29 April 2006

Nothing but ...inconsistent customer service

In the last week I've experienced some very varied customer service.

Australia Post h
ave been running a campaign "Nothing But Savings", with a brochure delivered to both my home (despite a "no junk mail" sign on the letter box) and my PO box (I don't know if it's possible to block junk mail to PO boxes), which offered, among other things, Olympus xD picture cards at a good price.

I went to Norwood PO and asked for one, only to be told "we don't have them, you'll have to go to a larger outlet". The counter clerk suggested that I should try in the CBD but otherwise made no effort to ascertain which, if any, other POs had the item available.

Next stop the CBD where, after a long wait in the queue at the City Cross PO, I was told by the clerk who served me that they had had none of the memory cards left. She did however take the trouble to locate some other POs which did have stocks (and this apparently required her to make phone calls rather than to consult an online database).

The contrast between the standards of service at the two outlets was amazing. What, if any, records does Australia Post keep of the stock at its outlets and what minimum standards of customer service does it expect from its staff?

The brochure did state "Not all products available in all outlets, limited stock, while stocks last" and invited people to visit the website www.auspost.com.au, but the website has nothing about the promotion let alone about which outlets hold stock of which items.

All this contrasted with my dealings with Dick Smith Electronics, who maintain a detailed database on their excellent website. From this you can obtain information about products, locate which stores have them in stock and how to order items online if that's your preference . Unlike Australia Post the standard of customer service is of a uniform high standard (if they don't have an item in stock they'll usually be able to get it for you), which gives me confidence to make them my first port of call for my electronic needs.

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