Did the same man who designed the M25 also decide to turn his hand to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA)’s customer services? That was the question running through my head today, glued to the phone whilst infinitely pressing keys to avoid the robot, speak to the human.
Let me explain why. I’ll try not to bore you.
I paid for my vehicle’s tax using the DVLA’s online system. You know. That new system from 2014 that signalled the death of the paper tax disc. The only problem is, it doesn’t work. I paid by direct debit for a monthly payment, the system decided to take a 6 month payment. Okay I thought – a little bug. So I cancelled the monthly direct debit (as a 6 month payment had already been taken) and got on with my life.
Right until the DVLA starting posting threatening letters, the scary sort in brown envelopes, saying that my vehicle wasn’t taxed. I apparently owed them £100 and if I didn’t pay the enforcement authorities said my vehicle could potentially be clamped and toed away.
The best bit? I received this letter on a Saturday. That precious day at the weekend when you’re still recovering from a stressful week. Even though the urgency of the letter demanded immediate reaction – the DVLA does not provide weekend customer support.
It gets better.
The DVLA have a Twitter feed. This @DVLAgovuk. So whilst I was cocking around with a phone, stressing that my vehicle would be imminently toed away. The DVLA had scheduled pointless uninspiring “so what?” tweets offering irrelevant advice such as:
Have you lost your driving licence? Apply online for a replacement at: http://t.co/3WtEvpkXWG
— DVLA (@DVLAgovuk) June 21, 2015
No! I hadn’t lost my friggin’ driving license. Also, the chance that somebody would actually see that tweet, posted at that time, who had lost their driving licence and therefore would find value from that link just seems nonsensical. It’s clear that their Twitter profile is being run by somebody who clearly has no idea about social media. As a customer, it’s infuriating. There is just no customer support. Nothing. I tried. I tweeted.
— Michael White (@michaelwhite1) June 20, 2015
It took 48 hours to get a reply – you guessed it, on a Monday. Just what is the point of offering social media support if you can’t provide weekend cover?
— DVLA (@DVLAgovuk) June 22, 2015
It’s clear that the DVLA’s internal setup is a complete mess:
- The social media department don’t talk to customer services on the phone;
- Customer services cold transferred my call to the debiting department, who had to hear out my case again;
- The enforcement team don’t talk to the debiting department, so believed my vehicle wasn’t taxed;
- Then we go back to the social media department, who didn’t bother following up with my case.
It’s a classic example of how not to do customer service. Sadly, it’s a common one. There is nothing particularly exciting or challenging about this blog post. It’s just another customer who has had a bad experience. Poor me. Boohoo.
We shouldn’t think like that though. The DVLA should build a system that works. Imagine that. Delivering excellent social media service – talking to customers and knowing who they are through every step of the resolution process.
Clearly the customer services person on the phone was all too familiar with my kind of case, “As you can appreciate sir. We deal with thousands of applications everyday. Things go wrong.” Err yeah, thanks.
My case got resolved eventually but only after plenty of stress, phone time and dealing with a disorganised system that didn’t know my case.