Poor service

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.

The good….. and the (very) bad

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It never ceases to amaze me how a visit to a foreign land can allow you to judge what you have (or don’t) in the way of services at home. My recent visit to the USA has provided one such moment of enlightenment…

20130818-093812.jpgWhile in Florida we needed to use the United States Postal Service – on the face of it a much less ‘obvious’ service to the one we have in the UK (split between Royal Mail and Post Office) – but a service covering the entire 50 States of America. Finding a post office wasn’t as easy as it is in the UK – they tend to be larger and fewer in number and designed for vehicle access. But, once inside we couldn’t have found them more helpful or polite. My son was looking to send some things to California with a self addressed envelope for their return back to the UK.

This wouldn’t be that straight forward to achieve in a UK post office, but for a foreigner in a US post office it was very daunting to say the least. The counter staff were however unbelievably helpful, and patient. We also had to fill in a customs form and they helped with that as well. While this was going on the queue in the post office was building, but no one had a problem – least of all the staff.

Contrast this with my recent Royal Mail and Post Office experiences in the UK;

1. Posting a package to my brother from the local post office. The staff were almost totally silent, the task was achieved swiftly, but with almost no eye contact or comment! – I felt as if I was ‘in the way’.

2. Collecting a package from the sorting office at Incinerator Road in Nottingham (with a ‘you were out’ card that had been left at my house 3 days before) – guess what – it wasn’t there, despite the card saying wait 24 hours. The staff informed me that this ‘wasn’t unusual’, but that the system was due to be changed which would make it ‘better’.

It is now 7 days since the card was left and the package still hasn’t appeared (although I have visited numerous times and they do have my number….) – I get the feeling the staff aren’t concerned – or is it that they don’t care? Consequently I now have no faith in the UK mail system – something that I find very sad for what was once a central part of the fabric of British society – but is now more of a joke.

What ever happened to customer care and service from the Royal Mail – can they really expect people to invest in them if they are privatised? Perhaps the US Postal Service could take them over and teach them a few basic lessons in customer care……

How not to run a restaurant

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As most people I receive the weekly deluge of ‘deal’ emails from restaurants and the like. This seems to be the norm nowadays, particularly with the chains such as Pizza Express…

20121006-174657.jpgI have been to the West Bridgford Pizza Express on a number of occasions, normally booking via the iPhone app (sad I know, but so easy). However this weekend when I tried to book this way I had left it too late and had to phone – you remember the phone, it’s the thing we all used to use to book tables before the Internet took over!

I expected this to be a fairly simple matter, a quick call and a confirmation yes or no as to the availability of a table – or that is what one would expect – but no! The recorded message told me no one was available to take my call BUT – and this is the good bit – I couldn’t leave a message! I was asked to ring back later!

Well after around 6 attempts I gave up, rang other restaurants who all answered almost instantly and eventually got a table elsewhere.

I assume Pizza Express are busy and don’t need or want my custom – it would be nice to know which? Until I find out I won’t be bothering them again!

We actually ended up at a much nicer restaurant due to this – so perhaps I should be grateful for Pizza Express’s lack of interest!

Are the Post Office serious?

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I am not one of our Post Offices fans, their service has become increasingly poor in my view. The days of your post being on your door mat first thing in the morning ended years ago. For the last decade the service has become very ‘second class’ in quality.

20120327-221814.jpgWhether this was due to unhappy staff, or poor management is now rather irrelevant – the announcement that first class postage is to increase to 60p (and even second class to 50p) is the beginning of the end for our once great post office.

Perhaps I don’t get it, but I was under the impression that it was only sensible to increase prices when your product is in demand? Not when you are in a shrinking market! With the increasing use of email and document exchanges via the cloud the Post Office are in no position to charge more!

I am sure at work the use of electronic documents will increase because of this – and hand deliveries in town will be even more common.

RIP the Post Office.

Our ‘wonderful’ Post Office

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At this time of the year we all become beholden to the man in the red van – not the man in the red suit (that joy leaves us at an early age). I am of course referring to Postman Pat – or whatever name you local postman goes by.

a common view for us all by the end of Christmas

I will hold my hand up here and confirm that I am not a fan of our once wonderful post office – I believe that the service they provide is poor and they need a good ‘kick up the arse’ to get things back on track. Unfortunately this is unlikely with the current dynamic between employer and unions so I would not be at all surprised to see the demise of the Post Office in the UK in the form that we all currently know over the next few years.

The reason for my current rant is related to their inability to manage when things get busy at this time of the year. I have had to make a number of visits to the Incinerator Road sorting office over the last few weeks to collect parcels. Now this is not something I have a particular problem with, both my wife and I work, so there is no one at home to receive these packages (although we have had ‘you weren’t at home’ cards through the door when we have been at home – but that is another story).

The changing face of retailing has had a direct impact upon the Post Office – or more precisely it would appear Amazon have. Everyone orders a massive amount of stuff on-line now and the Post Office appear to ‘deliver’ the lions share for these retailers. Now on the basis that many households are not at home when the mail is now delivered (later and later in the day by my experience), then most of the packages will need to be collected – and this is where the system starts to fail – badly!

Incinerator Road is a fairly small industrial unit – a sorting office with a small yard and many surrounding small businesses. But, it is also a pickup point for most of Nottingham’s  parcels that have not been delivered (certainly for south of the river). Consequently when busy (and even when it’s not) parking is a total nightmare – we are talking maybe 4 spaces for pickup – at this time of year it is a war zone!

I can see this having two effects;

Firstly people will become even less enchanted by the Post Office (difficult to believe I know) and this can have only one long-term effect!

