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Yorkshire Times
A Voice of the North
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Sonia Price
Features Writer
4:05 AM 21st August 2021
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Knowing Me Not Knowing You

I cannot be on my own in wanting to tear my hair out when I receive intrusive phone calls that are impossible for me to return as the number is withheld.

I have always kept to the principle that if someone has my number it is only right that I have theirs. This is just a common standard of decency in my book but this has waned in the information age. These days it seems to be one-way traffic when it comes to companies mining us for our pennies.

Now so many organisations outsource their customer services back on to us to save costs. We order stuff on-line, do internet banking to save on branch and staff costs and pump our own petrol. This is one of my bugbears of 21st century living. So many companies have simply done away with what can be called authentic and meaningful customer services which aims at satisfying the customer.

Organisations that are purposefully inaccessible to their customers cannot, in my opinion, claim to offer customer care. I make it my business to not deal with any company that does not respond to a phone call in reasonable time. Of course, ideas of what is reasonable vary widely.

Image by Peggy und Marco Lachmann-Anke
Image by Peggy und Marco Lachmann-Anke
Have you come across companies buying local phone numbers so they can trick us into thinking we are dealing with a local company? I always ask them for an address. Just yesterday I took a call from a company that deliberately duped me by using a Ripon telephone number. I actually thought I was speaking with my brother-in-law. The voice was very similar. After asking me how I was keeping with such easy familiarity, I realised he wasn’t a relative but some stranger trying to sell me some life insurance.

Don’t get me wrong I know people need to make a living and I have had to pick up the phone to sell my own writing services. But there are respectful ways of talking to people, respecting their time and their preferred methods of communication. Gaining new customers should never be underhand. I have a friend who has had a lot of success in sales and she has built her career by being prompt and straightforward. She is Rosie McGilvray and she represents Vitality Health. When I get around to taking out some health insurance it will be with this lady because I know I can trust her to represent me should I need treatment.

Sorry if this weekend’s article isn’t peppered with a joke or two but I needed to get this off my chest. I won’t take up too much of your time on this theme. I am sure it irks other folks as well as me. Enjoy your weekend and I hope it is not spoiled by someone stealing your time.