Friday, 11 December 2009

TomTom are at it again

Good Grief. What kind of customer service is this? Again I get another promotion code from a "no-reply" email address. Again it's not possible to use it - I tried so hard, this time I even bought something. It was Homer Simpson's voice for the satnav. Not something I would normally purchase, but the free voucher would cover the cost.

Again, there was no way of using the voucher at the time of checking out.

Again, the only way to communicate with TomTom is through there awful web based support tracking ticket thingy. No email correspondance is possible.

Again, the questions I asked were not answered.

Only difference is this time I have something I wouldn't have purchased and, guess what, they wont refund the purchase. And they can't internally use this voucher against an old purchase. It's in their terms and conditions - somewhere. But, they tell me in the last email, I can use the voucher on other purchases. But my problem is I can't. And now I wont purchase from them again. Anything. Ever.

Shame - they had a chance of sorting things out and keeping a long term customer (now on my 3rd satnav from them). But they blew it. Again.

So here's the voucher worth £8.00 - first to use it, keeps it.


I appreciate that TomTom have their terms and conditions of sale. I have my terms & conditions of purchase: if you muck me about, don't do what you say you are going to do, generally make me jump through hoops to have a commercial relationship and let me down - I blog about it to the whole world, mention it to anyone who will listen and never purchase from you again. Fair?

All I have to show for this painful episode is Homer Simpson's voice in my satnav.


Sunday, 15 November 2009

On how to prevent two coffees from being purchased at the Park Inn, Nottingham

On a recent business trip I had to stay overnight in Nottingham at the Park Inn. I've stayed before and it's not a bad place. But this stay may well be my last. I booked on-line through and got a decent rate. When I checked in I was given my key-card and room key - as usual - and my credit card was details were taken. However in the evening, after a meal out, I returned with a work colleague to the bar and ordered two coffees. When I offered my room card to charge the coffees to my room, I was told this wasn't possible as I had not registered in such a way that additional items could not be charged to my room. When I had check-in, I wasn't asked if I would be making additional charges. But as my credit card was swiped I, wrongly, assumed this was possible. So, I gave them a debit card I had on me to pay for the coffees. This was declined as the coffees cam eto £4.50 and debit cards could only be used on transactions of £5.00 or over.

After a long pause, when no other suggestions were made by the bar staff, the only option seemed to be to go back to reception and get my card swiped again and my key-card recreated.

No one was at reception. I did wait a while, but no one turned up. So I had to go back to the bar to get them to find someone. I went back to reception and waited. Eventually someone came and the key-card was re-issued.

I returned to the bar to my patient colleague and two tepid cups of coffee. I then ordered two more cups of coffee and proferred my recently printed key-card. "What about these coffees that you haven't paid for" enquired the bar lady "do you want these added to your bill with the additional coffees?".

I explained that the reason the coffee was getting cold was no fault of mine, rather the inadequacies of the hotel administration system. This fell on deaf ears and a bit of an en passe ensued. Eventually, and reluctantly, fresh coffee was made. I didn't see here make them. It may be she served the same coffees again (as they weren't ver hot) or maybe she used tedid water the 2nd time around. I was basically too tired to argue any more.

So, be warned fellow travellers when booking in to the Park Inn in Nottingham. If your charge key-card has a big red dot on it - you can't add anything to you bill. You have been warned.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

The way the cookie crumbles...

What happens when a company annoys you and forgets to provide good customer service? Well, there are quite a lot of possilbe answers to this question. A contact of mine forwarded the story below and it describes how one unhappy customer got even:

A bit of background: Neiman-Marcus, if you don't know already, is a very expensive boutique shop (they sell a typical $8.00 T-shirt for $50.00)

My daughter and I had just finished lunch at a Neiman-Marcus Cafe in Dallas, USA. Because both of us are such biscuit lovers, we decided to try the 'Neiman-Marcus cookie'. It was so excellent that I asked if they would give me the recipe. The waitress said with a small frown, 'I'm afraid not, but you can buy the recipe.'

I asked how much, and she responded; 'Only two fifty - it's a great deal'

I agreed to that, and told her to add it to my bill.

Thirty days later, I got my Visa statement, and the Neiman-Marcus charge was $285. I looked at it again, and I remembered I had only spent $9.95 for two sandwiches and about $20 for a scarf. At the bottom of the statement, it said, 'Cookie Recipe - $250.00'. That was outrageous!

I called Neiman's Accounting Department and told them the waitress had said it was 'two fifty', which clearly does not mean 'two hundred and fifty dollars' by any reasonable interpretation of the phrase. Neiman-Marcus refused to budge. They would not refund my money because according to them; 'What the waitress told you is not our problem. You have already seen the recipe. We absolutely will not refund your money.

I explained to the Accounting Department lady the criminal statutes which govern fraud in the state of Texas .. I threatened to report them to the Better Business Bureau and The Texas Attorney General's office. I was basically told: Do what you want. Don't bother thinking of how you can get even, and don't bother trying to get any of your money back'

I said, OK, you've got my $250, and now I'm going to have $250 worth of fun. I told her that I was going to see to it that every cookie lover in the world with an e-mail account gets a $250 cookie recipe from Neiman-Marcus for free. She replied, 'I wish you wouldn't do that.' I said, 'Well, perhaps you should have thought of that before you RIPPED ME OFF!' and slammed down the phone.

So here it is! Please pass it on to everyone you can possibly think of. I paid $250 for this, and I don't want Neiman-Marcus to EVER make another penny from this recipe!

