We are feeling sad in our house because we seem to be coming to the end of an era.
Ever since we moved to our current address, 28 years ago, we’ve had our milk delivered, but now it’s turning sour.
While millions turned to buying cheaper milk from supermarkets, we were happy to pay more, and help perpetuate a great British tradition.
During all those years, through fair weather and foul, our milkman (who is currently a milklady) has never let us down.
But now we find the milklady is being undermined by the national outfit that runs the franchise, called Milk & More.
It all started to go sour when we were going on holiday and wanted to cancel the milk for a fortnight.
Instead of writing a note to the milklady, we made the mistake of logging on to Milk & More’s website, and cancelling it online.
What we hadn’t realised is their website is notoriously unreliable, so milk was still delivered while we were away, throwing our account into confusion, and charging us for milk we didn’t want.
Neither had we realised that the firm have a novel way of dealing with customers’ accounts, which is to make it nearly impossible to contact them, even when they admit their failed systems are causing severe problems.
For some reason known only to them, you cannot email Milk & More, and every time I tried to phone them, estimated waiting times were going up instead of down, once starting at ten minutes.
Then I realised that because it was an 0345 number, I was paying for the privilege of trying to sort out problems that weren’t my fault.
So I hung up.
If you have a good memory, you may be able to recall a time when the only way of doing business with some companies was to write them a letter. Well, that is effectively the only way to contact Milk & More in the digital age.
Google says countless other people have come up against similar problems and the same brick walls, while several friends told me they have lost patience with Milk & More too.
They all said what a shame this is, because they really want to have a milkman (or milklady), and demand is also growing because more of us want to buy milk in reusable glass bottles.
But because Milk & More seem to have a monopoly of doorstep deliveries in many areas, the only alternative is to get your milk from the supermarket, in plastic bottles.
Contacting Milk & More’s press office is almost as difficult as reaching their customer service department, but thanks to the intervention of Dairy UK, the ‘voice of the UK dairy industry’, I did eventually get to talk to two apologetic ladies.
One assured me, in a statement, that Milk & More are “100 per cent focused on our customers and we will continue to work on a one-to-one basis to resolve any problems.”
Unfortunately, it didn’t reveal any plans for the firm to accept email queries from customers, nor stop charging us to make phone calls.
Our biggest motive for sticking with doorstep deliveries all those years was knowing we were supporting a small local business (the milkman/lady), rather than lining the pockets of supermarket shareholders. But now it seems that a condition of supporting the little guy is trusting your bank details to a big guy who would rather not talk to you.
Dare I suggest the milk industry could do with shake-up?
By: Graham Carter
Source: Swindon Advertiser