Two weeks and this?

15 07 2011

Finally, I receive a response from the Dixons Group on my complaint but it really isn’t what I would expect. Sorry Michael Hibbard, it is time for your name to be named as your customer service is appalling. This is the response, compare it against what I asked for in my original mail and tell me what you think…

Dear Mr Dyson,

Thank you for your email dated 25th June 2011 addressed to John Browett, Chief Executive of DSG Retail Limited.  As reported in my telephone call, I have been authorised to investigate and reply on his behalf.

I am very concerned to learn of the problems that you have encountered with the delivery and install service and I do understand the inconvenience and frustration caused.  Your comments relating to the delivery team and the service you received have been noted and I can confirm that this has been forwarded to the Area Manager.  The matter has been investigated internally and steps have been taken to ensure that this type of incident does not happen again and that other customers are not met with the same experience.  We strive to offer the very best of customer service, so it is very disappointing to hear when this has not been the case.

The refund of your time to suit delivery charge has now been arranged and should in your account shortly. As advised on our call the remainder of your claim has now been handed onto the insurers of the franchises who will be in touch in due course.

Yours sincerley,

Michael Hibbard

Customer Action Team

My own personal point of view is that this doesn’t respond effectively to any of the points and is grammatically incorrect (note the missing ‘be’ in the final paragraph, probably due to the rush Michael was in to send it before 5pm on a Friday). I phoned within 5 minutes of the receipt of the e-mail (4:39pm) and was told that Michael wouldn’t come to the phone as he was getting ready to go home. I asked to speak to a manager and they said they couldn’t speak either as they were ready to go home as as well. I then went through the entire structure up from Michael Hibbard to John Browett to understand who the people were that I could speak to and apparently everyone in Dixons Group go home at 5pm and couldn’t speak…. I am now expecting a call from Michael Hibbard’s line manager, Amanda Brightmore on Monday.

In the interim I have found that the direct report to John Browett, one Sebastian James is on twitter @dixonsops and I have pointed him toward this blog and asked him to comment on whether this is the service he would expect from his company. I wonder if he will take notice or just ignore it like the rest of his team seem to be doing?


This will never land on the desk of John Browett – a social media challenge?

14 07 2011

I’m unable to post a letter from the Dixons Group today as the entire interaction has been by telephone during which there was a challenge set down by one of the Executive Complaints team that I am sure some of the people I know would like to take up and prove wrong.

As I had heard nothing from my last e-mail I firstly contacted the representative from Knowhow delivery in Glasgow (who is very close to getting named on here). He told me that he had spoken to the company that had fitted my flooring and that they had decided it would be uneconomic to repair the floor and therefore he had agreed with his directors of an offer of £100 for me to accept instead of having the floor repaired – my response was immediate and conclusive – “this isn’t even in the ball park of what I was expecting and they needed to go away and think again”. He agreed he would go back to the Directors and the likelihood is it would be passed to insurers.

I had already been in contact with the flooring company to know what the replacement cost would be for my damaged floor and asked them if they could confirm if the Knowhow rep had been in touch and he confirmed that they had not. Not only is their delivery service poor but it would now seem that they are bare-faced liars when dealing with complaints!

I then decided to contact the Customer Services Team at Sheffield as they hadn’t acknowledged or responded to my earlier e-mail and the additional information I had now received escalated the complaint even more. (Here’s a tip I’m sure most people use but when calling to an IVR take the option for sales and I want to buy now – it’s amazing how quick they pick up the phone and then you can insist on getting put through to the customer services.) I was eventually put through to Michael in the Executive Complaints Team where I remonstrated that  had not received a response to second e-mail and indeed I was still waiting for the entire complaint to be answered and wanted to know what was happening.

He explained that there was a 14 day period for Franchisees to respond to complaints, which was the first he had mentioned of this although he tried to suggest that in our previous conversations that he had made this clear. I told him that the way the complaint is being handled where I am being forced to deal with two parts of the organisation was unsatisfactory and that I had used far too much time flitting between the two parts when my contract was with Currys and it should be them that do the running – this simple suggestion didn’t register with the Executive Complaint team as being right for the customer, but based on current form of Currys dire service it isn’t really surprising is it?

