Customer Services – The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

This past week I’ve had one of those customer service experiences which leaves you tearing your hair out and wishing to God you’d never come across the company in question.

The thing is, not all experiences are like this and whilst I felt the need to rant and rave about how awful said company were, I remembered that there are also companies out there who far surpass expectations time and time again, so I decided to write a post about my experiences of all of these stand out companies, from the best to the worst!

The Good


I first joined LOVEFiLM in September 2004, I loved the concept of being able to pay a monthly fee and be able to rent as many DVD’s as I wanted and it must have agreed with me as I’m still renting about 9-12 DVD’s per month with them plus watching several films via their streaming service every month. One of the things that I’ve always highly rated them for is their Customer Service.

  • I remember once having an issue with discs going missing in the post, I contacted them, filled in a simple online form and within a few days had replacement discs.
  • Another time I sent them a message to say some new envelopes they were testing kept falling apart, they gave me some free rentals for taking the time to get in touch.
  • Recently when the Playstation Network was hacked and taken down for ages, meaning the LOVEFiLM streaming service wasn’t available, they took £5 off of my bill because I was a regular user of that service on the PS3, without being asked.

In the 8 years I’ve been using them I’ve never had a problem that’s too much trouble for them, their service is brilliant and their staff helpful. If only every company could be like this!

The Bad


I had been banking with Alliance & Leicester for a good five or six years when they were taken over by Santander. I’d not really had any issues with them but my God, when Santander got their hands on things all hell broke loose!

  • They paid my rent twice, then refused other direct debits due out the same day, then charged me administration fees for the pleasure of the mistake they made.
  • They would cancel my cards on a weekly basis on ‘suspected fraud’ checks, then nobody was ever in their fraud department to unblock the cards, all the while I was having to phone numbers costing me £1 per minute to sort it out.
  • I was locked out of my internet banking every time they blocked my cards.

These issues went on for several months, and in the end we got so sick and tired of spending more fixing the banks problems than we were making that we moved elsewhere. In the end Santander admitted they were in the wrong, but even then they only paid us £70 in compensation, which barely covered the phone calls let alone all the charges they had dumped on us, and charges we had received from other companies because of the mistakes they’d made!

They recently offered me £100 to move back to them, I said no!

The Ugly


This is where this week’s nightmare comes to light, we ordered a sofa from Very, now I maybe should have known better. I know that they use Yodel for their deliveries (both being part of the Home Delivery Network), and we’ve had trouble with Yodel before multiple times. But we were told that we would be called to arrange a day for delivery so I figured it couldn’t be that complicated. Boy was I disillusioned!

  • I got a call from the depot on the 3rd February to arrange delivery, they asked if they could deliver on Tuesday 7th, as we had to arrange time off of work I asked for delivery to be Friday 10th. The guy at the depot said this was no problem, and someone would call closer to the day to confirm the timings. Yay! All sorted, or so I thought.
  • On Thursday 9th February, our old Sofa has been picked up by The Sofa Project and we’ve not had confirmation of the delivery time for Friday from Yodel so Hubby gives them a call, only to be told there’s no delivery booked and they’ll bring it next Friday the 17th!

Needless to say at this point I start steaming, I’m talking cartoon style steam coming out of ears and eyes popping out of head! We’ve both taken time off of work for this delivery and now it’s not happening?! We’re sitting on bloody camping chairs dammit, do you have any idea how uncomfortable these things can get?!

  • So I phone Very, the guy there says he will speak to Yodel and call me back. Four hours later, I’m still in the dark and nobody has called me back!
  • I finally got somebody at Very on email, their customer services really are shockingly bad, who told me the guy had been speaking to them and trying to change the date (OK, I appreciate he tried to do something, but he could have picked up the phone and let me know), she said she could log a complaint with the depot, but couldn’t get the date changed or do anything further.

The complaint was sent on Thursday, since then I’ve heard nothing else. Yodel haven’t even hinted at an apology despite one of their staff being the person who screwed all this up by not booking in the delivery as he said he would. You spend over £500 on something, you expect to get treated with a bit of respect! Apparently this is something that has been skipped in the training for Very & Yodel.

Like I said, this isn’t the first time I’ve had trouble with Yodel, but it will be the last. Quite a few companies use them now, but I’ll just stop ordering things from companies I know use them moving forwards.

I never thought I’d hear myself say it but come back Royal Mail all is forgiven!

Update: 13.02.2012 After further problems we’ve decided to cancel our order for the sofa so had better get used to sitting on camping chairs!


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