Blovember #8 – Not Bovvered…

When a fairly young, groovy and ethical brand like Clipper Tea has an email address of  thisiswhatithink@clipper-teas.com you kind of expect a reply to a polite email with a very polite gripe. So far at 1 3/4 days I haven’t even received an acknowledgement. I’d set up my “reach out to my customers” email address with an automated reply setting expectations for a human reply. If you are a small firm – why not give yourself up to 5 working days? Hardly unreasonable is it?

Before I wrote this I checked the email address, time of sending, any bounceback etc. There is nothing to indicate it hasn’t been received. I am trying not to leap to judgement but due to the website being up I am guessing there hasn’t been a catastrophic IT outage. I think the issue is a human one, which is sad. @clipperteas C-, could do better

In the interests of big/small balance I ought to note that Mercedes Benz Oxford also disappointed the other day. Made me wait 15 min to see a “specialist” after saying “someone will be right out” and not “it’ll be 15 min if you don’t mind holding on Sir”. I then end up explaining the difference between camber and toe-in to a real mouth-breather and am left wondering about said individual’s area of specialism. It sure as hell wasn’t wheel alignment on an E-class, that much I know for sure. Not making me want to rush there for a service anytime soon. I was then called by an “expert” who then perpetuated the whole thing by giving duff information. I know because I had the car on an inspection pit today w. a man that services coaches and builds race cars as a hobby. We looked and looked and looked for 20 min. No adjustment bolts for setting the rear wheel camber on an E-Class Estate. No shims either  and according to The Internet there is no way to adjust the rear camber on a W211 except by buying aftermarket kits. @mercedesbenz_ir – D, be straight w. customers.

Addendum: after a v nice lunch with #MusingsFromTheSofa the point was made to me that I was failing to make a point about MB Oxford. I agree that I meandered around and that, at best, the point was inferred. I apologise. The point was to contrast that even the big guys like Mercedes were not necessarily better than the little guys like Clipper Tea. In both instances I expect to be not only satisfied but hopefully delighted. Both obviously lack a Social Media Strategy or I expect to have been contacted in some form by now….

Blovember #6 – Why wait for poor service?

I have just read a rant on Facebook where a customer of BestBuy in Calgary felt very hard done by because the staff in-store were rubbish and despite nothing else to do they ignored them whilst standing around doing nowt. They waited 5-9 minutes apparently. Not only does such a statement imply that the complainant is pretty bad at judging the passing of time it also says to me that they had nothing better to do than wait and work themselves up whilst plotting their punitive retaliation (embarrass them using social media). there is nothing to suggest they even attempted to escalate the issue at a store level.

Whilst this is just rubbish service I don’t think you have earned the right to complain if you did nothing. There will be a manager on duty and I’ll bet that summoning them – the mere act of – will be a bit of a rocket to the lazy assistants. As a manager I’d dearly like to know if my customers are not receiving a level of service that delights them. As a manager I can’t improve it for you or other customers if you wait, bottle up your unhappiness and then snipe at us using Facebook (despite the dire threats to splash the entire world of social media with this example of egregious treatment they posted it on the US BestBuy page and not the Canadian one. BestBuy politely pointed this out. I only saw it because a contact reposted it.).
Staff make mistakes, staff are sometimes lazy, offensive, bring personal issues to work etc etc. All to be avoided but the fact is they do happen. There is a difference between a one-off and repetitive crap behaviour. Maybe the manager needs replacing? Who knows if you don’t bring it up.

By all means expect and demand high levels of service but don’t shy away from bringing it up with first-line  management if you don’t get it. Being a customer in the real world isn’t a completely one-way track. Do your bit before you take to the airwaves to shout about your unhappiness. Try being part of the solution and not just part of the problem. No change will come if you shirk your responsibilities as a customer.

Blovember #5 – Don’t get me going

Organised religion. The mix of church and state in the UK that is enshrined in law. The plain pig-headed refusal to acknowledge facts, or more precisely the cherry picking of facts.

Newsflash – you can’t pick the facts you want to support your argument and then choose to ignore the ones that torpedo views based on faith. Really. Just really. It’s what 6 year olds do. Grow-up.

The old maxim applies here: “Never argue with an idiot because they’ll just drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.”

Have you ever tried to have an argument (not a row, an intellectual argument) with a religious believer? Yes but, Yes but, yes but ad infinitum. I am not patient enough and have to bite my hand to avoid being offensive. It doesn’t always work.

It’s the election of the leader of the free world tomorrow. One would like to think that religion won’t have any part in it. Ho ho. Some hope. The winner gets to be in charge of serious weaponry and I’d like to think that they will take decisions based on proven facts and not an alleged  god whispering in their ear as they pray for guidance.

Pray for me as I am obviously one of those deluded lost souls that places my faith in science over mythical Sky Pilots. Silly I know, but there you go.