Whilst trying to get through Michael’s poor attitude I raised the three financial points that were raised in my original complaint. The first relating to the damage to the floor – Michael agreed to go away and speak to Knowhow franchisee and confirm when I would receive something from them – I’ll touch on this later. The second was relating to the fees I had paid for the service that I didn’t receive and that I had been assured on two occasions would be refunded – Michael form within the Executive Complaints team told me that whilst he could tell the accounts team to make a refund he had no control over them and therefore couldn’t agree a time when they would contact me to get my account details! I’m sorry but the art of complaint handling is to understand what has gone wrong and take personal responsibility to fix it – not act as a postbox and then absolve any responsibility! The third element related to compensation for me being inconvenienced on the delivery day and now the subsequent poor complaint handling that I had experienced – the previous call Michael had stated the maximum amount that would be paid is £250, however on the basis that I hadn’t any financial loss the maximum would be £50. I told him that this wasn’t enough on the basis of the hours I have spent in writing letters, waiting in for the Knowhow rep to arrive etc to which I was told (and Michael now deny’s this) that we (Dixons Group) do not give any value to your time! At this point I told Michael that he had better get some of these actions moving and that I could see things weren’t going to get resolved to my satisfaction so I asked who do I need to speak to in order to get this on the desk of John Browett. Michael retorted “this will never get on the desk of John Browett” hence the title of this blog and one I would like to put out a challenge to everyone in Social Media at the end of this post.

Ten minutes later, I had a call back from Michael who had spoken to the Knowhow rep and I was told that the contact with the flooring company hadn’t been by telephone but by e-mail and he could provide the e-mails (I have since spoken to the flooring company who have again confirmed this is not the case) – I shall be requesting copies of said e-mails in my next correspondence. The offer that was made by the rep was £100 offer of compensation and the floor repair passed to the insurance company which was clearly not the case when previously offered – I confirmed this twice with Michael that in respect of this part of the complaint the offer was now £100 compensation and a repair funded by the insurance company and he has confirmed this is the case. He then stated that he would then go to the accounts team and get the refund sorted.

10 minutes later I received a call from the most helpful gentleman so far, Matthew in the accounts team who efficiently took all the details required to make a refund for the fees, provided me with a reference for my refund, gave me his name and direct dial number and set a clear expectation of when the refund would be in my account – success! See it is possible to give good customer service in the Dixons Group – I think Matthew should run their training scheme!

Michael came back to me after the call and confirmed that the refund had now been processed and I would see it in my account shortly, I asked when the Knowhow team would contact me and I was told that I will get a call later tonight or tomorrow after them meeting with his Directors. I asked Michael for his direct dial number as my confidence level of receiving such a call was low on current form and I finally got a number for Dixons Complaints Team which for anyone else wanting to make a complaint is 0114 280 6051.

So it’s now a waiting game to see what happens with the Knowhow person and then the consolidated response including the compensation offer. Next update looks like Monday.

In the meantime I would love the Social Media gurus I know to see if we can get this whole complaint issue onto the desk of John Browett. The man who stated on only 5 days ago in an interview with the Daily Telegraph that the group is

“more humble after the recession”


“You have got to have the right price and you have to have the right products, but it is really about service and we have improved every single year for the last three years the quality of the service.”

If this is improved service from three years ago how bad was it previously!! – I really think it would be great to let John Browett to have a real life example of where his company isn’t doing what he thinks it is – and I am sure Social Media pressure is the way to do it.

The Saga Continues

12 07 2011

And so despite my complaints and home visits Currys still don’t seem to want to respond – they obviously aren’t reading this blog to see how poor their service is and how many people are reading what a terrible service they are providing.

