DHL collections: A special type of customer service fail

So here’s a new customer service policy.

I had an expensive widget break down – a heavy widget.  So I sought help from the manufacturer who says “okay, we’ll repair it – and we’ll have someone collect it from you”.  Great.

So a couple of days later a DHL shipping label and a box arrive.  Dutifully, I put the widget in the box, then printed and attach shipping label to said box, waiting for courier to turn up.

Here’s where the wheels fall off the process:

Part of the process of the manufacturer booking the collection means that a weight for the package is printed on the shipping label. BUT: that data does not get transferred to the courier in the booking process.

So what happens is, the driver turns up, takes one look at the package and the weight, then says something like “too heavy. Someone will come round tomorrow”.  Except that nobody in our office remembers anyone doing that and the first I knew about it was a phone call that came in late yesterday to tell me what had happened.

So, rather than just calling me or a colleague to help with getting the heavy parcel into the van (about a 5 min job), they instead drive off to the next location, call it into base as too heavy, have someone call me to explain the situation, rebook after I get (hopefully not too) annoyed at them and insist it was picked up same-day, then someone else fails to turn up to do that job, then I end up spending most of my day trying to talk to someone about why things failed and how the heck we’re gonna get this thing outta my office today.  About 8 man-hours lost, along with lots more CO2 and a complaint made against a driver for not turning up.

Think it’s time DHL and other couriers get their act together to stop us wasting so much of our lives – and obvious flaws as crucial information not being fed through the data chain such as size and weight of the package really does need fixing. Surely this whole saga is costing DHL far more to sort out than it has me so far?

Shure and Sennheiser customer service woes

Been having some issues with some of our mics at work, and some phone calls to the technical teams at Shure and Sennheiser a couple of weeks ago proved helpful in the diagnosis of each mic.

So last week I sent each an email to their published addresses gleaned from their websites to arrange returns codes so their repair teams can put things right at our expense.

Yet, a week on, I’ve still not heard anything. So today I get to make more phone calls at our expense to chase things that have fallen through the net.

If you’re a business, and you bother to publish support email addresses and a process by which to use them, please can you at least respond in a timely manner? Businesses like mine will feel confident and continue to buy your products, paying a little more for the knowledge that you’ll support them. Lose that confidence, and we’ll move to buying cheaper products that end up costing us less both to buy and replace than a single repair process, while still giving us 90% or more of the performance.

Your ball.

TV Licensing and address confusion

I live in a flat whose name has changed some years ago, but the name change has yet to be successfully acknowledged by the local council despite best efforts made by the landlords up until the time I moved here. Since then I’ve received several letters from TV Licensing (TVL) addressed to old property name, despite my having transferred my licence to what I knew to be the correct address for my property, and despite TVL having confirmed that they had linked the addresses on their database so that future mailing list imports will start the sorry correspondence trail again for no sane reason.

The helpful representative at the time also told me to ignore any future mailings I might receive of this nature provided that I keep up payments and keep a copy of the correct licence to show to an enforcement officer if they ever choose to show up. Having worked for TVL myself many years ago I can confirm from memory that this was the advice we were told to give to callers in similar situations to mine, for whatever reason.

So you can imagine my surprise when I received a written warning today of a pending court summons for the lack of a licence at the incorrect address, because I’ve not responded to their previous letters. Well DU-UUH! I’ve written to them this evening explaining the situation as it currently stands, enclosing a printed copy of my current valid licence asking them to honour their advice given to me when I last contacted them on this matter. Here’s hoping that common sense prevails and that their current database system is sane enough to understand that property addresses change from time to time, without the councils having had time to update their address lists. I await their response.

Believe it or not, it seems that according to this help page on their website, Royal Mail are not themselves the official registrar of postal addresses in the UK. Instead they get their data from the local councils who maintain their own lists, presumably for the purposes of tax collection and service provision. Their advice is that I now need to start chasing my local council to see if they can indeed update their records with what is now my correct address, which should hopefully stop this happening in the future.

More as it happens, as usual.

Companies making me happy

Despite how things look to anyone following my blog or Twitter/Facebook updates, there are some things that are going right. Many in fact.

So to help balance things out, I feel it fair that I should give a shout out to the guys at LMC Audio and Allen and Heath, two of the best companies I’ve yet dealt with in their fields.

LMC excelled themselves when we started investigating the possibility of purchasing our digital mixing desk. All their staff have been very helpful, and have consistently gone the extra mile to make sure we and our purchase are happy as can be. Arranging a demo of the kit was very easy, and the way they pulled out the stops to arrange a second demo at the very last minute earlier in the summer was a really good example of how things should work. JP, their head of sales i think, has been wonderful in both his honesty when things don’t go to plan, and his cheerfulness throughout. I’d highly recommend LMC to anyone looking to do the same kind of purchase and installation we’ve just done.

As for Allen & Heath… Not only do they offer great products, but their tech-support team seems very active and this shows both in the firmware updates made so regularly to add or fix features on their iLive series, and in their extremely pro-active and helpful approach to dealing with queries or requests via telephone, email or the iLive discussion boards.

Well there we have it – five gold stars to both. Other companies (regardless of their work) could learn a lot from you guys – I know I have!