Roger Dicker has sold Dairy Crest milk for the past 16 years. He used to get supplies from the Cambridge depot 20-odd miles away from his Kentford Village Stores and PO, near Newmarket. The depot got switched to Norwich, but is still only 40 miles away.
He has options about his order - email it by 9pm or it will default to his standing order. All very fine so far.
Then while he was on holiday staff got a letter instructing an 0845 number should be rung to change the order or, as usual, it would revert to the standing order.
Roger says: “On Monday (week commencing Sept 17) the milk doesn’t arrive. I left it till 11am as it’s sometimes late on Monday. Then I rang up and got through to - Manila! So I have to talk to a call centre thousands of miles away in the Philippines to track an order 40 miles away.”
He asked Manila for the depot’s number, but Manila said it couldn’t do that and has to communicate by email.
Eventually, Manila got back to him and says can’t get hold of them.
Tuesday, again no milk. “So I ring Dairy Crest head office and they wouldn’t give me the depot number either.”
Manila again got back in touch (an English accent so Roger was more than confused by now) and told Roger that it had been a glitch - computers not talking to each other - and that tomorrow all should be well.
On Wednesday: “We got the wrong order, the standing order. We’ve got more full-fat milk than we can handle.”
As he points out: “One day, customers can accept this but not three days. Then they go elsewhere.”
As this is being written the orders are still wrong and his invoices have doubled!
Dairy Crest has apologised and says it is trying to bring its traditional milk service into the 21st century. Its call centres, in the Philippines and Spain, work round the clock, unlike its local depots.