Customer Service According to News International

I really didn’t want to join the large queue of people knocking News International, but they really made it too difficult not to. At Daytona, we strive to offer exemplary customer service. We don’t always get it right but when we are advised there is a problem, our aim is to minimise and rectify it as quickly and painlessly as possible – and where appropriate we will make a suitable gesture to try to prove we care.

I was delighted to see the warm Spring sunshine this morning as I left the house but suddenly realised that I hadn’t had to step over the neatly bundled Sunday Times which was supposed to be on my front door step. Then I thought back and realised that I hadn’t had to step over it for a few weeks. In fact, the last time I received it was the last Sunday in January. The following Sunday was the big snow! I recall it well as snow days have a big impact on Daytona – as with newspaper delivery companies.

We had watched the weather closely during the week before so that we could maximise revenue and minimise the interruptions to our customers’ events. With considerable snow very likely over Saturday night, we took the decision to cancel all events from Sunday morning on Friday afternoon. This allowed us time to contact all of our customers who had events booked on Sunday and warn them that their events would need to be postponed. Being British, everyone understood that there was nothing we could do about the weather and was happy to re-arrange their event for a week or two later.

Which brings me back to the Sunday Times and their management of the snow, the next three Sundays and today’s call. I called them this morning to ask them where my newspapers were. I hadn’t planned what I was expecting to get out of the call, but I suppose that my expected outcome would be an apology for the failure to deliver and an apology for their failure to refund the failed snow day delivery and a refund for the missing papers.

Instead what I received was the following dialogue:

Me: “Hello, I would like to know why I haven’t received my Sunday Times for the last four weeks?”
Them: “I am sorry, we have a system glitch at present and won’t be able to help with that. You can call back later when we will be able to help.”
Me: “Could you take the details and call me back with the answer when your systems are up?”
Them: “No. We can’t take any details”
Me: “I have phoned to complain that I haven’t received my newspaper for four Sundays and you are unable or unprepared to take my details so that you can deal with the complaint?”
Them: “Correct.”
Me: “OK. Can you simply take my name and number and call me back when your glitch is fixed?”
Them” “No. Sorry”
Me: “OK, can I cancel my subscription please?”
Them: “Sure, let me put me straight through…”

So to recap, The Sunday Times have failed to actually deliver The Sunday Times for four sundays in a row; The Sunday Times cannot help me with investigating their failure; The Sunday Times cannot call me back and the Sunday Times cannot take my details and investigate my complaint. But the Sunday Times can put me through to their cancellations department immediately – and I can confirm that the cancellations department were very efficient and cancelled my subscription and requested a refund to cover the missing four weeks.

Having recently joined the ever-growing band of people who email and call companies’ Chief Executive Officers’ offices when I have a problem with a company – which worked a treat with Orange and BT – I did consider trying to contact Rupert Murdoch’s Office but I reckon he is probably busy enough dealing with his Sunday Sun launch, the Police investigations into his journalists’ activities and his son’s repeat visits to the House of Commons committee rooms.

I do hope that we handle complaints and problems better than that. I believe we do as I am copied in to all of them. I hope I am right and that we handle the complaint and the cause of the complaint better than we deal with helping a customer leave us to never return.

Jim Graham
Team Daytona


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