Thursday, 19 March 2015

One Week - Four Customer Care Encounters

As you (probably) know, I work in customer care. I’m a great believer in providing customers with the best possible after sales service, and will do all I can to help a customer resolve any issues they may have as quickly as possible, with minimum fuss and delay. I’ve worked in customer care since my first job, in one form or another, and yes, I’m passionate about it.

As someone who works in this industry, I am too aware of the fact that customers who receive bad customer service are normally the ones to shout about it – customers who receive good customer service say thank you (sometimes) and disappear. You rarely see complimentary comments about customer service received from companies, so when I receive it I like to shout about it.

The last week I’ve encountered both brilliant and abysmal customer service from a variety of companies – so here’s my shouting about it.

HOTPOINT – My 7 year old washing machine was purchased when we first moved into our house. I chose a Hotpoint machine thinking I was purchasing a good quality product that would last a long time – which it did – but also thinking that when things did start going wrong I would have the support of Hotpoint to help me resolve the issues. I contacted them on Friday last week when the washing machine started making the most awful noise – like I was washing bricks – a quick diagnostic online pointed toward the bearings requiring replacement. Unfortunately the model machine I had, you couldn’t replace the bearings only – you had to replace the whole drum, including bearings, the cost of which was almost as much as a replacement washing machine. I contacted Hotpoint via their website ‘Contact Us’ form asking if they were able to provide me with a quote for parts plus labour, as the cost of the replacement drum from a spares page would have meant Daddy P then having to fit it. Obviously as we have a young son I’m unable to be without a washing machine, so I needed a prompt reply. Despite e-mailing them first thing in the morning last Friday I have still not received a reply from them. Additional to this, I also Tweeted them @HotpointUK to find out when I could expect a reply to my e-mail at around lunchtime, since it was an urgent request – I have still not received a reply from the Tweet, either. So all round, for Hotpoint customer care, I would have to say ABYSMAL.

SAINSBURYS – Recently I’ve been suffering with pretty much constant sickness. It’s not for unknown reason – there is a known underlying cause (nothing sinister!) – but it has been causing me a lot of distress as it has meant I’ve not been sleeping properly, every time I go out I am looking out for places where I can have some privacy to be sick, I feel wobbly and shaky and because of it I’ve been dehydrated which has been causing some mammoth headaches. As mum to a four year old, plus (trying) to work full time, it has been awful, and really affecting me – I haven’t been able to play with J, I’ve been relying a lot on Daddy P to do housework and cooking and J’s bedtimes, and I’ve had to take time off work sick (which I hate doing as I know it puts stress on the team member who covers me when I’m off, she has her own job to do and doesn’t need the added workload) Anyway due to this sickness I finally spoke with my GP the other day who prescribed me some anti-sickness medication, and as I was too poorly to venture out myself to collect it she faxed the prescription to Sainsbury’s pharmacy, as Daddy P works next door to our local Sainsbury’s store, so he could pop in on his way home from work and collect it for me. Unfortunately the first time he tried to collect it, they were out of stock – the next morning they told him that they were hoping the medication would be on the afternoon delivery. When it did then arrive, they phoned him and left a message on his answer phone to say it had arrived and was ready to collect. Added to this, when I Tweeted Sainsbury’s earlier in the day about it, they got straight back to me asking me to DM contact details so they could look into it and help further. It was annoying having to wait an extra day for medication I desperately needed, but altogether Sainsbury’s customer care was BRILLIANT.

KNOW HOW – You may recall back in December I got a new dishwasher, purchased from Curry’s, and it was delivered by Know How. I was impressed then with their brilliant customer care – they messaged me first thing in the morning letting me know my delivery time slot; the delivery team phoned me when they left their previous delivery to let me know they were on the way to me. When they arrived the delivery team were polite, friendly, introduced themselves and were generally really nice guys. They removed the old dishwasher, fitted the new one, tested it, showed me how to use it, and asked me to get in touch straight away if I had any issues. I was really impressed with them. Last week when my washing machine started making awful noises, due to the lack of response from Hotpoint and my urgent need for a replacement washing machine, I ordered a new one from Curry’s. Again, it was delivered by Know How, and again the delivery team were utterly fantastic. I Tweeted @KnowHowToHelp straight away and told them how impressed I was with the service – they replied asking for my order ref, to ensure my comments reached the delivery team, so I’ve done that – once again, Know How customer care was BRILLIANT.

ICELAND – As I’ve been unable to get out of the house recently due to being unwell, we desperately needed a food shop done. Daddy P doesn’t drive, and there’s only so much he can carry home in his backpack on the bicycle, so online shopping is a brilliant option for me. I did a shop last night for delivery today – they messaged me first thing to confirm the delivery had been picked and packed for dispatch, then again to remind me about the delivery time slot an hour before the time slot opened. The time slot was between 11 and 1, and at 11.30 I noticed an Iceland van parked outside. When I opened the front door a lovely cheerful man from Iceland was unloading the last of my shopping from the van – he’d put most of it outside the front door already, when I opened the front door and started gathering bags up he brought the last of the shopping up to the house and immediately started passing the bags up from the front path to the front hall for me. Another lovely, polite, friendly delivery guy, and yes, Iceland customer care was BRILLIANT.

I suppose, when all is considered, three out of four isn’t bad, but still I am surprised and disappointed that Hotpoint, such a huge company, haven’t bothered to respond to my contact request and it’s been six days (four working days) Even a brief reply to say thank you for your e-mail would have been a start. Of course if they do ever get in touch, I’ll update this accordingly – but it’s a bit late now, as I no longer have any Hotpoint appliances, and guess what? A negative experience has put this customer off for good. I won’t be buying their products anymore.

Meanwhile, Sainsburys, Know How and Iceland all deserve a cheer for excellent customer service, prompt responses to all my enquiries and for keeping me updated about my orders every step of the way.