I’m having my garden landscaped at the moment and as with all change it can cause a level of anxiety, in this case, about the final finish but also the impact to the areas not being worked on.

Ahead of the work we discussed that certain materials may need to be brought through the house and the landscaper agreed to buy new plastic sheeting and dust sheets to protect the floors, good customer service in my opinion, but then he went one better. On the agreed day, I noticed that he took two, new, spotlessly clean and crucially smaller wheelbarrows from his van. I asked him if he bought them for the job and he said he just wanted to limit the possibility of any damage to walls or door frames or the like. This was without any prompt from my wife or I and despite the fact that it would likely take longer and leave him out of pocket initially, although he assured me they would have a useful life after.

Contrast this with another recent experience I had with a nearly trillion-pound airline group. I booked flights and a car to go and see my parents with the airline I have a long and I thought valuable relationship with. As they currently don’t fly to that location, they booked me on a code share flight with another of their group airlines, which I thought saved me time (I already have the app and they have all my details) and I would retain all my loyalty benefits I have with for my main airline, I really was wrong on both counts.

I initially tried to book my preferred seats, a simple process usually and one I can do immediately after booking but could not access this feature on either website. I called the dedicated number for my main airline and after a lot of willing but unsuccessful trying they told me I would have to call the other airline direct. Eventually, after around an hour waiting, I managed to book a seat but would have to pay unless I wanted to sit right at the back. Frustrating, but I thought at least then I could relax knowing everything was sorted, but unfortunately, I was wrong. I received an email after a few days confirming my seats but pointing out I didn’t have the luggage allowance I normally receive through my loyalty scheme, so this time went to the code share airline’s website to use their chat facility. It was awful, the bot doesn’t understand simple requests and the agents are obviously having to deal with multiple chats at a time as are generally gone for quite some time and then miss information you have already provided when they return. After around 3 hours of trying on that and another hour of not getting through on the phone I am still none the wiser as to what bags my family and can bring.

So, whether you a sole trader, an SME or a multibillion-pound Global Corporation, please do you and your customers a favour and buy a new wheelbarrow!