I ordered something online a couple of weeks ago and it's just arrived today. I have to say the service has been impeccable from start to finish and I'm delighted to be able to give fulsome praise where it's due.
Sadly, this is far from the norm. One day I'll recount the story of how Vodafone overcharged me approximately seven hundred euros and took over four months to pay it back (in installments), which process involved me in over fifty hours of telephone correspondence and blood pressure readings in the high thousands. Yes, one day I'll recount that story - when I can find a little humour in it, which may take some time, to be fair.
Anyway back to the brilliant service I've just experienced. From the simple online ordering instructions for what, in principle, could have been a complex process, to the final delivery which arrived within half the estimated time, this was top class stuff. My telephone rang.
“This is DHL - we have a packet for you. I'm outside your door.”
“Aaaagh. I'm in the café round the corner, I'll be two ticks.”
“Don't worry, I'll bring it to you.”
Five minutes later, I'm signing a telephone screen with my finger, producing an absurd squiggle which, of course, bears no resemblance to my actual signature, and - hey presto! - I'm in full possession of my order, if not my faculties.
The whole process took just two weeks and, during this time, I was informed every couple of days by text and email about how it was all going.
1. “We've received your order.”
2. “All the information is correct and everything's going swimmingly.”
3. “Mrs Dawkins is processing your order at her desk as we speak. No, wait, she's been distracted by a WhatsApp photo of her grandson, Duncan. Awwww! Isn't he cute? Ahem, sorry, where were we? Ah yes, Mrs Dawkins has dispatched your order.”
4. “Your order is on its way.”
5. “Your order is still on its way but a damn sight nearer than it was yesterday.”
6. “Please expect a call any minute now from a bloke who'll meet you in a café, night club or wherever to hand over the goods.”
And that's a brief synopsis of what happened, broadly speaking.
So, if your passport is up for renewal and you're hesitating as to whether to do it online - don't. This is a first class service from the moment you first sit down at your computer and they take you through every step like Mrs Dawkins showing Duncan how to walk, to when you sign for it, quite possibly over a plate of paella and a glass of wine.
Really, I can't recommend the online UK passport renewal service highly enough. Hats off.