Things go wrong. It is a fact of life. Companies cannot foresee every eventuality but when they go wrong how they communicate the problem is far more important. Any reasonable person will forgive the issue but wont forgive being ignored. And being ignored can make what might have been a small issue, a whole lot worse.
Why am I telling you this? I will tell you why I am telling you this
On Monday of this week a fabulous box of goodies arrived from my Britmums sponsor, Canvas Holidays. Goodie bags for our BiBs dinner. Now I hadn’t thought through the logistics of all the stuff I had to get to London and now it was dawning on me that not only did I have a suitcase, technology etc but now a 20kg box.
“Don’t worry” said my lovely friend Fiona, “send them to me and I will sort it all out”. Hoorah.
Parcel Force offered a service where you could book it all online, pay for it, have it collected from your house and they would deliver it for you.
I booked it for collection between 12 and 3pm on Wednesday for arrival before 10am on Thursday, paying extra for the pre 10am option.
3pm came and went on Wednesday and as I had to leave for school I called Parcelforce and was put through to the local depot. I was told “the driver is running late”.
Now at this point I started to get irate. I never lose my temper with the person on the phone, it is not their fault. But I did point out that I was getting cross as I knew that. The reason I was ringing was I knew he was running late. Could I have some more information.
The driver was duly called and he reported back that he had broken down in Guildford, a town forty five minutes away.
Now. This is where my first paragraph comes in. It is now 3.15 and if the driver has broken down in a town 45 minutes away so he has known for quite a while that he was not going to get to me for 3pm. The latest time I had selected.
He hadn’t called me. My number is on the booking.
He hadnt called his depot so they could call me.
I was a first time customer and this was not looking good.
“If you leave it on the step we will get a driver to collect it and put the paperwork through the letterbox”
I asked how it would work with labels as I had selected for the driver to bring labels. Presumably they were also in Guildford and any replacement driver would not have them. “Don’t worry about that, they will be in the driver’s pigeon hole when he gets back to the depot”.
So I left it on the step
Back from school run, no box. No paperwork.
As it was 20kgs I assumed it hadnt been stolen but at 8am next morning I tweeted Parcelforce for an update. I didnt have my reference number on me but did give them my post code.
I then heard nothing.
I tried to search and track on their website with my booking number but was told it was not recognised.
By 11am when the parcel had not been delivered and I had not had a call from anybody I finally lost my patience.
I tweeted Parcel Force again and to be fair the person running their Twitter feed was very apologetic. And then I was told they had no trace of my parcel. So I dug out the tracking number and handed it over. Oh there was my parcel, in the depot. It didnt have labels on so had sat there and couldnt be sent last night but would be sent out today.
They told me I had to call the depot. I did, not them. My job to call them and find out what is going on. They couldnt phone me. The customer doing the chasing when they have failed.
And no offer to correct at this point. Just a shrug of teh shoulders and a “phone the depot”.
I had to go through several “select one / select six / lose the will to live” type messages and finally spoke to somebody who finaly put me through to the Aldershot depot.
I ran through the whole sorry saga with the manager, explaining about the contradiction of what I had been told the day before about labels and today’s update. In his defence, the manager was very apologetic and said he would call me back within the hour.
Not holding out much hope of that happening I was surprised when he actually did 45 minutes later.
He was going to investigate what had gone wrong but in the meantime my parcel was now on its way to its destination in a van all by itself. It would arrive five hours late but at least it was there today.
Will I use Parcelforce again? No
Will I ever recommend them? No
Why? Because they didn’t communicate with me. Yes, the van broke down. I accept that.
What I will not accept is being ignored and not told what is going on.
It’s a tough market out there for companies and they would do well to remember that. And that we will take our custom to a competitor if we feel we are being ignored.
Image courtesy of Shutterstock