Thursday, 24 October 2013

When bad customer service can leave you frustrated and angry.

Are you like me in loathing organisations that have very poor customer service and seem to not care about their customers?

I really cannot understand why some large businesses don't do a better job in dealing with the people that keep them in business - us, their customers.

We can all accept that sometimes things go wrong. When they do, we just want it put right quickly and efficiently, but here in the UK, this rarely seems to happen. All too often, when trying to get things resolved on the telephone, we are passed from one person to the next, with nobody either capable or willing to solve the problem. When this happens to me, I am left with a feeling of frustration and often, anger.

It happened today and being tired of getting absolutely nowhere, I have decided to publicly denounce the guilty party, in the hope they do actually do something to improve. Who knows, it might work.

It was Hewlett-Packard that let me down. Having nearly run out of the high quality photo print paper and urgently needing some more for a large print job, I went online and saw on the HP shop website te paper I needed was available and would be delivered the next day. That was perfect and just what I needed. About £100 / $150 of this was ordered. Sadly, it didn't arrive the next day.

Telephone calls to HP were made and the farce started.....

  • Despite the HP website statement of delivery the next day on this specific product, I was told the delivery could not actually be made for over two weeks.
  • I spoke with seven different people. Shamefully, not one offered to solve the problem, or even gave good advice.
  • There is no way to make a complaint on the telephone as HP do not have a process for this. They insist customers write in. (We all know that most written complaints receive not much more than scant attention and nearly always receive just a standard reply).
  • After being on the phone for twenty minutes, one person tried to transfer the call to someone else but disconnected the call.
  • Nobody could suggest which of their vendors might have the paper.
  • One person thought the best way was for me to order the paper from their website as it showed next day delivery! Duh, that is the very problem I was talking to her about.
  • Two people I spoke to suggested the best thing for them to do was to cancel the order. Pretty unbelievable stuff!
  • Several members of HP staff gave me the wrong telephone number for their head office. I later learned the number was changed some time ago, but apparently, nobody has bothered to tell the staff.
  • One person I spoke to told me if customers ask for the head office telephone number, they must be referred to the HP website. That website lists the head office number as the same one I had dialled to speak to the person who suggested I look on their website to get the head office number.
  • I tried to send an email to their shop, but couldn't because their inbox was full.
  • Needless to say, I got nowhere and the problem was not even close to being solved.

Does this sort of chaos and disorganisation sound familiar?

What is really silly is I must have been speaking to the various HP staff members for about 45 minutes in total. In that time they achieved precisely nothing, but if just one person had tried to help, it would have taken far less time than that to actually solve the problem. Lets remember this is an IT organisation, so they really should have the systems in place that give their staff the information they need to help their customers. It is purely down to training and attitude.

Sadly, this is depressingly all too common with UK businesses. There are notable exceptions, but they are rare. Quite when and how things will get better is difficult to see. What is important though is than organisations like HP actually try. I wonder if they really do want to improve?

UPDATE 30 November - despite HP first saying the product would be delivered the next day, then saying it would be over two weeks, I drove around my area and found the product I urgently needed.  Those buffoons at HP just sent an automated email to me saying the product has been despatched.  What good is that to me now?  I have already gone and found it elsewhere!  I despair of organisations like this.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

My new motorcycle touring business.

A few weeks ago, I hinted that I would be making an announcement about something motorcycle related. It sparked quite a lot of guesses about what it might be about.

Well, the waiting is over, as today I launch my new motorcycle touring business.

Called Tour1, the main points of what we are doing are…..

  • We devise and lead motorcycle tours from the UK to Harley-Davidson European rallies.
  • These are one-way tours and we ship your motorcycle back to the UK. We do this in partnership with “We Move Bikes”, the UK’s leading motorcycle shipper.
  • Due to the tours being one-way only, you can ride across Europe, attend a great motorcycle rally and get back home, all in one week.
  • We find great roads to ride, avoid motorways and have a preference for back roads.
  • Many of our routes are planned to ride over the Alps mountains.
  • In 2014, we are riding to three main Harley-Davidson rallies....
  • We are going to the HOG Euro Festival, in St Tropez, France (May 2014)
  • Plus, the main Harley-Davidson European Rally in Biograd, Croatia (June 2014)
  • And the big one, European Bike Week, in Faaker See, Austria (September 2014)
  • We have also organised a four day tour around parts of northern France

I will personally lead each of the tours.

The routes are planned, the hotels are booked and the anticipation levels are rising!

For more information, see our new website at