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new glasses - the saga continues..

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So, I thought, seeing as it's been some 20 days since my last attempt to buy new glasses, I'll phone the opticians and see what's what. What, it turns out, is that they didn't bother actually placing the order two weeks ago. That's right. They didn't place the order with Oakley, so of course my glasses aren't ready, because nobody had been asked to make them.

I was briefly speechless. Then I was very much speechful. There were questions, both rhetorical and otherwise, and there was shouting. Then there was a 50% refund. Some guy claiming to be the store manager said that they couldn't do that, but I really wasn't in the mood for people telling me what I could and couldn't do. I know for a fact that their PDQ machines can do refunds without customer present, so I made them do it while I was on the phone - seeing as I can't trust them to do anything when I'm not on the phone.

I have cost Vision Express well over a thousand pounds in the last three months. They don't make anything on the Oakleys anyway, and I'm now on my third pair. To be fair, if they hadn't screwed up so much, I'd have gone away happy and in focus - by the middle of august.

Good customer service isn't hard. It really isn't. I know. I've done it. What bothers me is, how come so few companies manage it? Howies, Smile, Wilkinsons (my local tea shop), Jarrolds, er, that's it. Even basic competency is almost too much to expect these days.

I must admit, I rather like this photo though.
24th Oct 2007, 14:45   | tags:

goode says:

yes neat photo!

24th Oct 2007, 14:49

nige says:

photo, good. vision express, not-so-good.

24th Oct 2007, 14:53

Hotdog says:

I've just come back from Specsavers £260 for 2 sets

24th Oct 2007, 14:58

rhys says:

You're not having much luck with Vision Express are you?

Amazon cocked up my order>twice>, but I can live without a book, glasses is more frustrating.

24th Oct 2007, 15:05

Kostika says:

Kill them. Kill them good with a heavy cricket bat.

I really really really HATE high street opticians.

24th Oct 2007, 15:07

parabolichobo says:

whatever the shortcomings of Vision Express (and there are many) that's no need to go singing the praises of Specsavers, now is it?

24th Oct 2007, 15:07

mat says:

I'm a spectacular snob, I want the best I can get for my vision, and Oakley optics are peerless (well, apart from the £600 Nikon lenses I saw somewhere). I'm sure specsavers could deliver faster, but I've used them in the past and they aren't as good as Oakley (who are pretty much only stocked by Vision Express)

Once I've applied my 50% "cockup" discount, I've just got two pairs (one Oakley rimless, one sunglasses) from Vision Express for £220

24th Oct 2007, 15:07

rhys says:>You can’t beat Oakley glasses/sunglasses, good choice

24th Oct 2007, 15:10

parabolichobo says:

I bought some cycling shades from an online supplier which had an optical insert for prescription lenses. I got the inserts done at specsaver, then the glasses literally fell apart, so I sent them back. The cheeky bastards offered me a partial refund as, by having lenses put in them, I had "customised" them. It took three days of telephone arguments (my point was that the customisation was irrelevant as a) I needed to have it done to see if the specs were any good and b) the specs had fallen apart independently of any such "customisation") - in the end the manager gave me a full refund just to stop me shouting at him.

24th Oct 2007, 15:12

mat says:

The guy who gave me the refund wasn't the manager in the end, he was a floor drone. He did say that if there were any repercussions from him breaking policy (refunds should be done with customer present), he'd suffer those. I insisted if there were any repurcussions, he put them onto me, and I'll explain to his boss how the guy shouldn't be getting in trouble for doing his job right. Anyone gets in trouble, it's the idiot who didn't place that order, not the person fixing it.

Customer service has two rules, according to the Richer Sounds training manual:

1. customer is always right
2. if customer is wrong, refer to rule one.

All that means is you do whatever the hell it takes to get that customer out the door happy. At no point do you say "can't do that, policy says no", or any crap like that. If you (as the company or as an individual) screwed up, you fix it, whatever it takes. Doesn't matter if it costs the shop money, because you send that customer home happy, she'll come back. She'll also tell her friends about the good service she got, and they'll come to the shop too.

Dead. Fucking. Simple.

