Customer Service Olympics

Once upon a time companies could afford to be rude. Unhappy customers would grumble to a few friends, withdraw their custom, but there was little else they could do. Today, they still tell their friends, but they do it online, using social media websites like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. … These days one witty Tweet, one clever blog post, one devastating video – forwarded to hundreds of friends at the click of a mouse – can snowball and kill a product or damage a company’s share price.
Source: BBC website

Here’s my contribution.

Over the weekend, I had customer service problems with three different companies. I entered them all into my own personal Customer Service Olympics to see who would come up the winner. Up first is PayPal.


PayPalPayPal has long been a nightmare for me. To the point where I don’t buy from a company if PayPal is the only method of payment. For various reasons, I’m going to have to get over it.

At the end of last week, I tried to set up a PayPal account. I couldn’t, but I could reactivate my old account which I’d been led to believe had been deleted. Never mind. The bigger problem is that I can’t login. My password isn’t recognised. The only way I can login is to pretend I’ve forgotten it, and go through the whole ‘reset your password’ rigmarole. The almost funny part of this is that it when I try to set the new one, it tells me I can’t make the new password the same as the existing one. The upshot of all this is that I sent an email to PayPal customer services explaining the problem, and asking for help.


Pharmacy2U Next up is Pharmacy2U, an online pharmacy. I placed an order with these guys around three weeks ago. Nothing has arrived. I checked on the website, and it looked like the order hadn’t even been despatched. So I sent them an email asking what was going on.


Woolovers And finally, Woolovers, an online retailer of woolly jumpers. I recently bought a jumper from them, and I love it. So much so, I decided to place another order. However, I needed to change my delivery address. Couldn’t do it. No matter which way I tried, I couldn’t get their system to recognise the new address. So I abandoned the order, and sent them an email explaining the problem.

The Customer Service Olympics 2010

Monday morning, I was standing by the finishing line waiting to see who would be the first to respond. And the winner was…

Gold MedalWoolovers. I had a reply from them around 10am. Their system had detected my abandoned order. They apologised for the inconvenience which, they explained, was due to technical problems on their server. They asked me to please try again, and gave me a £5 off code to encourage me to do so.  I did try again. This time the order worked with no problems. Great customer service. Deserving winners of the gold medal.

Silver Medal The silver medal goes to Pharmacy2U. They replied on Monday afternoon. It seems they had sent me an email to say that one of the items I’d ordered wouldn’t be in stock until the end of November. I didn’t receive it, but I do believe they sent it.

All the same, no £5 off, no incentive to persist despite their difficulties. So I cancelled the order.

Bronze Medal That leaves the bronze medal for PayPal. Although seeing as it is now Tuesday morning, and I still haven’t heard a peep from them, I don’t think they deserve a medal at all. Probably more like a DNF. Did Not Finish.