Wednesday 24 January 2007

Astounding customer service.

This morning, Vic found a card that had been popped through our letterbox, informing her that DHL, bless 'em, had called to deliver a parcel but had been unable to because no-one was in. Vic had, of course, been in all day. We have a good loud doorbell, plus two dogs who bark whenever anyone rings it or looks at it funny. And anyone who's ever used mail order knows that delivery drivers do this all the bloody time.

So Vic rings DHL and is told that they can redeliver tomorrow. She has to wait an extra day for her new phone because their employee didn't feel like doing his job. As far as I'm concerned, redelivering tomorrow because we weren't in is entirely reasonable, but redelivering tomorrow because their driver pretended that we weren't in is not. So I called them.

In my experience — which includes answering the phone for the Royal Mail — people who work for delivery firms are well aware of the way that so many of their drivers do this. I mean, come on: it's an international cliche, regularly referred to by stand-up comics and other pissed-off customers worldwide. Best thing to do if you work for a firm that delivers things is just apologise profusely and be nice, because you're simply not on strong enough ground to go doubting the customer. The woman I spoke to today, however, belongs to the ever popular yet deeply stupid deny-everything school of customer service. When I explained to her, politely, that the driver had not rung the doorbell...

"He did ring the doorbell."

"Well, no, I can assure you that he didn't."

"Of course he did."

"Our doorbell is loud. My wife was in. It didn't ring."

"Why would he do that?"

Ah, asking a customer a rhetorical question. Them's fighting words.

"I have no idea why he would do that."

"What, you're saying he'd just stand around on the doorstep without delivering anything? That's stupid." Laughs. "He's just going to have to deliver it eventually anyway. What on Earth makes you think anyone would ever do that?" More laughs.

"Delivery drivers do this all the time. They're notorious for it."

Laughs. "That's ridiculous!"

She proceeded to talk over anything else I tried to say and laugh loudly and mockingly at me. How do these dolts get jobs dealing with people?

"So a customer calls with a complaint and you respond by laughing at them? Can I talk to your manager, please?"

"Yeah, fine." Laughs.

To her manager, I said "I heard a recorded message at the beginning of this call informing me that it would be recorded. Could I ask you to listen back to that recording, please?"

The parcel was delivered a couple of hours later by a driver who, Vic says, looked very pissed off.

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