Tag Archives: Sweet & Sour Service

Pick ‘n Pay Sweet and Multichoice Sour Service Awards!

The Sweet Service Award goes to Pick ‘n Pay and its regional manager Russell Thomas, for finding no-name Greek yoghurt, which went out of stock without consumer notice due to a packaging change for the second time in two months.  A plea to Pick ‘n Pay via Twitter, and sms messages to our regular branches in Garden’s Centre and Camps Bay, proved unsuccessful.  A sms to Russell resulted in the same day sourcing of the yoghurt, which he was even prepared to deliver to the guest house at 19h00 in the evening!

The Sour Service Award goes to Multichoice, for its poor quality call centre staff. This is not the first Sour Service Award for this subscription TV service company! Despite one calling a Cape Town telephone number, one lands up in the call centre in Johannesburg. Most of the staff speak an English which is difficult to understand, they are rude in interrupting the caller (staff member Simpatia), listen badly when one is providing Smart card numbers, and the system seems to be very slow in calling up one’s details, after one has had to provide various personal details to verify one’s identity.  Out of three calls made to cancel two Smartcards, the phone was put down in two of the calls when asked for an alternative staff member to take the call, due to the communication problems experienced! While one receives a reference number (one number for two cards), there is no sms or e-mailed confirmation that the card numbers have indeed been cancelled, as one does from Telkom!   When calling the Multichoice Head Office, the switchboard operator Catherine was rude in screening the call of complaint made to the manager of the call centre.   The manager called back a few days later, and acknowledged on listening to the recordings that his staff had erred in their communication.

The WhaleTales Sweet & Sour Service Awards are presented every Friday on the WhaleTales blog.  Nominations for the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be sent to Chris von Ulmenstein at info@whalecottage.com.   Past winners of the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be read on the Friday posts of this blog, and in the WhaleTales newsletters on the www.whalecottage.com website.

Nedbank Sweet and TELKOM Sour Service Award

The Sweet Service Award goes to Carol of the George regional branch of NEDBANK, for organising the delivery of credit card imprint forms two hours after the order had been placed with the Call Centre,  after the bank had closed its doors.  The Nedbank Call Centre promised a delivery time of three days, and it took 12 minutes to speak to  Samiema to place the order for the forms.    She continuously placed the caller on hold.    When given the merchant name of ‘Whale Cottage Plettenberg Bay’, she asked which town it is in!   But Carol saved the day, and showed excellent responsiveness and customer care with the same-day, after-hours delivery. 

The Sour Service Award of the Year goes to TELKOM for causing extreme customer aggravation.     For two months Whale Cottage Camps Bay was without the ADSL service, after it had applied for the ADSL line to be moved to a different and existing Whale Cottage telephone line in the same building.   Over a two month period the TELKOM officials in the ADSL call centre and in the TELKOM shop in Sea Point gave a variety of reasons for the service not working, including that the line had been cut, and that there was a line fault and a cable fault.    When Whale Cottage called in a computer consultant, he found the simple solution – the ADSL line had not been verified, something no TELKOM staff member had asked in the 2 month period at all!   After 20 minutes, the ADSL service was working again.   Not only did this severely inconvenience the Whale Cottage Camps Bay guests, but it also cost Whale Cottage the purchase of  a 3 G card, so as to offer the Whale Cottage guests an internet service on the Whale Cottage laptop in the interim.

The WhaleTales Sweet & Sour Service Awards are presented every Friday on the WhaleTales blog.  Nominations for the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be sent to Chris von Ulmenstein at info@whalecottage.com

Ciro Sweet and Independent Newspapers Sour Service Award

                                                  The Sweet Service Award goes to Toni from the Cape Town offices of Ciro Beverage Solutions, who helped Whale Cottage get around Ciro’s Accounts department blocking deliveries of milk, biscuits and coffee sachets, due to non-receipt of three cheques sent to the company in November, December and January.  She kept the customer informed every step of the way.   Miraculously and coincidentally, all three cheques, posted to the company’s Rivonia head office post box at month-end over the past three months, arrived on the same day that Toni had helped unblock the delivery denial.  The accounts department had previously arrogantly denied delivery, and took no trouble to establish why the three cheques had not arrived, given that Whale Cottage has dealt with Ciro for the past ten years.

The Sour Service Award goes to Independent Newspapers.    For the past few years, Whale Cottage has subscribed to the Cape Times and Cape Argus, and delivery is made to its guest houses, as a service to its guests.   A new delivery address in Fresnaye was added recently, and has had a non-delivery at least once a week.  Over the last week three papers were not delivered.    An e-mail was sent to Carmen Thomas, the Subscriptions Supervisor, who was subsequently told by the Area Manager Anderson that all papers had been delivered into the post box, when they had not.   Ms Thomas regularly blames a new distribution system for the non-delivery.   The customer called the MD of Independent Newspapers, who listened to the problem sympathetically, and must have called for action internally, one of the instructions being that Ms Thomas had to meet the customer and apologise personally.   A time was agreed, but Ms Thomas did not arrive, calling a few minutes before the scheduled time of the meeting to check where the meeting would be held.   It had been clear that it was in Fresnaye, as this is the address at which the delivery problems had occurred.   Ms Thomas then had a calendar and a gift of apology delivered, the gift however not being to the taste of the customer at all.  The customer only wants efficient delivery, and not any gifts.

