Complaint handling – how would your company rate?

This is a follow up article to one I made last month entitled – Smart email marketing – NOT! It was my first rant on this site about a company definitely not being smart. In fact, I’d go as far as saying that they were being quite the opposite… so much so I voted with my feet and unsubscribed from their marketing database, despite me really rating their product. That’s a strange combination I know.

In case you haven’t got time to read this original rant, in a nutshell, I bought a holiday to Cyprus to be taken in October, from Sovereign holidays back in August. They then proceeded to send me emails selling me holidays and special offers for holidays in October, despite the fact I’d just bought one. Terrible, appalling, rubbish marketing. I unsubscribed before I went away, and had a wonderful holiday.

This annoyed me, as it’s simple to fix, so I had Tweeted @ them, I had written the rant article and I had written to their customer relations team. Surprise, surprise, I thought I’d been swallowed up again by the corporate black hole of complaint handling.

Well, I was wrong. Well sort of. When we arrived in our hotel room in Cyprus a couple of weeks back, we had a huge bouquet of flowers and a bottle of champagne waiting for us in our room, with a card welcoming us to the hotel, and signed from a lady at Sovereign. No mention of the reason for sending however…

At first I assumed they greeted everyone like this… but after investigation it turns out we were special – so I was even more intrigued. After much detective work, I got hold of the relevant email address and wrote to them on my return, thanking them, but also asking why it was sent.

This was their response:

Dear Mr Copeman

Thanks for your letter and I’m pleased you got our small apology in resort.

We have recently changed email marketing companies to prevent the problem you experienced happening, We have also just recently changed our customer database management system with the plan of implementing some serious changes to our customer contact strategy to make it much more customer centric and more engaging.

I hope this clarifies the problem and I hope you continue to travel with Sovereign. Please let me know if you have any further questions I would be happy to help.

Best regards


1) They had gone to the efforts of marrying my name from my email to their customer relations address,  to a booking and bothered to send flowers and champagne to the room on our arrival – very nice touch. Quite delightful in fact.

2) It was slightly marred however, by the fact we actually thought they did it for everyone – and there was no mention of the email I had sent. If I hadn’t have followed up, I would have assumed that my email had gone unresponded to and would have spread bad news about Sovereign.

3) The explanation in the email response was impressive… I have to assume I’m not completely responsible for this change of strategy, however, it’s great that someone has listened and is reacting to customer opinion.

So, how do you deal with complaint handling? Would you have done better? Do your customers’ emails go into the corporate email blackhole?


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    This post was mentioned on Twitter by mark_copeman: @dmscott ‘New rules’ sort of being adhered to here. At least they’re listening

  2. […] This article was responded to by Sovereign holidays. To see the outcome click here. […]

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