Here is complaint number two going off to them;

I am now in the unfortunate position where I am having to write and complain about the way your organisation is dealing with my complaint. Your initial response when this was obviously top of Mr Browett’s concern was good – I had telephone contact within 48 hours and the following Sunday I was visited by your representative from Knowhow who informed me of swift action made against one of his members of staff and then took away an action to respond to my complaint concerning the damage to my flooring. I was told that this would result in him having a conversation with his Directors to agree a response to the damaged floor.

During the visit I also stated that there were elements of the complaint that related to the activity of the call centre (also branded Knowhow as I understand) and was told that they would be contacting me soon. I did receive a call from the call centre the next day who still seemed to be preoccupied with the actions of the delivery men and did not really acknowledge the short-comings of the service offered by them, however I was assured that a combined response would be issued and would involve an offer of compensation from your company. This was on Monday 4 July.

As I had not received a response by this Saturday I contacted the Knowhow representative by text message as I was away from my home asking for an update and I was advised that he was having another meeting with his Directors on Sunday evening and would provide a response to me by Monday.

At the time of typing this email (Tuesday evening) I have still not yet had the courtesy of either a telephone call or an email either apologising for the length of time that this has taken to resolve, nor have I had any response to this complaint. This is now totally unacceptable and needs to be fully resolved within 48 hours.

The full resolution would be for you to provide a full written response (I am quite happy to receive it by email) which answers the eight initial points raised in my original complaint and also follows up on the four requirements for resolution that I stated in my email. In addition, I think you can gather from this mail that I am frustrated by your complaints process firstly not responding in a time I consider reasonable, and secondly seems geared to responding on the basis of your organisational alignment as opposed to responding to the customer who has the contractual relationship with Currys – not with your various subsidiary companies. This chasing and writing additional mails has taken up my valuable time and should be compensated for.

I hope I do not have to send a further complaint concerning this to yourselves and that you can meet the requirements I have set out in both this email and my original email.

Richard Dyson

Pease feel free to RT this blog or post a link on Facebook.

Currys Complaint Update

3 07 2011

I’m one for being fair so I thought it was right for me to drop a little update following a visit by Knowhow’s Operations Manager in Cumbernauld. I’ve actually been quite impressed by the way the Scottish end of the operation has dealt with the complaint – I received a call on Monday evening from their Manager who arranged for the visit today and I have been kept informed throughout the week which is total contrast to the response I have seen from the call centre operation in Sheffield who are still to contact me.

So the response so far is that one of the delivery men has now been fired from the company, as my complaint was one of three on the same weekend and the other one is subject to a disciplinary process, although as I have told the Ops Manager today he was probably only guilty by association of the gentleman that has been fired. The Ops Manager has seen for himself the damage caused to the floor and is off to have a meeting with the Directors to decide if they are going to replace the floor or offer me a cash alternative if I am prepared to live with scratches.

I have asked for him to remind the Sheffield operation that there are still elements of the complaint that need to be resolved and that I would like a formal response that covers off all eight points.

Hopefully next week I can report the closure of the complaint and let you know the outcome. Keep tuned…

Dear Mr Browett, Your service is disgraceful

25 06 2011

Followers of my twitter stream will have seen that I had a particularly poor experience with Knowhow, the delivery service of Currys. I always think I write a good complaint letter, however, this one is one of my best! I have redacted names in fairness to the individuals but I hope you enjoy my prose. I’ll keep you updated on the response from Mr Browett in due course.

FAO John Browett
Chief Executive Officer
Via Currys Customer Services
PO Box 1684
S2 5YA

Dear Mr Browett,

Reference Number 7449xxxxxx

I am writing to complain concerning the disgraceful service that I have received from your delivery teams and your telephony customer service.

If you should care to review the order you will note it included a sum of £15.00 for “Laundry Install” and £26.00 for something laughingly called “Time to Suit Delivery Service”. I specifically requested the Time to Suit Delivery Service as I had plans to attend an event at mid-day which required a 30 minute travel time, this gave me plenty of time to both have the washing machine delivered and installed and attend the event I had planned. Unfortunately the planning of your logistics company is not as advanced as mine is.

