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Astounding Customer Service - Karen's Musings
Random Rambling
Astounding Customer Service
In the past month, I've been shocked several times at the extraordinary level of customer service that I've gotten each time I've interacted with an office in the UK. When I emailed asking for advice about how an overseas pharmacist obtains credentials to work in the UK, I had a response to my email 6 hours later with precisely the information I was looking for.

On Monday, I emailed the General Registration Office (GRO) of Scotland asking how to obtain a copy of my birth certificate. I had a response in my inbox the following morning when I woke up pointing me to the specific page on their website which explained their services and fees and also giving me the phone number to call to make it happen.

This morning, I called the GRO at the number provided and spoke with a perfectly lovely gentleman who was "happy to help". He was quick, efficient, and pleasant. He didn't sound annoyed when I asked him to repeat himself (I didn't have the world's best connection, plus he had a very thick accent... or maybe it was me with the thick accent, I'm not sure anymore). He collected my information and told me that my two copies of my birth certificate would be in the post within 5-10 business days (giving me the option of expedited service which would get them in the post tomorrow). My request was fully processed within 5 minutes of dialing the number.

I'm not saying I don't ever get good customer service in the US. And admittedly my US experience is much broader so I have a more valid sample size. But I just can't get over how gosh-darned cheerful and helpful everyone seems to be on that side of the pond...
11 comments or Leave a comment
magid From: magid Date: June 15th, 2006 03:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm so glad you've gotten good service, especially because a friend who's just moved there last year has had a lot of lousy bureaucratic/paperwork woes.
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: June 21st, 2006 10:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
Interesting. Well I suppose you can't win them all. So far, great service. My birth certificate arrived today. less than a week after I called.
arosoff From: arosoff Date: June 15th, 2006 07:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
*laughs hysterically*
Oh wait, you called Scotland, not the pit of doom that is London. And actually, government service is often not bad here, aside from Lunar House (home of the Immigration and Nationality Directorate). And even IND is better than USCIS. Of course, they charge £££ for the privilege (permanent residency visa is £500). Oh, and the DVLA. I had to go to the office to apply for a driving licence (non-citizens can't get their documents verified at the Post Office). Had to get there before it opened. Woman looked over my application and passport and accepted it. 2 weeks later, letter from the DVLA: "Your passport does not contain the correct immigration stamps; can you please resubmit your application with your previous passport enclosed?"

It's the everyday service here that's lacking. Like the time HMV tried to refuse a return on brand-new boxed DVDs, with receipt, that had been purchased the previous day. Or when Neil went to a Little Chef and was told "we're out of omelettes". (They had eggs. They'd give him eggs fried or scrambled. But no omelettes.) Or slack-jawed sales assistants in shops who are completely incompetent (Neil loves shopping in America).

So basically, less Patty and Selma here; fewer good waiters.
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: June 21st, 2006 10:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
oy. that's frustrating. Having worked for INS/CIS here in the States, it's hard to imagine much worse, so I'm glad to hear it's not QUITE that bad. I wouldn't have to deal with IND, but of course, Seth would.
debsters1101 From: debsters1101 Date: June 15th, 2006 08:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
HA! I don't know about England and Scotland, but ever try to do business in Israel? Oy vey.
also I would tend to think that people are nicer in Scotland because they are not arrogant and impatient like all us Americans are. But of course I have no idea, having never come into contact with anyone Scottish. It's just thw way I picture them. calm.
mindycl From: mindycl Date: June 16th, 2006 01:49 am (UTC) (Link)
lucky duck! the bureaucracy in the USA is abysmal!
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: June 21st, 2006 10:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's pretty bad there too. I've just lucked out recently.
mysticchyna From: mysticchyna Date: June 19th, 2006 06:46 am (UTC) (Link)
most other nations have better manners than those here anyway.
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: June 21st, 2006 10:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
except france.
cleobatya From: cleobatya Date: June 20th, 2006 06:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
are you considering moving?!!!1111
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: June 21st, 2006 10:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
it's our new ten year plan.
11 comments or Leave a comment