The WhaleTales Sweet & Sour Service Awards are presented every Friday on the WhaleTales blog.  Nominations for the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be sent to Chris von Ulmenstein at info@whalecottage.com.

Doppio Zero Sweet and Roundhouse Sour Service Award

The Sweet Service Award goes to Doppio Zero at Cavendish Square, and to its Manager Bradley, for understanding the power of service recovery.    The customer arrived in the midst of a staff shift change, with the staff unattentive to the customers.  Coffee had to be ordered three times, and a bill requested three times.   Each time, Bradley had to step in for his staff, and he apologised profusely for the poor service experienced.  Bradley waived the bill, and invited the customer to come back again to experience the good service of Doppio Zero on another day.

The Sour Service Award goes to the Roundhouse restaurant in Camps Bay.   The Cape Argus reports that the restaurant, that has set itself up to become the best restaurant in Africa, has reacted to a customer complaint about a table booked for New Year’s day, with a deposit paid, in the most negative manner.   The restaurant claims that the couple was 90 minutes late – the couple claims it was only 10 minutes.    A deposit of R 1 200 was paid by the couple for the meal on the special day.   Their table was given away, and they were downgraded to a table in a less desirable section of the restaurant, which led the couple to complain to Argus Action.  The Roundhouse’s arrogant reaction to the customer complaint is its announcement that it is instituting a customer blacklist for patrons who regularly arrive late, and will refuse bookings from them in future!   Roundhouse Partner Paul Rowett says: “We are going to start complaining about guests”.   The restaurant is planning to share the “name-and-shame-late-arrival-patron-blacklist” with nine or ten other restaurants, and to make the offending patrons’ names public. 

The WhaleTales Sweet & Sour Service Awards are presented every Friday on the WhaleTales blog.  Nominations for the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be sent to Chris von Ulmenstein at info@whalecottage.com.

S A Tourism Sweet and HBR Human Resources Sour Service Award

The third Sweet Service Award goes to S A Tourism, and Its CEO Moeketsi Mosola specifically, for taking a  brave stand against FIFA accommodation and ticketing agency MATCH on behalf of the local accommodation industry, by resigning from the MATCH Advisory Board.   Mosola expressed his dissatisfaction with the “bullying tactics” that MATCH is using to set unrealistic accommodation rates for 2010, and to pressurise establishments to sign up.    

The third Sour Service Award goes to HBR Human Resources, for supplying a fraudulent CV for a candidate, who had been fired by her previous employer but did not state this in the CV, and inflated the income of the candidate by 55% above her last salary.  When the candidate was confronted with the information,  she blamed HBR for the deceit, saying that she had been advised to be deceitful so that she could get the job, and so that the agency could earn its commission.   When the unethical action of the HBR staff member was revealed, Tracey Hibbert, its Operations Manager, called to beg for forgiveness, saying that disciplinary action would be taken against her employee.  She said that she would not charge for the placement fee as an apology, and would find a replacement for the candidate.    When the candidate left after a month,  Ms Hibbert was contacted, and her offer taken up for a replacement.  In the two months to date, the agency sent only two CV’s for the replacement, one candidate deciding to stay with her current employer, and the other accepting a position before she could be invited for an interview.     As a replacement was urgently required, Ms Hibbert was contacted again.  Her response was that there are no suitable candidates available now as it is the busy season, and if she had to search for a suitable replacement, she would have to charge, which was contrary to her initial promise.   HBR Human Resources has breached the Codes of Conduct of APSO and of FEDHASA Cape, the logos of both associations featuring prominently on its website.   In its response, the company has admitted its staff member’s unprofessional conduct, and has offered to find a replacement within the next four months after all!


The WhaleTales Sweet & Sour Service Awards are presented every Friday on the WhaleTales blog.  Nominations for the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be sent to Chris von Ulmenstein at info@whalecottage.com.

Music Revival Sweet and Google Sour Service Awards

The second Sweet Service Award goes to Christopher Duigan from Music Revival in Pietermaritzburg, for spoiling Franschhoekers and others with a most wonderful Spring Classical Music Festival last weekend, the fifth such Festival to be held in Franschhoek.      Not only does Duigan organise the musical content of the weekend-long programme, but he also performed at all six concerts.   Bravo to performers Christopher Duigan, Joanne Rozario, the Kerimov Trio, James Grace and Federico Freschi, as well as to the sponsors Ebony, La Fontaine, Clarins, and Nedbank, for making the Music Festival possible! 


The Sour Service Award goes to Google, represented by Carnelian Event Management, for cancelling a Google Adwords workshop for members of Cape Town Tourism a day before the workshop, earlier this week, without informing the members of Cape Town Tourism, despite a promise to Cape Town Tourism Operations Manager Bronwen d’Oliviera that they would do so.   The Cape Town Tourism, S A Tourism and MTN brands, which were sponsorship partners of the workshops, have been negatively affected, and the delegates that booked for the workshops severely inconvenienced.    Cape Town Tourism did send an sms to its members, but forgot to inform those members that have opted to not receive their intrusive sms-messages.  Carnelian Event Management did not respond to an invitation to comment. 




The WhaleTales Sweet & Sour Service Awards are presented every Friday on the WhaleTales blog.  Nominations for the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be sent to Chris von Ulmenstein at info@whalecottage.com.