Friday, February 24, 2006

Plodding On

This has probably been the very worst week for me to be ill. We have so much work to do, and to date, very little of it has been done :-( Bodes well for the weekend.

Today, Emily's done a few Viking worksheets and some maths money problems. She also put purple streaks in her hair. Well, what the heck. It's a wash out spray thing, and we rather like it although I gather her grandparents were less impressed.... Emily's been so patient this week, as neither Jon nor I have been able to spend all that much time with her, what with one thing and another. Must get better organised (and well!) for next week. This afternoon, I dropped Emily off at Romy's for a couple of hours, where I gather she had great fun doing carrot jumps and crisp jumps (??) as well as making a hama cat and causing an "earthquake" in Romy's bedroom.

While Emily was out, Jon worked and I half-heartedly listed a few more bits on ebay, through a rather woozy haze. Have just returned to the computer to find another three customers complaining that they haven't received items. I am **soooo sick to death** of being blamed for royal mail's pathetic excuse of a service. And we are so out of pocket over it too. And why is it that so few people have mastered the art of making a polite enquiry? Why do they have to be so aggressive, rude and illiterate?

At the moment we're averaging at least 3-4 "enquiries" a day over items lost in the post. It's absolutely ridiculous. For instance, of the items we posted on the 3rd February, apparently **six seperate items** have failed to arrive, from that same date, to destinations all over the country. Methinks one of our bags went missing somewhere between our local PO and the sorting office. But is that royal mail's fault? Nope, it's ours. Apparently. One of us personally, dressed in black with a balaclava, laid in wait, kidnapped the dear, honest, sweet, salt of the earth postie (because, apparently, they all are, so we're constantly told), stole his post and probably kicked his cat too. Just for fun. Or so you'd think, judging from the abuse we're getting.

Time after time, I tell people, before refunding/replacing, "Would you mind checking with your sorting office, please?". And time after time they lie. "I have checked with my sorting office. They have nothing for me. What's more, all of the postmen are personal friends of mine and I would trust them with the entire contents of my bank account. They have the keys to my house. They never take items back to the sorting office. If I was on holiday in outer Mongolia, they would personally board planes, trains and camels in order to get my package to me. Royal mail are saints. You are lying. You never sent my parcel. You're defrauding me. You smell." And time after time, that customer's items arrive back here, several weeks later, marked "not called for". You see, royal mail in all their glory often don't bother leaving a card when they try to deliver but someone's out. They just take parcels back to the sorting office, and the customer's none the wiser. But then the customers don't actually bother to check, as we suggest - nope, they prefer to just hurl abuse. So their package sits there and waits. And waits. And arrives back here (if we're lucky) showing quite clearly that they didn't bother to collect it. Why??? Oh, and the sent-back items are frequently sufficiently bashed about/sat on/kicked about/squashed/defaced/covered with unidentified soggy bits that we can't possibly resell them at full price. Duty of care, anyone?

Mind you, I suppose we ought to count ourselves lucky that a small proportion of this stuff does actually get back to us eventually. Most of it just disappears into the ether - or, into a dishonest customer's/postman's pocket, if your opinion is as jaded as ours has now become. Meanwhile we fall over ourselves backwards chasing things up, issuing refunds, sending replacments by recorded delivery at our own expense, apologising, trying to be polite. Of course if an item genuinely fails to arrive then the customer is entitled to a replacement/refund. That's not the problem. I just object when the blame is rudely and unfairly levelled at us. Constantly Sometimes I think we're just too nice to be in business.

Of course, *some* customers are polite, honest, patient and generally lovely. But for those that aren't, I'm thinking of putting a note on our online shop and all amazon/ebay items. "We are a small husband and wife team. Of humans. Like you. We do our best to get your purchase to you as fast as possible, in perfect condition. Sometimes, despite our efforts, things go wrong. If it's our fault, you'll find that we will apologise profusely and do all we can to make it right again. If it's not our fault, we'll still politely and professionally do all we can to help. We pride ourselvses on going the extra mile for our customers. But we are not faceless call centre employees, paid to sit here and take abuse. Please bear in mind that if you contact us aggressively or rudely, you'll receive a very rude email in reply, and we'll wash our hands of you and your problem. Sue us for it if you like. Thank you for your co operation and understanding."

Can you tell I'm fed up?


Kris said...

Nikki, that's absolutely priceless and I think I should insist on you adding it to your shop and eBay listings at once!

I've read several things like that at the bottom of listings, and it always makes me smile, so it can't do any harm.

Maybe you could raise your postage prices slightly, and send everything recorded as standard? Blaming the abusive sub-humans?

Nikki said...

I'd love to Kris, but we're averaging over 100 packages a day to send out, and the logistics of filling in that many RD forms and having to wait to have it all calculated and paid for at the PO is just beyond us; we struggle to get them packed and franked as it is. Shame, though, it's a good idea!

Jax said...

Wow, that's a lot of parcels!

I'd miss out the call centre employee bit, cos some of them are humans too, but the rest of it I'd go for.

Our regular postie is lovely. The bloke who delivers parcels kind of doesn't iyswim, so I don't think that all of Royal Mail are wonderful salt of the earth types at all. In fact, they quite regularly drive me up the wall.