Friday, February 01, 2008

The Perfect Example


This opening a bookshop thing seems to be taking forever. You may be wondering what the heckin flip we're doing. Well today pretty much sums up the kind of thing we've been trying to deal with since the beginning.
Cast your minds back (or scroll down) to just yesterday, when I said that there's a fax that'll be sent to our solicitors in the next 48 hours. OK, we were given that information on Wednesday, but I was hedging my bets. The whole story is that on Monday our solicitor faxed this document to these people for approval. They also asked for £100 as an admin charge (don't ask), which he sent at the same time. When Tim phoned them up on Wednesday he was told that the cheque had arrived and that 'the approval would be faxed back within 48 hours'.
OK, it's Friday now, and so 48 hours has passed. Tim called our solicitor (who was ill), and his secretary told him no fax had arrived. So Tim calls these people to find out where it is.
'Oh, we haven't sent it yet,
'why, pray tell' asked Tim
'well we haven't had the £100 yet. You see you have to pay an adm..'
'I don't know why you were told that,

so after speaking to supervisors etc, Tim then had to call our solicitor again to find out if there was any reference for the cheque. Two messages and 2 hours later he finally managed to get the cheque number.
He is now on the phone to these people again, trying to find out what's going on.
Before you ask, Tim did take someone's name on Wednesday, but they aren't there, of course.
Have a look at this wall

Now imagine two hairy, tired and frustrated people in North london banging their heads against it.

It's no real surprise. It's by no means the first time this has happened, but I just thought you'd like a small taster of the kind of things we're having to deal with.
Oh yeah, this approval was originally requested over 50 days ago.

It's Friday though and the sun is shining. So what the hey....


In my youth I was fond of a bit of a head-bang..... Not so much now.... I am on hold to a large ex-building Society as I type. I have spent most of today on hold. They have possibly the worst music-on-hold that I have ever heard. I know Simon has given you the outline of the phone conversations, but I thought you might like a little less detail.

(for the purposes of this piece, I shall refer to each phone call as a Head Bang)

Head Bang 1 Wednesday. On hold for 17mins 35secs. Cheque there? Yes. Documents released? No. Please release them. OK. Total phone 35mins

Head Bang 2 Friday Am. On hold 14mins 59secs. Documents released? No. Why not? Not paid for. Paid for on Wednesday!!! Not according to records, cheque number please. Total phone 45mins 8secs

Head Bang 3 Friday Am. (to solicitors' secretary) No hold time. Cheque No please. I will call you back. Total phone 5 mins plus change.

Head Bang 4 Friday Am, 20mins later. (to solicitors' secretary) No hold time. Cheque No please. She will call you back. Total phone 2 mins plus change.

Head Bang 5 Friday Am, 20mins later. (to solicitors' secretary) No hold time. Cheque No please. She's got your file now and will call you back. Total phone 3 mins plus change.

Head Bang 6 Friday Am, 5mins later. (from solicitors' secretary) No hold time (although I was tempted to humm a few bars to her) Cheque No. Thank you. Total phone who cares not my bill.

Head Bang 7 Friday Am, 1 min later. On hold 14mins 25secs. Hello, can you hear me?. Can't hear you, will terminate call. No! No! No! Dear god. What the.... Total call 14mins 55secs.

Head Bang 7 Friday Pm. On hold 12mins 15secs. Have cheque no, please release documents. Cheque no no good, sort code please. Are you taking the.... Total phone 30mins 45secs

Brief respite from head banging to receive advice and solace from Simon. Cheque no no good, unbelievable. need sort code. Have sort code. Really. Yes.

Head Bang 8 Friday Pm. On hold 25mins 9secs. Cheque no, sort code AND account no Cheque Cleared. Release documents? Yes. How long? five working days. FIVE WORKING DAYS!?!

Soon I will discuss in detail the meaning of Customer Service. Not now as I am beating myself over the head with the keyboard. hy76 g;GHQEg


Graeme Neill said...

I had a potential customer phone the Bookseller yesterday asking me why you hadn't opened the store yet and how excited she was about you guys opening. So the interest is still definitely there!

Erica said...

The excitement is now turning to a kind of nervous tension...I almost can't bear it on your behalf!

Alis said...

You poor guys - my blood pressure goes up in sympathy just from reading this as I have been having nerve-janglingly similar conversations with car insurers for the last fortnight and a half. WHY does nobody on the end of a phone ever a) do what they say they will b) take responsibility when things go wrong? I sometimes think that anybody on the end of a phone in a large organisation is either a mentalist or is having a total laugh at my expense a la the much-mourned Jeremy Beadle.

Akasha Savage said...

I'm with erica on's all so blooming frustrating!!

PS The back ground music seems a bit temperamental lately...don't know if its my end or yours!! :)

Barb McMahon said...

My head hurts just reading this!

It will get better. I truly believe it will get better.

Lindsay said...

Oh no! I'm so sorry guys, what a complete and utter nightmare. You need booze, lots of booze.

It's all going to fall into place though, very soon.

Regina said...

Can you tell us which solicitor you are using so that we don't touch them with a bargepole??

June said...

Sadly nothing much surprises me about parasites - sorry, solicitors .... When we moved house just over a year ago they transferred the funds for the house we had bought into the wrong bank account - did they tell us - did they heck ! We had to spend the night in a hotel instead of our new house. I can then imagine your frustration. When I get like that I get one rubber baseball bat and bash it repeatedly against the settee - it's a lot less painful that the brick wall that seems to be your solicitor ...

Sarah-Lucy said...

Get yourselves lots of bubble-wrap. The larger holed kind the better (makes more noise). Take it in turns to push each other over it on wheelie-desk-chairs. You won't feel that much better but its kind of frustration-stress relieving and lots of fun
get yourselves boxing gloves and a punchbag with your solicitors / bank manager's face on it - feel's good, doesn't it?

Simon Key said...

Some wise words of advice from Lindsey, June and Sarah-Lucy. WE could perhaps find a way of combining all 3.
To be fair, our solicitor has really upped his game recently, despite not being there much last week!
Akasha, I've taken the music off, but if I get enough requests i'll bring it back again.

Sarah-Lucy said...

Bring back the music!