Good guys . . .
I buy an English/French dictionary which is so enormous I can’t pick it up. Plus we can’t take it to French class as it might look like we’re showing off. (Qui? Nous?). So I print off the returns form, which says they’ll refund postage of £2.97. Except postage is £7.62. I send an email pointing this out, and within 30 minutes they email back saying just scan in the receipt and email it. An hour later it’s credited to my bank account, as is the total refund for the book. AND I get a credit note.
Bad guys . . .
Hmmm. . . This post has been on the starting block for ages. So many bad guys – Vodafone, Orange, John Lewis. John Lewis? Another broken plate saga, which makes me fel tired just thinking about it. It makes me tired just thinking about all the examples of dismal service and miserable incompetence, so may be another post on another day.

I buy a beautiful blue Denby bowl online. It has a crack in the glaze so I call to tell them. They answer the ‘phone quickly – no music, no button pushing (well, not so you’d notice) – and the person on the other end doesn’t sound like he spends his entire life sticking pins in effigies of customers. They’ll send me a new one immediately. But I’ve ditched the packaging, so can’t send the damaged one back. “Don’t worry. We don’t need it. We trust you.”

Have they been on a customer care course? I doubt it – you can’t fake good service, no matter what the training consultants who charge £10,000 an hour tell you. Within a day of reporting a bad, but not serious, leak outside the gate there’s a man inspecting the damage and marking the area with a bit of blue chalk . And – it’s a Sunday. Next morning the leak’s repaired and the reinstatement team are promised before the end of the week. Neat job, smart uniforms, and smiles all round. Who says public service is dead? All right so it’s a private company, but the ethos survives.


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