NEIMAN-MARCUS COOKIES (Recipe may be halved as this makes heaps)

2 (500 ml) cups butter
680 g chocolate chips
4 (1000 ml) cups flour
2 (500 ml) cups brown sugar
2 tsp.. (10 ml) Bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp. (5 ml) salt
2 (500 ml) cups sugar
500 g Grated Cadbury chocolate
5 (1250 ml) cups blended oatmeal
4 eggs
2 tsp. (10 ml) baking powder
2 tsp. (10 ml) vanilla
3 cups (375 ml) chopped nuts (optional)

Measure oatmeal, and blend in a blender to a fine powder. Cream the butter and both sugars. Add eggs and vanilla, mix together with flour, oatmeal, salt, baking powder, and bicarbonate of soda. Add chocolate chips, grated Chocolate and nuts. Roll into balls, and place two inches apart on a cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes at 375 degrees (180 C).

The above quantities make 112 cookies. Enjoy!

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

TomTom giveth and TomTom taketh away

A few weeks ago I got an email from TomTom giving me an £8.00 voucher as part of their 5th anniversary celebrations. "What a nice thought" was my initial reaction and a good way to maintain customer loyalty and image.

A had a browse around their web-site and thought I would add Homer Simpson as a voice to my TomTom with the voucher - as I already was up to date on Maps and Traffic.

Now, here's where it all started to go wrong. The small print at the bottom of the email states "Your voucher code must be used in the web shop.... and cannot be redeemed via TomTom HOME" But everytime I try and order on-line, and enter my registration details, up pop's TomTom HOME. This then wants my credit cards details and to check-out, with no way of entering the Voucher Code.

To make matters worse, the original email came from "noreply" email address and attempts to contact TomTom via the website have not resulted in any response.

So it appears to me that TomTom would have been better off not sending out the email in the first place. Is it only me with problems?

In case anyone can get this to work - my voucher number is: MKTNONOPT8GBP8xnAqDGanpsAAAEisGVpEMdp
and you have until September 21st to use it. First come, first served.

Good Luck!

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

How not to get business whilst you are out of the office

A driving school company that I work with decided to do a "secret shopper" campaign to check out the competition. They were interested in prices, of course, but more importantly how an initial enquiry was handled and how the process of getting someone to "sign up" for driving lessons was handled. Here, amazingly, are the result of phoning a number of fellow driving lesson suppliers:

Rating 1-5 where: 1 is sh*t, 2 is poor, 3 is average, 4 a pleasant surprise, 5 professional

Company 1
A woman picked the phone up and said "hello" in a yocal accent!! I had to ask if I had got the right number. She said I'll pass you to Dave. (He sounds very "Somerset"!) I asked about intensive courses for my 'son':

Inital 2 hour assessment is £45 - has a `place' 15 minutes from Wells `off road' for new/under 16's. Then normally Mon-Fri and Mon/Tues of the next week (i.e. 7 days) to pass (yeah right!). Suggests a 6 hour day 10-4pm which is £130/day or £110/day for 5 hours. Is booked up until mid-June. Uses a Fiat Punto.


Company 2
Answerphone - you have an option to ring on the mobile
RATING - 1 - you'd ring someone else!

Company 3
Barry picked the phone up - sounded friendly Instructor since 1988. Has a new Skoda Fabia (dual controls - never!). Doesn't do intensive courses. Has 25 pupils on books (couldn't get his bank balance). 1 hour lessons are £24/hour or £115 for 5. Pupils needs 20-30 lesson on ave. First lesson he goes to Priddy, second lesson on the estate at Wookey Hole Road, Wells. Does Pass Plus which is a motorway lesson for £75. Could fit in next week. Uses an answerphone when out of the office.

RATING - 3/4

Company 4
16 rings and no answer, no message machine

Company 5
This number is charged at a fixed at telephone rate. It is an Interweb design number. Calls from mobiles are charged at a higher rate. This number is not in use.

RATING - Minus 1

Company 6
After 8 rings he answered by saying "hello". He is now retired. Sounded `local'!

Company 7
9 rings - BT answer service. "Leave a message after the tone"

Company 8
8 rings - BT call minder

Company 7
5 rings - mobile voicemail. Had a sexy voice. So might call back

Company 10
Answerphone. Sounds like he is 100 years old!!

Company 11
7 rings. Picked up by a female with a VERY loud screaming child!! She said she was PA to all the drivers. She said "I'll have to get rid of the child - (shout) will someone take Kylie!!". Have 7 female and one male instructor. Most of the females are on maternity leave. Use Megane and Clios. £20/hour - 40 hours of lessons. First lesson is two hours - a `control' lesson. Do Pass Plus - you can get a grant for this. If you want a lady could fit you in next week but the man is the end of June. Sounded very uneducated - meow!


Company 12
Answerphone message - older man - very polite.

Company 13
Voicemail - 'Angela'

Amazing - who would you chose? If you were in a hurry, would you leave a message or just move on to the next company in the phone book and try them? So if you are looking to reduce the amount of business that you do when you are out:

a) don't have a message machine
b) if you do have a machine, make the message boring
c) if you use the family phone number, makse sure the family do not want to help you get business. Ideally make sure there are children in the background.
d) pick up the phone, but don't mention the company name or sound interested in taking the call
e) if you are in, and take the call, tell the caller you are busy and can't do the work until after a certain date
f) don't ever ask for the order!

Even in these "difficult times" trust The Order Prevention Department to be working a hard as it can.

Until next time...