A while back I decided to venture out of Lancashire with my husband and our four tiny humans and head down to Tamworth. What could possibly make me want to go on a mini road trip, via the Hell that is the M6?
One thing, and one thing only, Thomas.
As in the Tank Engine.
As in the really useful engine that lives in Thomas Land.
Well, to be more precise, my 2 year old son Henry who has an unquenchable obsession with Thomas and all things Thomas related.
Anyway, it’s all a bit of a long story, a saga if you will, but when we got to Drayton Manor (after battling road works, accidents and the joy that is Sunday drivers) it was closed. Half an hour of temper tantrums, tears and general angst we left for home, stopping on the way to spend the day at Alton Towers instead.
In the end we had a great day and all was not lost, but my experience at the hands of a poorly managed situation left me angry, frustrated and just a little north of peeved.
So, I did what I always say I will do (but never quire get round to), I complained. I actually took the time out of a busy work day to pen an email to Drayton Manor’s customer complaints team and explain what happened.
I found the complaints process quite ridiculous. I was given one email address which didn’t appear to work – my emails were sent, but no one ever replied.
Eventually I tagged Drayton Manor in a Tweet querying why they never responded to emails. A few DMs later I had a new email address to complain to. Which I did.
More DMs later the emails were resent.
Finally a lovely lady emailed me to say that she had been trying to get in touch but for some reason couldn’t. However, we got there in the end. No idea what happened, but there was a light at the end of the tunnel (pardon the pun). She apologised for what had happened and that she hoped we would come back in the not too distant future.
Then Saturday morning a package arrived on our door step, addressed to Henry.
It was a letter from Emma, the lovely lady from the email, who took the time to explain, in glorious child-friendly detail that on the day we had come down Thomas had been sleeping after a busy day. He was terribly upset to have not been able to meet Henry, and he was hoping we would come down again, despite having to travel for ever and day to get there (it did feel like it!).
A gift was enclosed, directly from Thomas himself – two trains – Thomas and Stephen the Rocket. Henry squealed. He then giggled. He then ran off and played with his new toys for two hours. I shed a little tear. And I smiled.
You see, customer service is not about getting it 100% right all the time. It’s about dealing with it when it goes wrong, taking ownership and doing all that is within your power to put it right.
That’s what Emma did. She couldn’t change what happened, she could only respond to it. And she responded perfectly.
Had things been different we would have no doubt had a perfectly lovely day at Drayton Manor. We’d have spent a fortune, the kids would have enjoyed themselves, and they would have slept all the way home. It would have been on ordinary day out, in many ways. No different to countless other families that have been and done the same thing.
Thanks to Emma we are left with so much more – we are left with the feeling that they care. It’s a small gesture, but to a Mum who felt the need to complain because her son was upset, it means the world.
So to Emma, thank you.
And to Drayton Manor, you are lucky to have Emma. Look after her. She’s worth a lot more than you probably realise.