Customer service

How to lose customers

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nottingham_exterior_img_060115In recent months at home we have been having quite a lot of work done to make the house more pleasant. This has involved dealing with various tradesmen and retailers. I like to think that I choose both carefully, but as experience has shown using the ‘market leader’ isn’t always the best approach…

I have established a relationship with an excellent plumber, a small builder and a kitchen installer. All 3 are great to deal with and do a first rate job – they are also sole traders.

I am not sure why but we decided to use John Lewis (JL) for flooring, curtains and blinds, the flooring has been done in 2 stages; Stage one was the kitchen, it wasn’t totally pain free but the job was completed well (more down to the self employed fitters). But I did have issues with J L and they paid me compensation – enough said.

This week my living room floor should have been laid – it’s timber and needs a fitter to install it. Initially we were told fitting would be 4 weeks from order, but then when we accepted the quote it became 8 weeks! That was also after they found the flooring they had sold us wasn’t actually made any more…A conversation with JL got fitting down to a more acceptable 5 weeks, which was up this week. All should therefore be fine – except it isn’t.

The flooring has been delivered but the fitter couldn’t actually lay the floor as it needs a levelling screed – something that JL should have checked (but didn’t) when they quoted. The fitter was great about it and we are now being fitted in a couple of weeks. But, JL initially wanted me to pay for the screed that they missed – suffice to say after a ‘conversation’, they are now paying for it!

This isn’t our only issue with JL in recent weeks though, we have also had problems with the curtain and blind orders. The process has dragged on for at least a month longer than it should have done due to initial sample requests not being processed and then the order papers not being sent through to the booking office from the shop. Again not what you expect from JL.

So all in all a fairly poor performance from JL, not according to them what they aim for in customer care, but as they say – three strikes and you are out. They won’t be getting any big orders from me in future, I will use local traders and retailers who are recommended to me.

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The wonder of fibre…

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I have been a long term user of the Virgin fibre network in Nottingham (originally NTL), for both my TV and internet. It is fair to say that until recently their service has been brilliant, with downtime counted in hours over many years.

Sadly over the last few weeks there have been some issues – the majority national ones caused by DNS server issues – something that could happen to any provider but extremely annoying! Add to this the recent underground fire that completely took out much of South Notts as far as Virgin was concerned for days and you get the picture – I was ready to call the retention department at Virgin to vent my frustrations.

speed

So the other day I rang, was offered some deals to stay by the ‘normal’ call centre, but was then passed to retention and got a monthly reduction and a speed increase to 152mb for my broadband.

Now you read about fast connections and how quickly things download at this connection speed – but when you actually experience 152mbps it is really impressive! And my connection currently is slightly faster than that as you can see above! Very large downloads (GB’s) take a few minutes rather than half an hour or more. I am impressed and as long as the recent DNS issues are a thing of the past I will continue to praise Virgin Broadband.

Car update…

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Mercedes Service neon sign.jpgMy Mercedes has finally made it into Mercedes Nottingham for the next 2 to 3 day’s. I have been shown the list of checks to be made on the car whilst at the dealers and it is about 10 pages long! It is nice to know that this is being done, but the results then have to go to Germany and then I assume we wait…..

While I am on the subject of waiting (which you tend to do a lot of at certain car dealerships) I would love someone to explain to me why the ‘premium’ car brands believe that greeting you and then sitting you down to wait for ages before you get dealt with is ‘good service’? Previous experience at ‘lesser’ dealerships was far quicker and less stressful – Marshalls Volvo being a classic example, quick, friendly and efficient.

Yesterday it took 40 minutes for me to drop off my car and collect a courtesy car – the dealership wasn’t busy, so what was going on behind those closed doors while I was waiting?

It’s all about service…..

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I have been a bit busy recently , hence the lack of activity on this blog. I was also intending to try to ‘positive blog’ rather than complain – sadly my first blog for a while is a complaint….

I have blogged previously about the elusive issue on my Mercedes – Inchcape Nottingham have had it in to try and rectify the issue now more times than I care to remember – it’s not 12 months old yet but knows the dealership very well. To date they have failed to solve the problem despite input from Germany. I have unfortunately had to chase them a few times to get things moving – not something I feel I should have to do, especially as this is supposed to be a ‘quality car’.

Today however they have excelled themselves……

From SkitchMy car was booked in for a 3 day visit, the ‘German connection’ had deemed this necessary to deal with the problem (although I have no idea what they are proposing to do). This was all arranged a couple of weeks ago and a courtesy car was to be provided. I rang yesterday to check on things and was told that I would get a call later that day to sort things out for today…… no call was forthcoming.

I put the lack of a call down to the way the garage generally do things – slowly – and thought no more of it. Last night I cleared out my car, found my licence and made sure I was ready to drop the car off at 8.15. Then at 7.47 I got the text above (names removed to protect the ‘innocent’) – I wasn’t impressed!

If the engineer is off all week one assumes he is on holiday and that was known when I booked my car in? Also why couldn’t I be told this earlier in the week or as a minimum the day before when I rang? And a text? What ever happened to the telephone – or are they hiding?

Bottom line – really very unimpressed.

Mercedes are trying…..

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mercedes-mirrorsRegular readers may be aware of my ongoing issue with my Mercedes – it has an intermittent fault with the trip computer, it’s not life threatening, but it is annoying and it should be right! The car has now been in the garage for 6 days since its delivery at the start of October – an amount of time that I am sure Mercedes themselves wouldn’t expect on a car this young (in fact if you assume an annual visit it shouldn’t happen until its sixth birthday).

After the cars last visit the matter was raised directly with Mercedes in Germany, I was told that this might even involve a visit from a German engineer! However the first act of the German connection was to send a bespoke software download for my car (and only my car). It would apparently sort out my issue once and for all…..

Sadly this was not the case, some issues were apparently had installing it and it failed as I was leaving the dealership. So we are now back in the hands of the German engineers. Perhaps I will get a visit from Germany after all!

More Mercedes fun….

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I blogged just before Christmas about my ‘fun’ at the local Mercedes dealership, suffice to say there was a ‘bit of a cock up’, but things were arranged to sort the mistake out. There was also an assumption that the part that we had been waiting for (for over a month) would have solved my problem with the trip computer.

Attachment-1Sadly I have to report that it hasn’t – so when the car goes back in a few days time to have the correct colour display installed I will have to tell them that the problem still exists. To be honest I can’t wait as this is getting to be a good game!

Something also tells me that this problem isn’t going to be solved anytime soon – but at least my car will be getting plenty of ‘washes’ and ‘hoover outs’ while it goes in for them to ‘sort the problem’.

There is always a silver lining……

Another Nottingham deal….

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bus scan 1I am always on the look out for a deal (like most people in this economic climate) so when Nottingham City Transport (NCT) started to offer a term based travel card for under 18’s that offers slightly better value than the 3 month card I took it up for my sons card. He uses his card for his journeys into NCN each day.

Towards the end of last term we got a flyer through the post from NCT indicating that they were doing a ‘spring term bus bargain’. It would be available in person or online from the 28th December 2013. Taking the offer up early gives a week or more of ‘free’ travel over the normal card – consequently it makes sense to do it.

However – the website address on the mailed out flyer doesn’t exist, it takes you to the page shown below. Also if you try to find the deal via the main website – you guessed  – it doesn’t exist!

NCT

So we will keep trying over the next few days, but assuming the site doesn’t come live for a few days the majority of the ‘bargain’ is lost.

Call me cynical, but to me this looks like the Council offering something in the hope that it gets people to pay early for the basic 3 months card – which is more profitable for them. Obviously this is only a theory…….