No More Than(k you)

A while back I contacted my home insurer with a view to making a claim. They were very unhelpful, bordering on obstructive – seemed that they didn’t think my problem was covered by the policy (surprise!) and it would be up to me to have the necessary work done at my expense then use the tradesman’s report to prove that it was covered.

Since then I have had several requests from them to complete a customer satisfaction survey. I ignored the first one and completed the second. When they sent me another email I thought, serve them right, and filled it in again. Today they sent me yet another email. Well I’m sorry, More Than, you are a useless bunch and I am tired of telling you how dissatisfied I was with the way you handed my ‘claim or enquiry’. Guess what I will be doing come renewal.

How to lose customers

  1. Refrain from employing sufficient staff to cater for demand
  2. Run your in-store cafe with even less staff at busy periods, e.g. lunchtime
  3. Make your customers queue for a longgggg time to be served by a solitary cafe assistant
  4. Make the assistant leave their till to deliver hot food orders to the kitchen
  5. Make your customers wait for 30 minutes for “fast” hot food
  6. Have your kitchen staff serve 2 out of 4 plates of hot food to the correct customer and deliver the other 2 plates to another customer who, despite that not being the food they ordered, SAY NOTHING!
  7. Have your staff wait 10 minutes before realising they’ve f*cked up
  8. Wait for a long (at least as long as the queue) letter to hit the CEO’s Inbox

Oh, in case you are wondering, dear reader, I am talking about M&S’s in-store cafe at Westfield, White City.

Who would actually make Parcel Force their courier of choice?

So, after some email ranting yesterday, today I got an email from Parcel Force to the effect that my parcel would now be delivered today between 07.00 and 17.30. No apology. So I emailed them to ask why they hadn’t apologised.  At least they replied to that and apologised. Still no explanation as to why they couldn’t deliver. I also received an email from the supplier who got it all wrong. So I’ve emailed them back as well to ask why they hire Parcel Force instead of someone reliable.

At the end of the day there was some good news. Parcel Force delivered my parcel. At 17.35. As he handed it over, the driver said, “Better late than never”.


Was “Never” an option?

Bloody well hope not!

Parcel Farce up to their usual tricks

Once again Parcel Force have failed to deliver a parcel to me on their “Express 24” service. Actually it was already late – it should have been delivered yesterday so more of a 48 hour service, eh? According to their tracker, the item was out on the van from 09.12 this morning. Despite someone being at home all day they never showed. (What’s new?)

So I just checked the tracking page again. I was really pissed off to see a new entry at 19.38 – “Delivery Attempted”. What a load of cr*p.

Of course, it’s a lie. I know this because:

a. We were in at that time and nobody called, plus no card was left.

b. The next tracking entry – “Parcel returned to/received in depot” was timed at 19.45. That’s 7 minutes later. Their depot is in Milton Keynes. From our house that’s about 40 miles by road. 7 minutes? Total b*llocks.

I’ve fired off some angry emails although I know they will fall on deaf ears. Just hope the goods turn up tomorrow.

Something for nothing

I received an email from Waitrose inviting me to take part in their survey. Now I don’t mind helping out from time to time, giving up a couple of minutes to help improve the service a company provides me with, or (more likely) telling them where they need to improve when I’ve been on the receiving end of poor customer service.

As I read their email further I found this:

The full study consists of this initial questionnaire which will last about 45 minutes in total and a diary we would like you to complete over a 7 day diary period.

Hang on! 45 minutes?

The diary will last about 9-10 minutes each time you complete it, and we would like you to fill in the diary a minimum of 3 times

Plus at least 30 – 70 minutes for the diary?

OK, consider this. Waitrose would like to use something like an hour and a half of my time for free. True, they will enter me into a prize draw to win some vouchers but we all know that’s a carrot which is very unlikely to translate into any tangible remuneration. Let’s suppose for a moment that I normally charge my time at £50 per hour, that’d be worth £62 minimum. Now if they had to pay 1,000 people to undertake their survey that would cost them something like £62,000. So they would be getting a lot of time for free, in accountant-speak that would be a saving of £62,000. Pretty neat, huh?

And then I read the bit about privacy again.

Waitrose may wish to match your individual answers against other information they hold about you on their database, and may use the information to improve their products and services and how they tell you about these. 

Provided they nailed down the privacy element then perhaps I might have been more interested if they had offered some real remuneration rather than the fiction of a competition entry. I don’t necessarily mean paying me £60 (!) but they could have offered everyone a £5 voucher or, better still, promised to donate a decent amount to a charity for each completed survey.

Ho hum.



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.




Freelander @ two years

So, I’ve had my Freelander for two years now and I’ve been looking at my mileage stats. In the last 12 months I’ve covered over 2,000 miles more than last year, up by about 17%. And that doesn’t include commuting because there isn’t any.

Seems my insurance company were correct when they said my mileage would go up when I retired…

Oh, and I had the Freelander serviced last week by Chipperfield Land Rover. At the risk of jinxing things, for once I couldn’t fault them. Long may it continue. 😉

Main Dealers

I have decided that I am not impressed with my local Land Rover dealer. A while back my Freelander went in for  warranty work on the clutch.

When I got my Freelander back I discovered that they hadn’t tightened one of two jubilee clips on the air intake ducting when they put it back.

Today I found that the rear window one-touch-close function didn’t work. All that was required was to reset the windows. According to the manual, after battery disconnection each window has to be reset. Seems the dealer’s spanner monkey only reset the front windows.

Hope they haven’t missed anything important…

Range Rover

I had a spot of trouble with my Freelander. The clutch pedal went all the way to the floor and stayed there.

So I phoned a friend, in this case Land Rover Assistance. Within an hour they sent a bloke round in a Discovery who confirmed that he couldn’t fix the fault and then arranged for a recovery truck. Now, we both knew that the recovery truck was needed right from the start but that would have been “off-piste” so we had to do it their way. These things seem to take so long…

Anyway, before the recovery truck arrived Land Rover Assistance had delivered a replacement vehicle for me. In true Land Rover tradition they didn’t fob me off with a tiny euro hatch. Instead they delivered a ’13 plate Range Rover Sport.

I spoke to the service guy at the Land Rover garage today, it looks like I will have to drive the RRS for the whole weekend.

Gutted. 😉

Air Strike

Those bloody french ATC-ers. You may have seen my ranting tweets yesterday. I was pretty pissed off because my younger daughter and her friend were stuck at Barcelona airport because of the French ATC strike.

To add insult to injury the a/c they were moved to (in order to secure their escape) experienced engine trouble. So, instead of arriving at LHR around 17.30 Tuesday, they finally landed this morning at 01.50.

I think it’s time that Europe’s air traffic controllers had their JDs changed to make strike action illegal, as is the case in the USA.

Rant over. For now.