At 11:02 I called the number on the knowhow track it page which was still stating that my order would be delivered between 09:00 and 10:59 – I took the options to talk to someone about my delivery and was only provided with a recorded message telling me that my order would be delivered between the above hours and did not allow me any break-out option to speak to an agent. Therefore Complaint Number One I would like you to respond to is “Why do you not provide an option to speak to an agent to respond to customer concerns on their delivery which they have paid an additional fee for?”. I therefore had to re-call (at additional cost) and didn’t take any options so that I guaranteed I could speak to someone (I do work in the call centre industry and know that this is the way around poorly designed IVR systems). I encountered an agent who firstly could not get the right order details, despite me clearly articulating the number, and I was forced to listen to his mutterings on why the system wasn’t doing what he expected it to. I was advised at this point that there had been a problem at the delivery centre and they were running late, I asked the obvious question as to why I had not been informed of this and I am still waiting for the answer, therefore Complaint Number Two is “Why do you not contact customers who have paid an additional fee for specific delivery times when you know that you are not going to meet these delivery times?” I explained that this had ruined my plans and I was not happy and asked what he would do to compensate me for this fact. I was advised that he would refund the fee for the delivery times to which I responded this was not good enough and I wanted additional compensation for the impact it has had on the res of my day. I was told that this was not possible so I asked to speak to a manager, xxxxx xxxxxxx. Mr xxxxxxx repeated the comments of the earlier agent and despite agreeing that the service was poor he confirmed he would only refund the fee for the service I had not received and wouldn’t consider any offer of compensation for the impact on my day. Therefore Complaint Number Three is “Why are your policies so rigid that you do not give either agents or managers the ability to compensate customers for obviously poor service?” During the call I received a call at 11:10 from the delivery driver advising me that they would be there in ten minutes – there was no hint of an apology to explain why they were late. For the remainder of the conversation with Mr xxxxxxx I advised that I felt entitled to additional compensation as I had not received the stated product of Time to Suit Delivery service and effectively I was only reverted back to the position of any other customer, Mr xxxxxxx told me that this was not the case as I was getting Free Delivery which is not available to other customers – I advised that delivery was free to customers only to be told by Mr xxxxxxx that he knew the products that were offered to the customer and I was wrong – the attached screen print taken from your website at 13:31 clearly shows that free delivery is available to all customers. Complaint Number Four “Why are your Call Centre managers insufficiently trained to be able to articulate the products that your company offers?” I obtained your contact details from Mr xxxxxx as it was clear that he had no intention of providing any customer service and waited for the delivery men to arrive.

At 11:23 the delivery men arrived (late against their promises of 13 minutes ago) and when they eventually got to my flat door complained that I was living so high up and that they weren’t fit enough to deliver bulky items like this. I had clearly stated on the order that it was a second floor flat and there was no lift. They eventually put the washing machine into my kitchen and then offered the machine for me to sign to accept delivery of the order. I refused and explained that I had paid for installation of the machine and was abruptly told “We don’t do fitting!”. Complaint Number Five is “Why does your order system not correctly transfer the details to your delivery system?” I offered the receipt for the order and showed that I had paid for delivery and was then told to wait whilst he contacted someone. Several minutes later he came back with his colleague and repeated that fitting wasn’t on their sheet but as I could show I had paid for it they would do it. The colleague started to unwrap the new machine from the wrapping in an abrupt manner, muttering loudly enough for me to hear “We haven’t got time for this!” In his temper the unwrapping process resulted in a mask obtained from Africa being knocked to the floor and three deep scratches being made into my wooden flooring (pictures are attached for evidence). Complaint Number Six “What are you going to do to make good the damage caused by your delivery men during the installation of the washing machine?”

Eventually the washing machine was fitted and the comment I received was, the instructions are in the bag, my understanding of the service offered as part of installation is “We’ll give you a demonstration of your new appliance and its settings” – Complaint Number Seven “Why do your delivery drivers not deliver the service that is described on your website?”. Finally when the old washing machine was taken away I was left with my hallway and kitchen covered in packing (again photographs attached). My final complaint is Complaint Number Eight “Why do your delivery drivers not leave the area they have delivered to in the same state as it was when they arrived?”

