D4D

You can't polish a turd.

Archive for the category “Customer Services”

Moving Emails

Over the weekend, I ended up moving a lot of my email processing over to Amazon’s “Workmail” product. So far, it’s gone pretty well, but we’ll see what happens over time.

The email server/service I was using (via a company I do a lot of my hosting with) was generally OK, but had some significant issues which they didn’t appear to be able (or willing) to fix. The main one was that emails with attached files – particularly PDF and Word documents – would occasionally disappear. They wouldn’t bounce back to the sender, and they wouldn’t tell me (the recipient) that something had gone wrong, they’d just disappear with no notice to anyone.

Generally it’s been survivable, but last week there were things for HMRC and others that didn’t make it – things that were, safe to say, bloody important.

So I’ve moved the primary accounts over to Workmail, and it’s been quite smooth.  The setup didn’t take long, and while there were a couple of teething errors when it came to migrating the emails from Old to New, it all worked pretty nicely.  Once I knew what the hell I was doing (and/or looking for) it became even easier/better.

After that, the main ball-ache has been putting the new accounts onto all my devices, and getting everything to syncronise properly again. It’d be nice if you could just push the new account to your devices, but that’s a level of tech that’s above and beyond what we’ve currently got, sadly.

Still, it’s all worked, I’m fully moved over with all my key accounts, and it hasn’t made me want to throw computers through windows. Even that is pretty noteworthy, I think.

Something New – Quick Update

Last week, I wrote about starting off with getting a new card from Monzo, and how things had gone so far.  At the time, I was waiting for the card to arrive, so I could connect it to the account and so on.

The card actually arrived on Saturday, rather than the expected/predicted Friday, but I can live with that.  Even out of usual business hours etc., it was a simple case of opening the phone app, doing the linking process, and it was immediately sorted with the top-up I’d put on it.

I’ve used it for some payments over the last few days, and so far I’m really impressed. It’s all been painless, and the updates and notifications come through to the app so fast you can’t really believe it’s been that quick.

As I said last time, I’ll write more about the entire thing in a month or so – but right now, yeah, I’m actually impressed with Monzo. Let’s hope things stay that way.

Reburgered

Last weekend, I went to one of my favourite food places in London, Mac and Wild. (OK, I went to a couple of my favourite places, but that’s a different story) They had a special burger on, which was only happening ’til yesterday, and I wanted to try it.

I ordered it (along with their cocktail of the month) and everything arrived and was lovely. As expected.

But then I saw other people’s photos of their Murray burgers, and mine was… different.  I had assumed that the black pudding was mixed into the patty, which gave it a really deep meaty taste without being a dollop of black pudding – but all the photos had a layer of black pudding on them.

So I mentioned this to Mac and Wild on Twitter, along with the above photo.  And within a couple of hours they’d come back to me, saying “Oops, looks like you had the Highlander instead of the Murray Mound. We’re really sorry – if you can make it in before the 15th, we’ll do you one for free“.  Note, I hadn’t asked for this, nor expected anything at all.  So already I’m pretty impressed.

As I was already planning to be back in London on Saturday, I took them up on that offer.

And bloody marvellous it was, too.

Now, I did pay for the burger – because I insisted on doing so.  Mistakes happen, and I’m fine with that. And I don’t feel like it was fair to get a freebie for a simple mistake – I love Mac and Wild anyway, so it was actually the simple offer, and the speed of it, that impressed me, rather than getting free food.

It’s that service (well, and the excellent food!) that keeps me going to places like Mac and Wild – they always give the impression that they give a damn. To have gone straight to “Oops, sorry” rather than arguing the toss, to accept and own the mistake and make amends for it, that’s impressive.

And long may that continue.

Something New

Over the last week or so, I’ve been trying something new (well, new-ish) in the financial sector – Monzo.

I’ve been aware of a few of this type of “new banking” start-ups of late, but Monzo interested me when I read this article that talked about how closely it kept track of payments, and their whole customer service set-up.   In my own experience with banks, it’s customer service that is their greatest weakness, so I’m interested in how other ‘non high-street’ new financial organisations address it.

At the moment it’s “only” a pre-paid credit card option, driven entirely through a smartphone app – but they’ve got their banking licence, and are aiming to be starting a current account as well, again all driven through smartphone apps.

So far, the experience has been pretty good. (Note – for purposes of this, I used my iPhone – I can’t say anything at all about the Android version) I got the app through the App Store, and went through the initial stages.  Basically, just a name and date-of-birth for verification purposes, and then they order your card.

This took some time – but the expectations were managed all the way through, showing the queue of applicants, where I was in that queue, how many people were before me, and how many after.   Now, my cynicism kicks in slightly here, as I noticed that the number of applicants always stayed around the 25,000 mark, so it *could* just be a steady flow of incoming customers, or it *could* be all smoke-and-mirrors guff to make me think they know what they’re up to.

It took about four days to get to the top of the queue (I could’ve jumped places if I’d promoted Monzo on social media, but frankly, fuck off) and once that happened, I got a notification to say so.  This was where the identity stuff came in, and needed address details, plus an in-app photo of driving licence for proof-of-address, and a 5-second video to prove I’m real.

