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Archives for : March2015

Why you should use DPD

More often than not one person loves a company while the next will have nothing to do with them.  It’s a level of customer service that can vary massively depending on who your interaction is with.  It’s the same with every company providing a service of some kind.  Or so I thought.

Most of the time we don’t give much thought to how or why something works.  We overlook good service because we expect it as standard.  It’s only really when a company lets us down that we sit up and take notice.  Every now and then we give a conscious thought to the good service we’ve received.

It started a while ago, I can’t recall when exactly, but I’d expected a few items that day.  One arrived with the postman.  I’d queried if there was anything else for us.  When Parcelforce delivered the second, again querying why there weren’t more.  His response, and I’m paraphrasing here, was “Don’t ask me mate, that’s all they’ve given me”, as he kept walking not only towards the gate but past it, not closing it on his way.  The missing item was apparently lost somewhere in the postal system.  I had to wait in case it turned up late.  It didn’t and its replacement arrived by second class post, at the cost of the seller. It made me wonder how much money is lost by having to send replacement items because the customer hadn’t received the first.

A short while later I got an email from DPD.  They’d notified me that an Amazon delivery was with them and they’d be delivering it the following day.  I could track it on the day of delivery.  Having used delivery trackers in the past, my apathy knew no limits and I thought no more of it.
Delivery day, and I’d received an email saying the item would be delivered within a one hour window of hh:mm.  Not at some point that day, if the weather’s nice and we can be bothered; not that morning or that afternoon, but a one hour window.  That stood out.

I’ve now had a few things delivered by DPD.  Without exception, they’ve always stood out above other couriers.

  • The drivers are courteous, polite and friendly.  Even passing you in the street.
  • Their web site lets you track your parcel, properly.  I don’t mean you refresh the page to see “in transit” showing, I mean you get to track the van it’s in on the map.
  • You can even see which member of staff is delivering your parcel, where in the queue you are and approximately how long it will be before your package is delivered.
  • Their twitter staff can see your account and advise you, in a very timely manner.

They’re just professional.

Today I had cause to contact them.  I was expecting an SD card.  The trouble is, in the past Amazon have sent something the size of an apple in a box that could comfortably fit this computer, all cables, and the monitor in.  Because of Amazon’s inconsistency with packaging, not knowing what size packaging they’d used this time, I got in touch with DPD via Twitter.  I asked if the delivery driver could wait a little longer for me to get to the door – I normally need a wheelchair but I get away with crutches to get to the door.  It wasn’t a problem, DPD got in touch with the driver.  Problem solved.
Thankfully Amazon had used an envelope, not a box far larger than its contents, so the driver didn’t need to wait for me to get to the door.  He posted it through the letterbox.  [Additional kudos to the driver for using common sense here]

What really stood out for me is that by the time I’d retrieved the envelope, there was a photo of our house (taken near the gate) and another of the envelope being posted through the letterbox, both on the tracker page of DPD’s web site.

This folks, is why it pays to use DPD.
Most companies say they’ll deliver it within 24 hours.  Some say within 6 hours.  DPD say within 1, and even let you change that if it’s inconvenient.
Some staff walk away from you while talking to you.  DPD’s drivers said hello when passing in the street.
Some companies have policies to make customers wait on the off-chance an item is delivered later.  DPD haven’t lost or misplaced anything of mine.
Some companies tracking system says ‘In Transit’.  DPD’s let you see where the van is on the map, where you are in a queue and roughly how long you have to wait before their driver pulls up.
Some staff push cards through your letterbox saying they couldn’t catch you without even ****ing knocking!  DPD got in touch with the driver while he was making deliveries.
Most companies say they’ve delivered your item.  DPD took photos!

From the customer’s point of view, nobody else even comes close.

@EE – how not to do it

I’ve been with Orange since January 1996.  When you’ve been with a company that long you expect a certain amount of hiccups.  Nobody’s perfect, and where there’s humans, there’s human error.  Unfortunately, since 1996 Orange has changed hands a few times and each time the level of customer service has deteriorated.  None more so than when EE took over.

May 2013 was a frustrating time.  I’d been forced on to a 24 month contract because Orange no longer recognised their own contracts.  I started the month on Everyday 50, a 12 month contract charging 50p per day for 50 minutes of talk time.  Add to that £5 a month for 500MB of 3G data and it covered everything I needed.

