So, we’re nearly at the end of 2011 – hope everyone had a great Christmas/Holidays period (even if you’ve lost a day – Samoa, I’m looking at you), as we get set for 2012, there’s a few things that I wanted to put to paper… okay, keyboard!
Is it me, or is the art of customer service dying? There are still some companies who believe in it, and maybe it’s just bad luck, but a lot of dealings that myself and people I know have had over the Christmas period have been excruciatingly bad. It can go from folks not wanting to the work, to a total hard headed-ness “it’s the policy, I’m afraid” level of excuses.
Some examples: the Post Office’s “check and send” service for passports – because the photograph didn’t have the mouth glued shut, “I’m afraid we can’t accept this photo, it’ll be rejected”. After comparing the new photo to the photo in the current passport, and realising that, if anything, the “new” photo had the mouth open less, we sent the passport off a few days before Christmas. New passport received ten days later (astonishing, considering it was over the Christmas period) – score one against the Post Office who didn’t want to do the paperwork…
Okay, so we’re not getting our passports done every day… how about just buying something in a shop? Understandably, shops have got a lot of temporary Christmas workers in to cope with the increased volumes that they’re expecting over this time of year. Training them shouldn’t be too hard, but in cases where something falls through the cracks, there’ll be someone on hand to point them in the right direction, right? When someone’s got to “go to the back” to replace a dummy case with the real thing, they probably shouldn’t have to ask five colleagues, all of whom shrug their shoulders in confusion.
On a somewhat related point, I won’t virtually scream at an electronics chain who took an order for an Android tablet, then when we called four days later for an update, assured us it was fine, only to send us an e-mail five minutes later to announce that the order had been cancelled. Not too sure that that was breaking news to the point where their systems hadn’t been updated…
Copy Protection – I understand the reasons for it; to stop piracy at the opportunist’s level (to stop some bloke buying a copy of, I don’t know, “The Hangover 2″, ripping it and selling cheap copies down the local). I’ve always been of the belief that penalising legitimate consumers is not the way to scare off those who are pirating on a massive level. Remember back in the days when some CDs were unplayable in your PC? What about the days when some music CDs actually installed malware on your PC, supposedly as a way to let you play them? Remember all of the goodwill that generated? No? There’s a reason why.
As a Christmas present, I purchased “Attack The Block” – the Blu-Ray and DVD double pack, purchased specially as I was aware of copy protection on the DVD that was so over the top, it actually prevented a lot of DVD players from even recognising the disc. Not PC DVD drives, not video game consoles… bog standard DVD players. So, at my parents’ place, we put the DVD in, it loads, and then the player flashes up “the disc is dirty”. Tried it in a laptop, disc was unplayable.
We finally watched the movie via the Blu-Ray version, and it was a pretty good movie (albeit one that probably wouldn’t be understood by people living outside of London, or any major city). It’s just a shame that there’s been bad feeling left behind by the DRM – intended to protect the disc from being copied, but in reality, prevented it from being played.
Ending the year on a good note, Wrestling’s Sinking Ship continues to sell well, despite it being nearly six years old. Not read it yet? You can pick up paperbacks from Amazon (or order from any good bookstore), or if you have pretty much any electronic device, you can purchase it there as well.
On iTunes – for iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, or just reading in iTunes – search via iTunes or clickÂ http://itunes.apple.com/gb/book/wrestlings-sinking-ship/id442095132?mt=11
On Kindle – either on Kindle e-readers, Kindle Fire, or the variety of Kindle apps for PC, Android, iOS or Blackberry smartphones. Either search in the Kindle Store, or click here (UK) or click here (US)
On Barnes & Noble Nook (yes, it’s available there) – click here.
Hope you all have a happy and prosperous new year – see you all in 2012!