Customer service: the good and the bad

With a stack of watch type batteries needing replacement I headed over to the first online purveyor that Google threw up: Battery Force. (Yes – I know they paid Google to be at the top of the list but that doesn’t make them bad people – just good at marketing!) As promised the batteries were dispatched by four o’clock on the next working day and duly arrived in the post the next morning. The packet may have been small (it fitted through the letter box which is always a bonus) but they managed to squeeze in a discount voucher for my next purchase and a Belgian chocolate!

Contrast this with my experience renewing our home and contents insurance. (Christine setting fire to a bowl of cous-cous in the microwave was a good reminder that this needed doing!) A quick search on didn’t come up with anything vastly cheaper than the renewal quote Norwich Union Direct had given me. However, when I rang them up, I decided to mention a couple of changes including Emma joining the family. Despite the fact that none of this information actually would have appeared on the policy document they sent me, it push the price up £20 which was enough to get me looking elsewhere.

AIG Direct was top of the list. It was slightly odd that as soon as I went through the quote on their site I received an e-mail indicating they could do a better deal if I phoned them up! By the time I had decided to accept the quote their site was just returning assorted Windows 2000 Server errors (“A device attached to the system is not functioning.” and “The RPC server is too busy to complete this operation.”). Undaunted, I returned the following morning and completed the transaction. I received a phone call later that day to check that I knew that I hadn’t accepted the offer of legal protection. The really bizarre/annoying part was when they phone me again the following day to say that they could beat their original quote! The girl on the phone just apologised that I “obviously hadn’t made it through their system yet”. Would you let these people sponsor your football team?!

5 Responses to “Customer service: the good and the bad”

  1. Neil says:

    I have to ask — how do you set fire to cous-cous in a microwave? In terms of cooking errors that beats forgetting to put sugar in chocolate brownies by a long way.


  2. Dave says:

    Good question Neil! We suspect it was starting with boiling water rather than cold water…

  3. Neil Broderick says:

    given that Christine has a physics degree she at least should know that
    even boiling water doesn’t catch fire.


  4. Dave says:

    It does tend to evaporate more quickly than cold water though!

  5. Christine says:

    I didn’t see any flames but the blackened bowl and the smoke-filled house suggest that there were flames at some point.

    I usually “cook” couscous by soaking it in boiling water and hadn’t thought you needed to microwave it but as I was making it for Emma for the first time thought I ought to follow the instructions on the side of the packet. These instructed me to microwave for 8 minutes so I turned on the microwave and left the room.

    The microwave is (or rather was) very old so it could be just as much to blame as me.

    You’ll be pleased to hear that when the smoke had cleared Emma had a delicious dinner of Moroccan mince with mint couscous, which she loved. I just soaked the couscous the second time round.