The trouble came when I tried to upgrade.  Orange had become EE and with it brought new software.  Unfortunately, the programmers didn’t think to incorporate all active tariffs, (presumably only the ones available to buy at the time).  As a result, EE refused to let me upgrade and keep the talk plan.  They grossly miscalculated ‘a customer’s value’ because I was on a daily tariff, not monthly.  This was stupidity worthy of Vodafone.

It was only when I asked for a PAC (necessary to port my number elsewhere) that EE sat up and took notice.  I was offered a 24 month contract with extra talk time and data thrown in.  I took down the details and went away to consider my options.

When I called back, I’d expected notes on my account outlining the offer.  After several calls I’d found:

  • Some people couldn’t find the notes, or the person I’d spoken to (including a team manager at North Tyneside call centre who suggested if I didn’t take her basic package I should go).
  • Others could find the person, but not the notes.
  • Some found the person and the notes, but couldn’t find the gratuitous extra minutes/data.
  • Some found the person, the notes and the extra minutes and data, but couldn’t activate them.
  • One person found the person, the notes, extra minutes and data but could only activate part of it.

Ultimately, the person who offered me the package got back to me and activated it.  He really was very helpful, and checked everything over before submitting.

I have fallen victim to too many of Orange’s little mistakes over the years.  I was adamant it wasn’t to be the case this time.  I asked if there were any additional charges, hidden charges or anything else.  There would be none.  The line rental was all I’d pay unless I used more minutes or data than in the bundles.
But, thats just not true.

The trouble is, EE (a company I now lovingly refer to as Exceptional Extortionists) failed to mention that I’d be charged for delivery receipts on texts, for calls to freephone numbers (ironically, they’re not free or even included in your monthly minutes) and worst of all, a fine of £3.58 every month for not giving EE control of my bank account via Direct Debit!
None of the above were mentioned.  I even received the wrong phone.

When this was queried, an apology was made, a refund for the Direct Debit payment was applied to the account and I was told she would make sure I wouldn’t get any more, but only for the duration of the contract.  Once the contract is up, the fine will apply.  It turns out the fine has applied ever since.

When I called, I discovered the question of whether EE see you as a valued customer or the means of making money, was answered.  It turns out you can pay EE to jump their queue!  Your call isn’t important to them; your money is!
Although I was repeatedly told “the credit to the account wouldn’t be coming from his pocket”, he didn’t actually credit the account.  He promised the bar on the account would be lifted within 20 minutes, and hurriedly explained it was the end of his shift and had to go! 35 minutes later he called back to explain the buck was to be passed back to the woman who had credited the account and who’d promised I wouldn’t get charged for the remainder of the contract.  The phone call I was promised at 14:00 the following day didn’t happen.  When the buck was passed I’d expected a call back the following day, not to have to wait days for their member of staff to wander back in.

While the bar was into its fifth day I called EE – I’d waited long enough for them to call me.  [I hadn’t told EE but this phone is part of a ‘panic button’ system due to a disability so having it barred has the potential to impact on us a fair bit.]  After having to repeat everything only four times I managed to speak to someone who took on board my complaint.  He apologised, credited the account for what I was incorrectly charged and is sending a letter of apology.  I’m £12-odd in credit.  I suppose that’s what happens when you keep rounding up your bills to the nearest whole pound.

I thought that would be everything sorted, but the bar was still in force.  I called EE on the sixth day to query why it hadn’t been removed overnight.  No reason could be found.  I chalked this one down to either an interruption before it could be done, a technical failure or it was simply overlooked.  What really annoyed me is after explaining everything I’d gone through, the excessively cheery woman told me to “be careful not to go past my (allotted) minutes in future” [something I’ve never once done with this contract] and to “be sure to promote EE to all my friends” and to “tell everyone how good they are”.

So, I’m going to do exactly that.

EE are good at:

  • Making promises they can’t keep
  • Repeatedly letting customers down
  • Giving incorrect information
  • Not advising customers when promises can’t be kept
  • Poorly composing a brief for software developers (active tariffs)
  • Badly training their staff
  • Valuing everything above their customers
  • Ignoring what a customer tells them
  • Self promoting

and they excel at being unable to make calls to customers, and keeping those customers up to date with relevant information.

Why is it communications companies are unable to communicate?