Regular readers of this blog (and we now have nearly 20,000) will know that I recently ordered a new mobile phone from Tesco Mobile. The phone is free of charge, as part of a deal involving me signing up to a new 24 month contract.
Once the contract has been agreed, Tesco organise delivery through a well-known courier company called DPD. This should all be very straightforward, but as you have probably guessed, in the world of The Customer Service Blog, nothing ever seems to go quite as planned!
You know the drill by now.
You phone the company. You discuss your requirements. They offer you a deal. You try to negotiate something better. Eventually you come to an agreement. You then place your order. They tell you who will be delivering the item. And then you wait to hear the delivery date.
And in my case, a few days later I received a text and email from DPD giving the delivery date and approximate time. Plus they give you three alternative options for delivery: arrange a different date/time OR delivery to a neighbour OR collection from their depot or a local shop.
But the date/time they offered me wasn't convenient, so I clicked the button on their website to choose a different delivery option.
Up pops two choices: you can either change the date/time of delivery, or you can nominate a neighbour to receive the parcel.
But neither of these options are convenient for me. What I really want to do is go to a local shop to collect the item (as their website says I can do). But where is the button on the website to choose this option? It's not there.
Maybe there is a problem with their website? Maybe it is because I'm using an old version of Android to access their website? Who knows?
After half an hour wasted messing around on the DPD website, I decide to try their site using a different computer, running Windows.
But no difference. Still the DPD website only gives me two buttons to click (either change date OR deliver to a neighbour).
Where is that elusive third button that I need to click in order to collect my parcel from a local store? It clearly states on their website that I can do this - and it even tells me the nearest store I can go to, with a helpful map of how to get there!
Never mind, I decided to phone DPD instead.
Erm... at least, that was the idea. But their phone number is absolutely nowhere to be found on their website. After another 30 minutes wasted trying to find the customer service phone number, I decided to do what all sensible people do. I used Google.
Google brings up a customer service number for DPD which I called. And you guessed it. I got a recorded message telling me to: "press 1 to change your delivery date or press 2 to have your parcel delivered to a neighbour."
By this point I am tearing out what is left of my greying hair.
But there is a clever trick to get round this. When you get stuck in 'recorded message hell' all you need to do is repeatedly press the hash button numerous times on your phone. This mysteriously then transfers you to a (...shock...horror...) HUMAN BEING who can help to solve your problem.
After pressing the hash button about 30 times, I heard a real voice of a real person. She was called Jennifer, and she kindly informed me that the reason that I was only being presented with two options on their website, is because, in the case of mobile phones, DPD don't offer the option of collection from store.
With all other deliveries from DPD you get this third option. But not with mobile phones.
So I had wasted over an hour of my life. My stress levels had shot up. My hair was now even thinner than before. And I had developed a pathological hatred of DPD.
Yet the solution to all of this was SO SIMPLE.
All that DPD needed to do was put the following sentence in their email to me:
"Please note that we don't offer the option of store collection in the case of mobile phones."
Now why didn't anyone in their customer service department think of this?