Quote of the Moment
"All really great things happen in slow and inconspicuous ways." Leo Tolstoy

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Customer Support

I can see many unsustainable processes within the UK at the moment. But few can I comment on with quite as much certainty than on at least one reason why the High-Street is failing.

The simplistic view is a a lack of Customer Support. Not the role of ‘Customer Support’ but of the mentality of organisations and businesses that alongside with making the sale there is also case for ‘supporting the customer’.

Supporting the customer is not something which is costly. Indeed it requires nothing more than a change in the training, attitude and expectations of staff which ultimately boils down to doing the job. The first major retailer to realise that the best way to stop the haemorrhaging of sales to the internet is not to panic and rush for a piece of the pie but to return to what retailers do best.

The experience of shopping today is based upon lowered costs where any positivity is driven by customers not by the store. Any discussion with staff about the produce is going to consistently result in a glare at the card below of the specifications from someone who knows barely enough to avoid constant mis-selling.

Often this isn’t avoided. And the organisation I am with right now will soon realise this. And sales people, customer support and admin/project people are constantly constrained by out of date systems. So when problems do arise they take weeks to resolve and result in dramatic inconvenience including effects on credit ratings.

So what is the solution? Make the age old idea of ‘First Time Fix’ as the only philosophy for the company. Resolve issues, sales and enquiries with all effort and understanding of both customers and produce. Increase support, make the internet look less inviting for purchases with the ‘distance selling act’ making online purchases more secure for returns policy. And basically create a real alternative in shopping experience making the drone experience online not become reproduced in real life.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Bins becoming Battle Ground for the Council Elections.


Refuse collection seems to be a major – if not the major – issue which the electorate seem to be able to get a handle on. That is most people have some form of opinion and as a result it is becoming one of the major political battlegrounds for the up and coming local elections in June.

Within Lancaster city itself there has been a recent bin survey put out by me and some of the prospective Conservative councillors for the area. And our result, which have not been fully release yet seem to in some way contradict that of David Sudworth’s analysis from a report by West Lancashire District Council in that more than half of people want bi-weekly collections.

This is not the case when such things come into force. Especially when recycling is done – as it is in Lancaster – in a complicated and confused and even ineffective way. With the real results being messy streets, added waste being left on pavements and in alley ways as well as the council refuse staff being less sensitive to property or indeed taking care in their work because of what I suspect are tight timescales for the added work they need to do.

There is a balance. A balance which needs to be met with people who both want to recycle but also don’t want the council to withdraw services and impose regulation on their lives. The experience of recycling and refuse collection seems to be developing in some areas of West Lancashire District Council and as such they should seriously take into account the real experiences in areas such as Lancaster City when considering any changes.

Saturday, 7 March 2009

UK Libertarian Party: Quantitative Easing - An alternative Libertarian view


A quick lazy post again, and again from the same site, but as I mentioned before my political leanings lent in ways not quite mainstream Conservative. 

UK Libertarian Party: Quantitative Easing - An alternative Libertarian view

“To reduce basic income tax at all levels to a standard 10% would increase the disposable income of 90% of the working population. These funds would immediately be used to pay off debt, reduce bank overdrafts and credit card balances, put into savings, spent on pension funds, purchase new goods in shops, which in turn would increase the manufacturers orders to the suppliers of raw materials, in short it would stimulate the entire economy. It would also have the added benefit of removing much of the Bank's vice like dominance of the financial sector.”

A wonderful bit of alternative thinking. If it has a sound basis with the reality of the situation I have no means to judge, and I think few people do. Even so the argument has to be made. Tax cuts should always be an option.

UK Libertarian Party: Strategically Speaking Labour Don't Give A Toss


“From the purchasing of cheap Pakistani made ammunition that caused repeated jams in 50 calibre guns, this Government has sought to fight wars on the cheap, with no exit strategy.”

UK Libertarian Party: Strategically Speaking Labour Don't Give A Toss

With a brother who is currently rising up in the ranks of the Army but with a definite chance to be in Afgan within the next 24 months I have more than a vested interest in the armed forces.

The simple fact it that the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan were never vote winners, they were geopolitical insanities; at least in the for with which they ultimately took. As a result welfare, resources and lives were lost.

This must change. If not in money, but strategy to keep our people alive and effective wherever they are needed.

Friday, 6 March 2009

Showing my colours…

Well colour. I think I have avoided doing much ‘party-politics’ on this blog, mostly because of a general lack of certainty on that point for quite a while. I always knew I was in some way right wing (please please PLEASE don’t read into that the wonderful way the left has turned the term to mean ‘right wing’ has become a racist, miner-hating, fox hunt loving twat), but never of which vain… Or indeed any.


Either way below you shall see a embedded chat with William Hague after the more recent PMQs where he stood in for David Cameron.

Interesting really.

I enjoyed it much more than I expected. Not so much the answers (they were much as you would expect) but the relaxed way in which he could in the same act talk about enjoying to some extend PMQs whilst discussing how Harriet Harman (and the rest of the Parliamentary Labour Party) are jockeying for position to be the next Leader.

It was a free discussion. Little stress it seemed to me – or indeed worry- that words would be taken out of context or indeed if they were that it would matter. A man, doing the job of taking the government to account, and I might add, doing it well.

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Heads of State suck at giving presents… Apparently


From Paul Waugh’s blog.

Obama's bargain basement prezzie

So Gordon goes to all that trouble of getting an historic pen holder carved from the oak timbers of a Victorian anti-slavery ship. Carefully chosen and months in the preparation, the pen was finally handed over in Washington when the men met this week.

And what does Obama give him in return? A DVD collection of 25 classic American films.

The Pen holder was bad enough, but at least a little thought had gone into the blunt attempt at at apology for the years of slavery and Empire.

But really? A collection of 25 classic DvDs?! That's exactly the snub that political journalists were looking for from the whole trip but I doubt they will be able to make any play with it…. Its just too pathetic.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Blog Restart: Failure

Wonderful, so I actually get around to restarting this blog and all I can think about is a gravely stupid mistake which I have only just done – probably not the best idea considering I am attaching the web address above with my CV. Either way it is important for the world out there to be reminded.


Ultimately my failure consisted of sending an email of a individual’s contact details to the individual themselves and not to the person who was meant to contact them. Considerations of privacy, possible broken trust and above all (though least important) embarrassment rushed through my head as soon as the two word reply… ‘Who’s James?’ came back.

Now people remember that coffee and lack of sleep is not conducive to career advancement – no matter how many times you have postponed that Outlook reminder!

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