I’ve done an initial top-up (of a completely manageable amount – if the entire thing turns out to be a scam, I won’t be screwed) and the card has been sent to my home address. It’s due to arrive today, at which point I’ll have to connect it to the app – slightly annoying, as surely they know all the necessary details already – and then it should be ready to go.

I’ll write more about it in a month or so, once I’ve used it and seen how I feel about the entire thing.  So far, though, it’s been an interesting and positive experience – I hope it continues to be so!

Connectivity – Fixed (For Now)

Last weekend, as I said here, my internet connection started to go really bad (again).  I know what causes it, it’s just one of those things that’s a pain in the bum when it happens.

As usual, I got in touch with BT – this time through the online fault-reporting process.  Despite knowing what the problem is, there’s nothing in the process that lets you bypass it – and trying to get through it by using the phone and talking to badly-trained customer service lifeforms is even worse.

So we go through the usual farce of (in no particular order)

  • Have you checked all the extensions? Yes. (I don’t have any, but sure, I’ve checked them if it makes you happy)
  • Have you tried the connection with another phone? Yes. (I don’t have a spare phone just for this, and I know what the problem is)
  • Have you disconnected everything else? Does the problem still exist? Yes, of course it bloody does. The problem’s in your master socket.
  • Do you realise that if we find the problem is on your side (don’t worry, we won’t) then you’ll be charged £130 on your next bill?  Yes, I do realise it. (You’ve been here seven times all told in five years, all for the same problem, and I’ve never been charged, so it’s a fair bet that it won’t happen this time.)

And once we were through that, the engineer was booked for Wednesday morning, between 8am and 1pm.

He turned up, 8.10 – a good sign. Agreed with my diagnosis, and had a better look at the hole in the wall where the cable comes in. (Which the other engineers should have done, but well, we’ll gloss over that)  The silicone sealant was perished, and there was no drip-drop (as he called it) outside – basically, a small curve in the cable before it goes into the house, so that the lowest point for water is below the hole. Between those two things, he could easily see why water would be coming in – particularly in strong storms, which is what’s always been the precursor to the problem.  So, replaced silicone sealant, and he pulled enough cable through to enable a small drip-drop.

As well as that, he agreed to move the master socket further up the wall – basically, if this new one gets water damage, it’s likely that my concerns are going to be about far more than just my internet going down!

All told, it took about an hour to do the work – and of course I didn’t get charged, because the problem was with the master socket. As expected.

Only time will tell if it’s completely fixed (hence why I’m writing about it here, as a reference point in case of future problems) but as we’ve now gone for belt, braces, and piece-of-string methods in one visit, I’m hoping there won’t be any further recurrence of the problem…

 

Fixing Things

So far, this year has involved a number of customer service clusterfucks, some of which I’ve mentioned on here, and it looks like a number of those issues are now on the way to being sorted, thankfully.

That list includes

  • The Cat boots – successfully returned to manufacturer, and a replacement pair are (apparently) on the way
  • The Credit Card company – seems to be sorted, with outstanding issues rectified.
  • My Accountants – this has been something that’s been ongoing for a year or more, where they’re just ridiculously slack and uncommunicative. If it weren’t for the fact that they’ve been free (for the last 18 months!) then I’d have moved on well before now.
    The free stuff is a story of its own, but basically when I complained to director level at the end of 2015, they told me I wouldn’t be charged until they’d fixed the issues.  Eighteen months later, the issues are still there, although having had some productive conversations with the Operations Director, I think they’re turning the corner at last!
  • BT – Hopefully, that’ll be sorted today. The engineer is due between 8am and 1pm, and fingers crossed things will be sorted.

There’s a couple of other things coming up that so far seem positive, but I’m waiting for them to come through properly before I write about them.

All told though, yeah, it’s all feeling a bit more fixed and positive.

Connectivity

Yet again, my home broadband connection has gone to pot over the weekend.

It’s an ongoing problem – basically, there’s a leak in the outdoors part of my connection, so when it rains heavily, water gets in, and corrodes the connections in the master socket.  I start to know it’s going to be bad when any phone call I make (not that I make many on the landline, but still) starts to get crackly.  After a while, it then gets bad enough that the next ingress of water breaks things properly, and leaves my modem/router dropping the connection and reconnecting on an all-too-frequent basis.

In the five-and-a-bit years I’ve been in this house, I’ve had four master sockets. Now soon to be a fifth.

BT refuse to believe that this is the problem – this has been going on for ages, and they’ve done line checks etc., but won’t replace the outside part of the connection, for some reason.

So we go through the farce of doing fault-tracking, “We can’t find anything” and then booking an engineer to come out.  Every time, I get told “If it’s a problem past the master socket (i.e. with my own wiring) then it’ll cost £129.99 on your next bill”.  It won’t be with my wiring, because I’ve got precisely one socket, and one connector/splitter (also supplied by BT) on it.

Everything else will be fine, it’ll just be corroded connections in the master socket. Again.

This time, I’m going to aim to get the engineer to reinstall the master socket, but do so higher up the wall (so water doesn’t get in, as it can’t climb cables) or on a longer cable inside the house, so I can put it on a shelf or whatever, and again, let gravity deal with the problem.

The engineer’s coming out on Wednesday morning, so we’ll see what happens from there. It’d be nice (and really quite novel!) to have it sorted properly this time. But only time will tell whether that’ll happen or not.

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