Two tales of Customer Care

Tale One.

When we retrieved our bags at Heathrow, we were dismayed to discover one of them had been ripped open. On closer inspection it seems that the damage had been caused by the baggage handling machinery at the very end of our journey so none of the contents had escaped. Lucky! Nevertheless, the case was beyond repair. It was about 6.30 in the morning and we’d just got off the overnight flight from New York, so we weren’t in the mood to find someone at the airport to complain to. Once at home (and after a suitable period spent recovering from jet-lag) I investigated the claims procedure.

I discovered that responsibility for your baggage remains with the carrier up until the point that you lift your case off the baggage carrousel. So nothing to do with LHR. In other words the airport baggage handers are contractors of your airline.

So I filled out the claim form from my airline’s website and emailed it off with supporting documents and a photo. Yesterday I was very pleasantly surprised to receive a lovely email from Virgin Atlantic apologising for the damage and confirming that they had settled my claim in full. No arguments or attempts to negotiate the cost downwards.

Thank you so much, Virgin Atlantic.

This is how it is done.


Tale Two

My Mother is in hospital. A while back she ordered some goods from Damart. After she went into hospital Damart wrote notifying her that the items were out of stock and that they would deliver them at some future date once they were back in stock.

My mother asked me to cancel the order, so I rang Damart’s Customer Services. I knew this was doomed to failure and sure enough they trotted out the good old DPA spiel. Could they speak to my Mother? No, as I already explained to them, she was in hospital and in no fit state to speak to anyone. I pointed out that I was doing them a favour as, if they were to deliver the goods there would be nobody there to receive them. Even though I had the order numbers, account number,etc. this fell on stoney ground. Worse, the Customer Services person was unfriendly as well as being unhelpful.

Not one to give up, I penned a letter to Damart’s Managing Director, a Mr Andy Hill, explaining my dissatisfaction with my encounter with his company’s Customer Services staff. I even reminded him of the “Winner – UK Customer Satisfaction Awards 2014, Institute of Customer Service” award  posted prominently on their letterhead. I was expecting a letter in reply, hopefully a polite one.

What I got was a compliments slip with a handwritten message scrawled across it, presumably from their Customer Services team although I can’t be sure as it wasn’t signed. Pretty sure it wasn’t from Mr Hill.

I venture to suggest that this is not how it is done.




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