Oh, they all yack on about it these days, don’t they, with their wretched mission statements and quality assurances: ‘every customer is special’, ‘we strive to give you the best product’, ‘excellence is our watchword’, yada yada yada. So why are so many companies so utterly, utterly RUBBISH when it comes to delivering the goods?
Example: last month, in response to yet another cold-call from a company who’s replaced several of our windows, (and with whom we’re pretty satisfied, apart from their annoying habit of cold-calling to pester for more work), we decided to treat ourselves to a nice, new, higher security, energy-efficient back door, and made an appointment for the salesman to call. It was no surprise when the phone rang on the scheduled evening and we were told he’d had a prang in his car/couldn’t come, so they were sending someone else – but he’d be arriving somewhat later than we’d arranged.
We took it philosophically – accidents happen, after all, and at least he wasn’t hurt. And the other guy duly turned up, was very pleasant, and we chose our door. ‘It MUST have a cat-flap’, I said. ‘Not a fancy collar-triggered one, (Henry Wowler doesn’t do collars), just an ordinary cat-flap. Can you fit one in the design we’ve picked?’. Oh yes, we were assured, no problem; so we went ahead, paid our deposit and made an appointment for the surveyor to come and measure up.
He did at least arrive on the day/at the time specified, but told me no – a cat-flap couldn’t be fitted in our chosen door. In fact they only make one design said flap could go in… and since it was pleasant enough for a back door, I changed the order and a few days later, got the paperwork through confirming our installation date for yesterday at 9 – 10 am. Sorted? Hah!
Again, it came as no surprise when the phone rang at 9 am. ‘The fitters have another couple of jobs to do first – they’ll be with you between 2 – 4 pm,’ I was told (to do a job which could take from 2 – 4 hours). Ah – so, a gaping hole in the kitchen as I’m trying to cook tea, a freezing cold house as Hubcap gets home at the end of his working week wanting to chill out, (as opposed to just chill), and Wowler wants his evening lap-time instead of having to cower under the bed away from the scary? I don’t think so! ‘It’s not convenient,’ I say. ‘We’ll have to reschedule.’ No problem – they can do us first thing this morning instead.
And, amazingly, at 9 am there’s a knock on the door. Hurrah! Feeling cheerful, I show them round the back – nice chaps. But… there’s an issue. No cat-flap – they’ve no rosewood finish in stock. ‘You can’t fit the door, then,’ I say through clenched teeth. ‘We can’t manage without it. And I don’t CARE about the colour. We just want a cat-flap. Not an electronic one, or an infra-red one, or one that guillotines interlopers – just an ordinary cat-flap like this.’ I kick Wowler’s little door.
They’re very good-humoured and apologetic, even though it’s not their fault. They’ll get the office to ring back on Monday and reschedule the appointment – a morning appointment – as soon as possible. Next week, hopefully. We should certainly have it by Christmas.
Ho hum. The saddest thing about this whole farce is that none of it surprises me. In fact, it’s exactly what Hubcap and I predicted would happen, based on our experience of the unmitigated crapness of modern companies. Like his bank, which took more than a year to add me as a signatory to his business account, and still can’t manage to send him a replacement chequebook (while we welter under tons of paying-in books he doesn’t yet need). Or the energy company which wanted the best part of a grand in advance to hook us up to mains gas, expected us to do our own surveying/tell them what equipment was needed, and couldn’t guarantee that they’d either a. turn up on the stipulated date or b. be able to carry out the work when/if they came. (Incidentally, the same energy company that repeatedly sent us someone else’s bills, which I repeatedly returned with explanatory letters/made repeated phone-calls about, then was threatened with court action for non-payment of someone else’s bills for a property we didn’t live at or own).
But I do get sick to the back teeth of it – and I simply can’t understand why so many modern firms seem incapable of getting the simplest thing right. It’s not the way my dad worked. It’s not the way my husband runs his business. What the heck has happened to the world? And will we (and Henry Wowler) ever get our new back door?