Sandwell Council's poor customer service

Yesterday a WMTPA supporter forwarded some information confirming that Sandwell Council really have taken meddling to a whole new level.

Whether you’re in a clothes shop or a supermarket, a bank or a shopping centre, or even ordering online, the chances are if something goes wrong you only have to pop over to customer services to have the matter resolved. And traditionally of course, the same is true of local authorities who have customer services centres or counters where you can register a complaint or ask for help and advice…

Not at Sandwell Council!

As of this week, if you live in the Borough and need customer services you’ll be wasting your time looking for this out-moded and obvious title. What you should be looking for is the very jazzy sounding ‘Service Insight Team’.

That’s right, they’ve wasted time, energy, thought and – of course – your money on “re-branding” customer services, only to make it more confusing for those seeking out a sign bearing the trusty and self-explanatory former name.

Whatever happened to “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”? How exactly was the current title failing? Why on earth does it have to be punchy and modern anyway, they don’t need to ‘sell’ it to us – we have no option but to use their service?

Conversely shops and department stores who do have something to sell to us have consistently stayed with the tried and tested name of ‘customer services’. Presumably because people are familiar with it, and terms like ‘Service Insight Team’ betray very little. In fact I actually typed this new name into Google, only to discover that Sandwell MBC are the only people in the country using this term. Not very surprising!  

These sound more like the actions of an authority who can’t get rid of money quick enough, than one that raised council tax again this year. It’s both interesting and alarming to discover some of the ludicrous moves this increased revenue is funding.

Re-branding can be expensive and largely pointless at the best of times, but wasting time and money replacing accepted and entrenched terminology with vacuous newly invented lingo is a disgrace, and most certainly a disservice to residents who pay their rates in good faith.


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