My ongoing battle with Hungarian customs and my now too regular ransom payments to get my packages out of post office jail continue. There appear to be various levels of angst that the terrible twins (Customs and PO) can create. Sometimes I have to go through the embarrassment of asking friends if they’ve sent something and then getting them to itemise everything in the packing and how much each item cost. Mortifying. And then send off forms and wait for codes. Other times, I simply have to log into a website and pay the money.
When I order online now, I try to remember to check where the package will originate. If it’s a US or UK provider, I check to see if they have a warehouse in the EU.
My experience with customer service peeps isn’t great. Once they have my money, they don’t seem to care what happens next. Occasionally, very occasionally, I’m pleasantly surprised and even rarer still, I am downright amazed.
Consider me amazed.
I’m well into reducing the plastic I use. I have a notion, however misguided, that soft plastics are better than hard plastics. I see hard plastics as bad unless I can use the containers for something else afterwards. Washing detergent is a case in point. Better yet though would be to eliminate the plastic altogether.
I’m conscious, too, that I’m being fed ads. It used to drive me crazy but as they’re not going away, I’m taking more of an interest in what the powers-that-be think they can sell me. I had checked out some reviews of plastic-free detergents a while back and was targeted recently by an ad for Earth Breeze, a laundry detergent sheet that
…dissolves within seconds in hot or cold water. They work in all machines, HE included. You can even hand wash with our Eco Sheets. Many happy customers use Earth Breeze with septic and greywater; Eco Sheets are concentrated, premeasured, and low-sudsing.
They had good reviews. And for every packet of 40 sheets I bought, they’d donate 10 to a women’s shelter (that’s what I picked from the list of options). I have had this packaging conversation with some like-minded friends so I added a few more packets to give to them to try out, too. Hey, EB offers free shipping to anywhere in the world, so why not?
The package didn’t arrive within what I’d thought had been a very short delivery time considering it was free and I wrote to check where it was.
I got a lovely note back explaining the problems with Royal Mail and asking me not to give up hope. If I hadn’t heard by X date, I should get back to them and they’d resend my order.
Not long after this, I got a notification from the post office to say that I owed money. I had to pay more than €20 to get a package out of jail. I’d ordered twice in that time period so didn’t know which package they were talking about. Gotta love the mystery. I paid. Of course, I paid. And it turned out to be the detergent. So much for free shipping, I thought, resolving not to order from there again.
My X date came and went and the following day, I received an email from Nikka at EB asking if my order had arrived. I said it had but that I’d had to pay customs on it and wouldn’t be ordering again. I added the requisite smiley face. I knew it wasn’t their fault.
I received a reply the next day. We were having a real conversation here. The lovely Nikka explained that EB had absorbed the customs fees and what I had paid was VAT, over which they had no control. Fair enough, I thought. As I said, not their problem. Nikka then went on to say that they’d refunded 30% of my order to compensate.
Was I impressed or what!!!
I could get to like this company.
What tickled me even more though was how Nikka signed off their email: Customer Delight Specialist.
I’ve yet to try out the product – I can only hope it lives up to the hype. Even if it doesn’t though, I’m grateful to have seen the human touch in this interaction. And if Nikka turns out to be a bot, maybe there’s hope for technology 🙂