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Monday, 17 February 2014
The Long Tall Sally issue was resolved remarkably quickly. A lovely CS rep agreed that it wasn't good enough to leave me waiting 4 weeks before informing me something was out of stock so I got a more expensive item for the same price and had a refund of my delivery charges which I was very happy about.
Southern Railway unfortunately have still not responded. I have chased them up today to limited success. But I shall keep blogging about them until they rectify the situation that left me embarrassed and out of pocket.
In the meantime the news last week that the NHS has drafted in Sir Stuart Rose to help with customer service is music to my ears. I have long wanted to write about the woeful customer service that I have experienced in the NHS and now at last I feel I can.
Imagine this scenario.
You have decided to take advantage of one of THOSE sales, you know the ones I mean, that start at 8am Boxing Day and definitely end some time on a Monday. You've driven to the retail park, found a parking space, (persuaded the husband that you really need a new sofa/bed/dining room table), entered the store and found an assistant. You've chosen the furniture you want and it comes to sign the deal.
But instead of signing the deal there and then, the sales person disappears and comes back a few moments later and says that you can't sign the deal until Wednesday.
Do you accept that? No, why would you. You are there to make a purchase and want to make a purchase there and then.
Why, then do we accept this from the NHS?
My previous admission to hospital and subsequent transfer to Royal Surrey was, I was told, an emergency. Why then having been transferred on Friday did I have to wait until Wednesday to get any kind of treatment or test? Then having had the treatment and tests was I told that there was nothing they could do this time and left sobbing on my bed with no one (nursing staff etc) knowing that the Dr had even been in to see me.
Imagine another scenario.
You have £50,000 to invest (yeah, wishful thinking, I know). You call the bank/financial advisor to make an appointment to see them and discuss this. Rather than offering you a specific appointment they tell you that the only way that you can see someone is if you arrive at 9am on Tuesday morning and wait until they are free. This means that you might be seen at 9.15am or you might wait in the waiting room until 4,15pm. Do you accept this? Of course not, you call another company that offers appointments.
But as an inpatient in hospital this is precisely the scenario you face day after day. You see someone who says you are going to have an endoscopy, or a CT scan or some other procedure. But no one can tell you what time it will be. Frequently I have found myself being taken for procedures during visiting hours. This leaves me wondering whether my visitors will turn up and then leave or what they will be told. Some procedures mean that you don't get taken straight back to the ward so you might miss your only bit of normal life due to the inability of the NHS to schedule,
Now, I know there are emergencies and these take precedent. But what about the patients. These people are in hospital and are at their most vulnerable and there is no thought given to treating them like human beings. Because you are an inpatient you feel like you are not an equal member of society.
I was transferred to Royal Surrey as an emergency, yet it wasn't to much of an emergency as I wasn't given any kind of treatments or tests until Wednesday. 5 days of waiting.
This wouldn't be acceptable anywhere else, why is it acceptable in the NHS?
Why can the NHS not give people times for appointments as inpatients to ensure they don't miss out on seeing their loved ones, who may have travelled a considerable distance to see them.
I could go on and on. I could tell you about the fiasco of dealing with multiple NHS trusts with different rules and procedures who can't communicate with each other. The contradictons and excuses given.
What it comes down to though is that because the NHS doesn't have shareholders and profits, it isn't accountable in quite the same way as a business and so the 'customer' will never be the focus of the organisation in quite the same way. This is the real problem with customer service in this country.
Sunday, 9 February 2014
Thursday, 6 February 2014
|We appreciate you taking the time to contact us. Thank you for your email. Unfortunately it is taking us longer than usual to respond following a much higher volume of contacts than usual. We anticipate responding to your email within 10-14 days based on our current volumes and we are working hard to reduce our backlog. If the matter is urgent please call us on 08451 272920 or tweet @southernrailuk or @gatwickexpress. Please note that if you have sent us a Delay Repay claim, our team will aim to respond within 28 days.|
Southern Customer Services
How ironic, despite having tweeted them at least 4 times, they do not appear to be able to respond at all. So I'll keep you updated on whether Southern Railway actually train their staff on their products and care about the impact one person tweeting and blogging about them can have.
While I'm on the subject of customer service, I'm having serious thoughts about whether I order anything else from Long Tall Sally. At the beginning of January I ordered a few items that were in the sale to compliment my very small wardrobe of clothes that fit. Everything I ordered was in stock at the time, so I was expecting one lovely parcel to arrive.
It didn't really work like that, and soon three of the items I ordered had arrived. I was just thinking I would need to chase them for the fourth item when all my hospital dramas of the last two weeks occurred.
Once I got home I contacted them querying the status of the order as it had taken so long to fulfill. I received several contacts from them assuring me that they were trying to source the item, and apologising for the delays.
I was ever hopeful that I would soon receive the item in question, today I learnt that this is not going to be the case. The item is now no longer in stock.
I have fired off a very cross email to them containing some emotional blackmail regarding aggressive cancer, very young children looking forward to seeing mummy in a onsie too etc etc. I shall keep you updated on the progress of this too.
I know I seem grabby and demanding, but as a consumer if something is in stock when ordered you do not expect to receive an email a month later informing you it is now out of stock.