Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Winter Coat That Wasn't - A Tale of Customer Service Woe

If a coat gets delivered, but there is nobody there to witness it (in fact there was, but more of that later), was there even a coat in the first place?

Back in the day, when you wanted something new, you saved up your pocket money, waited until the weekend, and went shopping.  In real shops.  with over bearing shop assistants. 

The arrival of the internet saved my soul, and my sanity.  Online shopping had arrived.  No longer did I have to fend off the unwanted attentions of under worked shop staff.  Making such asinine comments as “can I help you with sizes?”.  No thank you.  Surprising as it may seem to you, I am also able to read the labels in the back of clothes, and select the ones that I think I would like to try on.

Now, with just a few clicks, I could shop to my heart’s content, and in peace.  So simple.

Until it was time for my bounty to be delivered.

Are couriers, and delivery companies in general yet to catch on to the idea of customer service?  The idea that you create your business model around the needs of the customers you are meant to be serving.
Arriving home to find one of those little cards in your post box that explains they tried to make a delivery today.  With a handy little number to ring to re-arrange delivery.  But here is the snag.

When you call and ask for the delivery to be made on the two days you do not work, you find out that they only deliver Monday to Friday.  Hmm.  OK, you haven’t yet caught on to the idea that most people work through the week, so give me a time through the week that you will deliver it, and I will arrange to be in for that time slot.  Hmm again.  The response is usually that they are only able to give you a day, and you have to be off work the whole day waiting for them to turn up.  No puedo hacerlo.  No can do.

It appears that DHL, and their ilk, are not planning to change their draconian ways, so enter my saviour.  The humble parcel locker.

With services currently offered by Australia Post, and Officeworks, this is a cracking idea.  And free.  You sign up, get an address which you use for your delivery, and your parcel gets delivered into a secure locker, that can be accessed 24/7 via a unique code.

And until recently, my experience has been excellent.

Until…Spit Junction post office get involved.  Or specifically “Rosa” from the post office.  As I was away on holiday when the eponymous winter coat got delivered, the time it was allowed in the secure locker expired.  As is the process, it was then removed from the locker, and taken into the post office for me to collect over the counter.  And the communications I got through this process reassured me all was in hand, as “Rosa” had signed for the coat.

And subsequently lost it.  Somewhere.  In a post office the size of a large shipping container.  When I went in to collect my coat, I was told that I should call back again when they had chance to have a full search of the post office.  Which I did.  On 3 occasions.  And still no coat.  And no apology.  And no taking ownership of the issue.  I was told that I would have to chase up all parties involved, from the online store I bought the coat from, to the courier service that had delivered the coat.

All this despite having evidence that the online store HAD despatched the coat.  The courier HAD collected and delivered the coat.  And “Rosa” HAD signed for the coat at Spit Junction post office.

Still, Julian, the manager at the post office, told me it wasn’t his problem, and that I had to do my own chasing around.

Not happy with this appalling lack of customer service, I had Julian raise an official complaint.  Meanwhile I tried contacting Witchery customer service.  Which was equally appalling.  Don’t these people want customers?  All the accountability was on me, the customer.  There was total apathy, a total lack of concern for my loss.

In steps my saviour.  PayPal.  To the rescue again.  Like my cloud hosted knight in shining armour.

A company that truly seems to be on the side of the customer, and the service we deserve when we are spending our hard earned cash.  Having previously rescued me from the wretched clutches of, the Aussie outpost of the popular UK site from an unbelievably bad customer service / delivery experience, I again had to revert to their "resolution centre" to reclaim my funds.

It looks as though PayPal had the same problem getting any joy from Witchery, and when they hadn’t responded to PayPal with the requisite 14 days, PayPal refunded me the total amount. An amount they will now claim back direct from Witchery.

It has now been over 5 weeks since this whole saga began.  I am older, and slightly greyer for the experience.  At the time of writing I still have not heard from either the Post Office, the Postal Ombudsman (to whom I escalated my complaint), nor Witchery.  Lord knows into which black hole my query / complaint / rants have gone.  

Probably the same place as where my coat is.

In the meantime, Rosa may have a new coat, but I now have some money to spend.  Where's that laptop?

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