for internet access
1) Make it obvious what you’re sending me
So, a few days this envelope dropped through my door.
Nope, I had no idea what it was either. My best guess was some sort of pre-approval for a credit card I didn’t want. Turns out it was a letter from everyone’s favourite former monopoly, BT, telling me they were going to disconnect my phone because I hadn’t paid my bill.
A perfectly acceptable course of action, except for one small issue – I haven’t had a bill in months.
2) Check your facts
5 minutes on hold… For security we will… blah blah blah…
BT “You registered for online billing, Mr Hempsall.”
RH “No I didn’t, I never do.”
BT “Yes you did.”
RH “No I didn’t.” …and so on.
RH “Well, if you say I did, then I haven’t had a bill on email. What email address have you sent them to?”
RH “I haven’t worked there for 7 years!”
BT “Well, that’s the address we have on your account.”
RH “So if I, as you say, chose to go to online billing, at no point did I get to check where you’d send the bill?”
There’s a lesson here: Just because you have some details on record for me, don’t assume that they’re right.
3) Send some pre-warning
Clearly, if all the email notifications you have sent me haven’t worked, then there’s a problem. Therefore
don’t make the first letter you send me the last chance I have, and
when you do send it (going back to point 1), make it clear what it is otherwise I’m unlikely to look at it
4) Just because it’s your business, don’t assume I care about it
“Didn’t you wonder why you hadn’t had a bill?” I was asked at one point. Well, no, not really. I have plenty of other things to be doing without waiting in eager anticipation for my next bill to drop through the letterbox.
I’ve just told you I’m going to take you to Ofcom, so use your brains (and your customer management software) and don’t send me letters telling me I’m a valued customer.