Secondly this poor service will make the likes of Amazon more to an alternative delivery system ( they threatened it when the post office workers were on strike)

The upshot? The end of the post office parcels service as we know it.

So come on Post Office, sort your lives out or you really are going to become a thing of the past. Perhaps a bit of flexibility from your staff might go a long way?

Virgin Mobile finally contact us?

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Well no – you didn’t really expect them to did you?

I did receive this tweet over the weekend that briefly set my heart beat a little faster! But on closer inspection it was from Virgin Media America! I doubt that it was produced by a human – it was probably a response via some sort of twitter search engine – but at least it shows a level of interest in your customers problems.

It’s just a shame / predictable (delete appropriate) that Virgin UK are so shockingly inept in this respect!

Something tells me this one will run and run!

Virgin update

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Rather than add to my previous blog about Virgin Mobiles I thought I would add a quick update blog.

Have we answered all their questions texted to us?


Did we get a helpful, personal response ?

No – we got the attached!


Nothing like the personal touch!

What is wrong with Virgin Mobile customer care?

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I have blogged before (numerous times!) about the total inability of Virgin Mobile to get my wifes mobile phone account payment correct. I have always been a fan of ‘Virgin the brand’ as they have always provided good service – except in this case!

perhaps Richard Branson wants to keep us dangling?

Frankly they have been nothing short of appalling over this matter, I do not have the energy to explain it all again, you can read about it here and here.

But, the latest update is even better! They have as usual cocked up the billing (we wouldn’t expect anything else would we?). My wife spoke to them and ‘as usual’ they apologised (getting rather hollow now) and ‘sorted it out’ (at least for a couple of months anyway). But this isn’t the best bit, what came next really shows how little they are interested in their customers;

Following her telephone conversation my wife received a customer care text asking how she felt the person had dealt with her problem – not really very personal or to be honest very helpful. She did duly oblige them with a reply (which was fair as the person was helpful – it’s the system that stinks!) and then she got a text apologising! Fantastic!

I am quite confident that Virgin will not see this, they do not appear to look for mentions of their brand on the web (they either don’t care or there are so many complaints they have given up!) – unlike John Lewis partnership who have responded almost instantly to this blog on more than one occasion when I have complained – now that is customer care.

If I was cynical I would imagine that it is an attempt to get the full value of the tariff out of us by slowly grinding us down – it won’t work. I am not the sort of person to let something like this get past me – and neither is my wife!

Sorry Mr Branson, your staff are letting you down badly at Virgin Mobile, please sort them out and sort out this totally unacceptable debacle!

Yet another #fail for John Lewis

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not what it was?

I have had my issues with John Lewis in the past – the ‘X-box ordering’ debacle being the most recent. They are in my opinion losing their way and do not live up to their billing as the ‘leading UK retail business’.

Well we have another problem! My son Sam’s school uniform (for Dagfa School) is supplied from John Lewis, the school chose them as suppliers on the basis of cost (greatly appreciated) and ease of ordering – they are a big concern so supply should be easy. That’s the theory anyway!

Well as Sam is going through a growth spurt we needed to get him some new trousers at half term (early March) so went to Nottingham John Lewis. Unfortunately they didn’t have any but we could order on-line – fair enough. So back at home (why did we even bother going to the store) we went on-line to find………… out of stock (in fact a massive lack of stock in most sizes).

But, there is a facility to be emailed when stock is in – great idea – so we duly ticked the box and awaited an email. Sam in the mean time has trousers that are gradually turning into shorts!

In mid April we received an email from John Lewis that informed us that the trousers were still out of stock but giving a link to choose another product – most unhelpful!

Today, thinking that Sam is back to school on Tuesday, we suddenly realised that 3 weeks of growth has occurred for him – so his trousers will be even shorter! We have heard nothing further from John Lewis (and yes I do check my spam filter) so assume they are still out of stock – that would be at least 2 months! On the off-chance we checked on-line to find that they are now back in stock – it’s now too late to order to get the trousers for Tuesday when he returns so we will need to ring the store and if they have them make a special trip into Nottingham to collect them.

Why did we not get an email to tell us stock was available again? John Lewis have fallen again in my estimation, this is a fundamental failure to perform in my view.

We need a new TV – guess what – John Lewis won’t be on the list!

There is good service….. and then there is the Post Office!

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I have commented on here previously about my problems with the Post Office, the fact that as they have a monopoly they really don’t have to try – and consequently don’t!

I and some fellow local bloggers, notably Tim Garratt  have all been the beneficiaries of some excellent customer service in recent weeks. I was beginning to believe that perhaps the UK was on the way to providing good service as a matter of course.

They don't really move this fast.....

Well today the Post Office have again secured their position in my eyes as one of the worst services we have in the UK at the moment!

A parcel was unable to be delivered to my home on Saturday (we missed it by 10 minutes) a ‘you were out’ form was left stating that the parcel would be available after 24 hours at the sorting office on Furnace Rd in Nottingham. So this morning I went to this hateful place where you are unable to park because the staff use all the spaces meant for people collecting items, but with plenty of ID this time (we fell out last time over my ID).

Amazingly I got a space to park my car, presumably because the Postmen had left to start their rounds (it was late morning so most of them may well have started by then). However, this was as good as it got – on offering up my ‘you were out ‘ card the postman after a long search confirmed my worst fears – the package was still out!

They had over 48 hours to get from West Bridgford to London Road, and had failed – a new record for our glorious Post Office!

Thanks guys, I will endeavour to use you as little as possible in the future as you are all obviously overworked. Bring on privatisation!