How to treat customers

The ‘nameless’ face of customer care.

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I blogged earlier this week about my experience with East Midland Trains – the good and the bad – you can refresh your mind here if you wish.

Is that you Mark?

One of the things that annoyed me most was the attitude of the department that was supposed to deal with complaints, in a word they had attitude! Or certainly the chap I dealt with seems to. It may be that I caught him on a bad day – although one would imagine that he has to deal with far worse complaints than mine and in that department attitude is not really the way to appease people!

When you are dealing with a complaints department it is the small things that matter – like being given the name of the person you are dealing with. It is a sad fact that one invariably needs to call back, and in this age of call centres it is good to have a name to call back. In my case with EMT it was Mark – but he wouldn’t give me his surname, and was quite abrupt about it. Did he think I would come after him? I do hope not!

Even when he finally made his offer of compensation to me he was fairly ‘un helpful’ in his attitude. Today the letter with the voucher has arrived together with a polite (and one assumes standard) letter.

But most satisfying is the fact that I now know Marks full name – he does have a surname! I am obviously now considered to be worthy of knowing this extra detail. Thank you Mark – I won’t reveal your surname here, people obviously have to earn the right!

Oops, almost lost us Ocado!

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I have blogged on here recently about our good experience of Ocado on their first delivery to us at home. Did I sing their praises too soon?

Not always this smiley!

Our second delivery was due this Saturday between 7.30 and 8.30, we had also included our Saturday evening meal in the order – possibly a bit rash, but on the assumption that they had delivered early last week we thought it would be OK.

However as 8.30 approached the natives (14 and 17) were getting restless, I am told I also get grumpy when I am hungry, so I was probably being unpleasant as well! We checked the website and it said that their GPS system (a new and wonderful service they are just rolling out) confirmed our driver would get to us between 8.10 and 8.30 – but it was 8.40! A decision was taken to abandon for chips which I collected (without any complaints).

After eating said chips we were 50 minutes after the latest delivery time, so a call to Ocado was in order – this was going to be make or break for them as far as I was concerned. How a company responds to a complaint matters – the customer is always right!

We got off to a good start – they were sorry and would call the driver and call me straight back, that’s good, as I don’t want to be kept waiting. The call came a few minutes later with an apology, a £10 ‘hassle’ voucher, and news that the driver would be with us by 9.30. And he was!

The driver was polite and sorry, but pragmatic. He told us that if he called everyone on his route when he was running late it would slow him further – a fair point. It also appeared that his route had not been planned as well as it could have been (the delivery before ours was for a later slot). He also thought the head office should be tasked with updating us – after all they track their vans so it would be easy.

I had to agree with him – if Ocado track their vehicles (quite common now) they could easily tell us if there was a delay. They do appear to be trying to do this via the website, but it’s not working. Perhaps a text would prove better – it’s more direct and almost ‘personal’ even if its machine generated.

So a close call for Ocado, but we will stick with them at the moment.

Why Apple keep their customers

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I believe I am a fairly new convert to the ‘Apple cause’ – my kids were iPod users before me (iPod Minis) and it was only when the iPhone arrived at work that my love of all things Apple began properly.

I did however buy a first edition iPod Nano while on holiday in Chicago back in 2006. It is only a baby one (2GB) but I love it. The first edition of the Nano was the first of the thin units and is still a lovely bit of design by my reckoning. It still works well and lives in the conservatory at home on a dock linked to a HIFI unit.

Imagine my horror this morning therefore to find news on the web about an issue with the battery overheating and catching fire! Apple are onto it though and have set up a replacement program for this issue.

I have checked on the Apple website and my unit is one with an issue – however they are sending me a box with instructions on how to return it, and on receipt of my 5 year old unit will replace it!

Now that is customer care!