Delivering customer care


After my rant, M&S replied with a nice email advising me that my order was on the van for delivery today (Friday).

Okay, so who has heard of City Link delivering on a Bank Holiday?



Nope. That’s what I thought too and I was right.

Maybe tomorrow…

The fine art of delivering…

I am annoyed. Disappointed. We paid extra for something to be delivered on a nominated day (today) and it hasn’t arrived. Having sent off an email to their CS, I’m writing this. Call it therapy, if you like, it makes me feel better.

In the last week or so, we have ordered stuff from two very big on-line retailers. Tesco and M&S. As a contrast, I also ordered 8 quid’s worth of caching supplies from Base of Tree. (

Of the three orders, one failed to turn up on the appointed day, the second you already know has yet to arrive despite us paying for a nominated date. The third arrived surprisingly early through the post. Guess which one that was.

Yep, the 8 quid order from Compare that to the pathetic service from two of the biggest names in UK retail, who have obviously yet to learn a key lesson: if you want to improve or at least keep your reputation then you have to employ reliable, conscientious courier firms and don’t just award your contract to the cheapest bidder.

Another customer care story

Some time ago I had a leased car from VW. The car was OK but their admin?…

The car went back (at the end of its lease) at the end of July ’12. After that I was expecting an excess mileage invoice. This never materialised.

Then, about a month ago, I received a letter from VW saying my “account was in arrears”. So I rang them. They said that I hadn’t paid the excess mileage invoice. Of course I hadn’t, they never sent me one, or at least I never received it. They said they had, back in November ’12. I asked for a duplicate.

Unfortunately, when the duplicate arrived I didn’t agree with their figures so I sent them a detailed calculation. I was pleasantly surprised when they sent me a credit note for the disputed amount, even though it took several weeks to arrive. Anyway, now that they had agreed the figures with me, I paid them. End of story?

No. Not quite. Today I received a letter from their solicitor asking why I hadn’t paid. I rang the solicitor and told them it had been paid. It seems that VW were uncharacteristically quick to pass it to their solicitor before I had even received the credit note.

So, VW, what a shower you lot are. It took you 7 months to ask for and receive payment, a delay which was all your own making. After my telephone conversation with the solicitor, I tried ringing you to let you know what I thought but after spending too long in your call centre queue I gave up. I think it is safe to say I will never voluntarily pass any business your way ever again.


Parcel Farce

Yesterday, Parcelforce (or Parcelfarce as I have decided to call them) tried to deliver my Pi while I was out.

The driver left a card advising me that he’d left my parcel at my local post office. Apparently they do this a lot these days. Well, I went to collect it but the chap at the post office told me the parcel hadn’t been left with him. Apparently Parcelfarce do this a lot as well. So, as a bit of an afterthought, I checked the tracking status. It just said “Delivery attempted”. Helpful.

This morning I checked the tracker again. Status = “Loaded on vehicle for delivery” What?! OK, I thought. We’ll just have to make sure someone is at home all day, which we did.

Fast forward to about 16.00 hrs. No sign of Parcelfarce. I’d been busy doing other stuff up until now, plus several other things had been delivered by other couriers so I hadn’t really wasted the day by being in. Anyway, I decided to check the tracker. Status = “Delivery attempted”, timed at 15.08. Whoa. Not true. No “we tried” card through letterbox. So they hadn’t even tried playing Knock down Ginger. According to the interwebs, apparently they do that a lot.

So now I’m not happy at all. I rang the depot (on a number which is neither free nor local rate – Grrr!) The nice lady I spoke to checked her systems and reported that the parcel had been delivered to my local post office. Definitely this time. Someone had signed for it. My angry status was still “Incandescent” at this stage and I wanted an explanation. Nice Lady informed me that she could check the vehicle’s GPS tracker, which she did, and then told me that the GPS track showed that the driver stayed on the main road and didn’t even drive into my road. I’m guessing he skipped some of his deliveries (possibly thinking I wouldn’t be at home again today) and drove straight to the post office to save himself some time. I’m guessing he does that a lot.

This evening I wrote a letter of complaint to Parcelforce’s CEO, which made me feel better. I wonder if many dissatisfied customers do that (a lot)?


Took my iMac in for repair today

Took my iMac in for repair today, as arranged.

Compared to my last visit, today’s was a totally different experience. When I booked in, the Genius told me he had been doing some research into the problem. Turned out this was a known issue after all, the repair was covered by one of Apple’s Quality Programmes and so it wasn’t going to cost me a penny.

As I said to the Store Leader before I left, “I hate to say “I told you so”, but I told you so”. At least he had the grace to admit that his staff made a mistake first time around. I’ll email Tim Cook and let him know.