To recap therefore, my complaint has eight parts to it which I require you to specifically respond to each one in turn.

  1. Why do you not provide an option to speak to an agent to respond to customer concerns on their delivery which they have paid an additional fee for?
  2. Why do you not contact customers who have paid an additional fee for specific delivery times when you know that you are not going to meet these delivery times?
  3. Why are your policies so rigid that you do not give either agents or managers the ability to compensate customers for obviously poor service?
  4. Why are your Call Centre managers insufficiently trained to be able to articulate the products that your company offers?
  5. Why does your order system not correctly transfer the details to your delivery system?
  6. What are you going to do to make good the damage caused by your delivery men during the installation of the washing machine?
  7. Why do your delivery drivers not deliver the service that is described on your website?
  8. Why do your delivery drivers not leave the area they have delivered to in the same state as it was when they arrived?

I have no doubt that you will agree the standard of service here is, at best, poor. I am therefore requesting the following;

  1. Refund of the “Time to Suit” delivery charge.
  2. The cost of making good the damage caused to the wooden flooring.
  3. Compensation for the upset that has been caused by the poor service of your organisation.
  4. An apology addressing each of these concerns.

I do not think it is unreasonable to expect a response to this e-mail by Thursday 30 June 2011. If you believe this is unreasonable then I would appreciate a holding e-mail advising me when you will respond to the concerns stated.

Yours sincerely

Richard Dyson

A 2011 offer for 2012

1 01 2011

About this time last year, I made an offer to photograph people in the studio and they would get jpeg images that they could have printed. Unfortunately the take up wasn’t as great as I would have hoped. I’ll still leave this offer open for this year so contact me if you would like some portrait images taking, there are some examples on my website,

Image of Arthur's Seat at sunset on 1st January

Arthur's Seat

However, this year, I would like to make an offer to a worthy cause. For the past four years I have produced a calendar for my family and each year I think I am taking better and better photos. For this year, I would like to donate 13 images to a charity who would use them to produce a calendar of Scotland images. I intend to visit a different location each month and by the first weekend of December you can have the images to print into a calendar just in time for the Christmas period.

There is really no catch, I would just like my images to be put to a great cause that can help other people, all I would ask is that the calendar features a link to my website and has my name on the cover.

Please e-mail me on if you would like your charity to be the recipient of some marvellous images.

A flawed argument?

28 11 2010

This post is the first on this blog that isn’t related to photography but I thought it was worth sharing. Since Wednesday last week students throughout the country have been protesting against student fees introduced by the coalition government. Firstly I am going to position myself politically, in  my youth I voted conservative and then throughout my life I have moved slowly toward the left and now find it difficult to vote for any of the major parties so hopefully I am not going to be lambasted for being a tory now.

It appears to me that the argument that is being protested is that the change of fee charging where the overall amount required to be funded by a student is increasing, however, the payment of the fees won’t kick in until the student starts to earn £21,000 and then will be spread over a period of time.

I am guessing that the ideal world for the protesters would be that there were no fees, lecturers were paid well so that they were encouraged to teach and the facilities within the universities were top class. The economics of this are that the funding must come from somewhere and the only place that it is likely to come from is the tax payer.

So now lets roll forward four years to the graduation of today’s students. They will leave university and potentially be faced with earning less than £21,000. They will be at the lower end of the earnings structure however will be contributors to taxation – as will be the people who didn’t go to university and low earners. It is these people that will be funding the university education from the previous four years. The higher tax payers will also be paying for it, remember though, that if the benefit of university education is to be believed the good graduates will occupy the majority of people in this demographic and so would have been paying anyway. The logical conclusion therefore, is that the protest is going to lead to the taxation of the low paid – surely not the outcome that would be wanted?

I am all for the advancement of education but I would like to hear the alternative solution rather than simply protesting.