Blovember #4 – just missing the chestnuts…

…because I am sitting in front of an open fire. Doh.

It is between 2 and 4 degrees outside and wet as well. The kind of damp and chill you to the core sort of cold without even needing a wind. It might be the leaner post-hospital me of 11st of nothing that just feels the cold more easily.

Desperate measures – well 1.5:1 may be required; Whisky Mac (a.k.a. Winter Warmer) 1.5 parts blended (read cheap) whisky to 1 part green ginger wine. Bring it on.

bottle top

bottle top (Photo credit: jovike)

Blovember #3 – or, One more won’t get me there any quicker

Day 3 and yet more of my deeply interesting life. Well, that which I am prepared to share which, face it, it’s on the web’n’all, I ain’t telling you where I have put the bodies. Reminds me of the saying of a friend’s husband, “one more ain’t gonna take me to hell any faster”.

Life gets better. I don’t know why I took so long to acquire my v own copy of Blackhawk Down.  Not important as it arrived yesterday from Amazon for the princely sum of £3.49 w free delivery for a “Bonus 2-Disc  Special Edition” or similar marketing nonsense. I figure that at the price it is a commodity item taking up shelf space in the vast Amazon warehouse and just needs to be shifted. I remember being taught that patience is a virtue. It also  helps to be massively forgetful at times and at that price the excuses can no longer be made.

So…number three done with. More tomorrow if I remember. Now where did I put the quicklime…?

Blovember #2

Day 2 and I feel like a kid being made to write the “what I did on my holidays” post half-term standard fodder.

Today I applied to Sophos for a v interesting looking role as the Sales Enablement Program Manager – Learning & Development. Looks v interesting, plays v well to my strengths and is relatively local. I don’t mind business travel but at this stage in life am not looking to relocate as that is for peeps without kids at a non-boarding  school.

The interesting thing to see is whether I am even spoken to, as my CV is coming to the UK HR Dept via a friend of a friend in Vancouver. I have never ever ever received a reply to an application via Linkedin as my CV isn’t a nice boilerplate example of I did this and then this and then this where the respective “thises” have been a steady progression along an A-B-C-D sort of obvious line. I like to think I have had an interesting and informative life but  we’ll see what Sophos think.

Kiss me first Mr Estate Agent

Estate Agents used to strut around when selling houses as they couldn’t shift them fast enough. You snooze, you lose was the general feeling. These days in the UK the property sales market is v. v. weak yet the Lettings market is incredibly robust. Rents are high reflecting high demand and limited supply much as you learnt in Economics 101. As the estate Agents are no longer wallowing around in fat sale commissions and are relying on income from their lettings side they have decided that they obviously can’t keep sticking it to the Landlords who have the power to choose who represents them but instead they will screw the person with no options. To whit: the renter.

Estate Agents 2

I am renting a property right now and not only do I pay a deposit – very understandable – but I pay a mixture of other non-refundable fees that are the Estate Agents cost of doing business. They have worked out that they can not only pass these costs on for things like reference checks but hell, why not skim a bit on the side and round it up a little? They farm out reference checks to a third party on-line but it is apparently £60 per check.  £60, give me a break. After all, they want the house, we’re the agents, demand is high, it’ll rent regardless…drop your trousers sir. The “screw you” attitude gets better. I pay a deposit over the phone with my Debit Card and they even want to pass on the 30 pence (50 cents) handling charge on a £320.00 transaction. Talk about being nickeled and dimed to death.

The complete absurdity of the total lack of business acumen (not my job ‘guv, rules are rules) displayed by the chap in the office that obviously isn’t his? When I ask about my receipt the clown offers to post it. At least a £1 operation. I declined and tried to make the point that I wasn’t going to be petty and he could staple it to the inevitable hard copy of the rental agreement. Deaf ears, he just didn’t see.

When I go to the supermarket I don’t stand at the till and pay a further cleaning charge, staff pension supplement, stacking fee etc etc. What you see is what you pay. All those things are the cost of doing business.  estate Agents are always mystified as to why they are considered in such a poor light. I wonder why no-one wants to sit by them at a dinner party? I wonder.

PS: Kiss me first in the title stems from the crude but apt saying; I like to be kissed when I am screwed.

What she misses…

Prompted by me remarking that GP surgeries never seemed to operate hours to cater for working folk and not just people with nothing better to do with their time, a British friend that lived in the US for 7 years and is relatively recently back remarked to me, “I miss dealing with companies/service providers that see it as their goal to serve me and accommodate my needs and that don’t expect me to modify my life around their inflexibility”…or similar.

In the UK it is my experience that something as simple as seeing your GP at a time to suit a working person (like they are, grrrr….) is fraught with difficulty. Evenings or Saturday’s? Novel huh?

We pay for this – not as directly as money changing hands between us but through pretty high taxes. Who’s zoomin who?