Another result

After my conversation with Apple yesterday, the postman delivered a cheque from Silverstone. So although they were

a. Slow and

b. poor communicators,

they did keep the promise they made on the British GP weekend.


Question is, do I book tickets for next year or look at a European GP? Anyone know what the weather will be like in Northamptonshire next July?

Customer care, part the 2nd

So,Tim Cook does read his emails. Or rather he has a team of people reading them. 😉

Yesterday I had a telephone call from the  Team Leader at the Apple Store in question. It was good to be able to explain my dissatisfaction and I believe he truly understood my position. I’m off there again in the morning to get my iMac repaired.

The demise of customer care at the Apple Store?

Here’s an extract from the email I just sent to Tim Cook. I am pretty sure he will never read it but hopefully someone at Apple will.

In all my previous interactions (over many years) with Apple Retail and Support staff I have never left an Apple Store feeling less valued as a customer. When John Browett took over Apple’s retail operation, everyone in the UK groaned, and hoped fervently that Apple’s stores would not end up like the soulless, unfriendly and unhelpful outlets that characterised Mr. Browett’s previous employment. It seems our worst fears are becoming a reality and Apple’s much praised customer care is starting to fade away.

Ho Hum.

Silverstone Circuit and Customer Care

Some time ago I posted my feelings on the “Rain 1, Silverstone Circuit 0,” episode. Well, eventually Silverstone put a claim form up on their site so that disgruntled fans had a mechanism to claim refunds on their unused tickets. I duly completed the form and sent it “Signed for” rather than using the freepost they provided.

So, a couple of weeks went by. I decided to contact them but the telephone number they published didn’t work. Directory Enquiries to the rescue. I spoke to a pleasant lady who informed me that

  1. They were collecting all the claims forms and entering the details into a database. 
  2. After the 17th August they would start processing them in the order they were received.

Hang on.

All they are doing at the moment is recording claims? They haven’t begun to process them and they won’t start until the 17th? The pleasant lady confirmed this. I politely told her how unreasonable I found this (which predictably fell on deaf ears).

What a shower. What a rubbish system. They should have a process in place such that each claim gets processed through each stage as soon as it is received, rather like a production line. Can you imagine a car manufacturer making 10,000 car bodies and arranging them in neat rows before starting to assemble 10,000 engines? No, neither can I.

So, I can do no more than wait. Except; I did write to Derek Warwick. He’s the President of the British Racing Drivers Club (BRDC). The owners of Silverstone. The body behind the organisation of the GP. The body responsible for investing in the circuit infrastructure. The body which has spend gazillions on fancy facilities for the BRDC and the monied hangers-on. The body which could have spent money over the last 20 something years on decent car parking and civilised toilet facilities but hasn’t.

Glad I’ve got that off my chest.

Silverstone, nearly.

I took my wife & daughters to Silverstone for the GP practice last Friday. We went but we didn’t get in. This was due to the utter incompetence of the organisers. You probably know about this – it was all over the news. Like many others I was extremely pissed off. Silverstone issued a press release promising refunds although they apparently expect us to email them explaining our “difficulties”.

So I wrote an email, quite a long one. Here are some extracts from it.

At no point did anyone from Silverstone Circuit inform us of the situation; e.g. why there was a hold up or when we could expect to get into the circuit. Why was there no communication? Eventually we managed to speak to one of your helpless traffic marshals who told us we would never get in, he remarked that our tickets were worthless. …

…  the second practice session had finished by the time we had crawled to the roundabout where your traffic marshals were attempting to direct spectators through the solitary gate into the parking area. Of course the gate was completely blocked with officials at a complete loss as to what to do with everyone. A single gate for everyone to get in? One entry point? What were you thinking?

In case they didn’t comprehend the length of time we spent in one short stretch of road, at this point I attached some screen shots from my iPhone Maps App showing my progress along the Dadford Road.

You and I both know that Silverstone has received severe criticism over many years regarding the appalling facilities for the fans. What you have spent on peripheral infrastructure, parking, “decent” toilets and proper (as opposed to scaffolding) grandstands is small beer compared to the enormous sums you have spent doing Bernie’s bidding and making everything nice and comfy for your shareholders and the BRDC. You cannot blame the weather for this debacle, this is England. It rains in England. When it rains, the ground in this part of the country gets very wet and muddy. This is not rocket science, you have known about this for years. Despite this you have chosen not to invest in proper tarmac car parking. That said, you had the option to provide a decent Park & Ride service on Friday. You could have planned this well in advance, so you can’t use the “there were no buses available because the schools were using them” excuse. Come on Silverstone, sort it out. And when you have, please let me know. In the meanwhile I shall spend my valuable cash (and less of it too!) on trips to european circuits where they do know how to organise a GP weekend.

I wonder when I’ll hear about my refund?