24th Oct 2007, 15:19

OJ says:

Gah! I agree with Kostika, High St optician chains seem to be uniquely imbecilic.

Well, I say uniquely but that's not quite true. Perhaps "on a par with mobile phone companies for crap customer service" is more accurate.

24th Oct 2007, 16:19

afternoon says:

Good customer service is incredibly hard actually. Most people are basically self-serving and that includes the kind of people that get hired in shop jobs.

24th Oct 2007, 16:58

Jane Doe says:

Oh dear. Have been following the Saga. Saw the thumbnail and thought "At last!" And then read the text : (
Great pic, though

24th Oct 2007, 19:52

jetblacknewmoblog says:

gotta say Mat, didn't realise Nikon have branched into the spectacle lens market! Also i thoroughly enjoy your reports on these occurrences but for some reason they always seem to happen to you?!? i might try hounding after an oakley pair from vision express in the hope of them fucking it up so i can get a 50% discount! sure beats cecil c amey!

25th Oct 2007, 09:47

mat says:

JBNM - That posh opticians at the bottom on Timber Hill, the place that used to be a hairdressers - they have Nikon lenses, but damn they cost.

Noon - that's easy to get around with good management. you make it in people's interests to do a good job. All it takes is "you handled that asshole customer from hell very well, here's a tenner from the till, buy yourself a nice lunch and take your time over it" or similar, but that kind of thing tends not to be allowed by Higher Management, because they are often idiots who know nothing about managing people. I'm serious about it being easy, I did do the whole Richer Sounds training thing, and service is one of the things my Dad does training in (albeit at a somewhat higher level than retail, but the principles are the same).

25th Oct 2007, 10:32

seaneeboy says:

I'd definately add Richer Sounds to the list of "Good customer service" and Currys to the list of "Unholy bastards of the highest/lowest degree"

As for vision express - how very SHORT SIGTED OF THEM HAHA HA HA ha h.... oh suit yourselves.

25th Oct 2007, 11:05

hildegard says:

Can I add a paen to Calumet's customer service, since this is a site concerned with photos? Their customer service is outstanding & unlike stores aimed at the enthusiast, they seem to have grasped that the fact that a uterus is not a significant impediment to using a viewfinder.
The major difference with Calumet is that they're a pro shop so when you first buy something, they open an account for you - they assume you're coming back, they want you back; selling you something is the beginning of their relationship with you, not the moment at which they lose all interest in you.
A very refreshing change.

You're not alone with your optician trouble - well they're just inadequately regulated & utterly crap. I've twice had glasses made up to entirely the wrong scrips from two well-thought of private opticians, an eye exam so inadequate at D&A; that I refused to accept their prescription & an episode with Vision Express where they simply never bothered to order my specs. Not at all sure how I find a competent optician.

25th Oct 2007, 11:19

mat says:

To be fair to Vision Express, they only really screwed up (ie, through human error) the first prescription. The next two were done with great care by skilled opticians but were, for some reason neither myself nor two opticians could fathom, just Not Right. I even had known-accurate objective tests done under cycloplegia, and they came out with very similar results (which were, also, somehow Not Right). Even on my old, perfectly good, prescription, I still have better than 6/6 vision, so it's not like I'm losing out on anything.

The Vision Express guy did offer to refer me to an ophthalmic specialist at the hospital, which I was tempted to do, but I thought that as I was only tempted through curiosity, I'd better not waste NHS resources.

25th Oct 2007, 11:26

jesson says:

If it makes you feel any better, I've have similar trouble in Aus. The idiot in charge of the shop (bloke) sent the junior (girl aged about 18) around to my house (after stuffing up the order) to shove the glasses (unfitted) into my hands and then drove off into a terrible thunderstorm. He put her at enormous risk and wondered why I nearly had an apoplectic fit at him for doing such a stupid, selfish thing to her. As it also turned out the script was wrong and had taken 4 weeks to have made up.... the story goes on but I won't bore you with it. Moral to the story....There's alway one idiot everywhere you go. Some of us just seem to have the knack of finding them every time!

26th Oct 2007, 08:16