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Marty's "Living life in chapters" A self development blog: Locals make a difference

Marty's "Living life in chapters" A self development blog

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Locals make a difference

Gone are the days (pretty much in most cases) of the local business that you could rely on to be friendly and negotiable and able to make their own judgements. I remember the days when I could phone our local bank and tell them Christine was coming round to draw some money out, could they help with so and so? "Yes Martin, thats fine. See you soon!"

Now, you get a national 0845 number that takes you through to some remote call centre. This gives me images of banks of people sat in a large open plan office on some remote business park somewhere, sat in front of PC screen with headsets fitted and scrolling call numbers on a ticker board dispayed for everyone to see. Some trumped up supervisor cracking the metaphoric whip over everyone like some ancient scene from a 1950's biblical movie.

Today, Christine bumped into the guy from the local fireplace centre where we brought our gas fire and fire surround some 8 yrs ago. Last week, we recommend some friends to them because they gave such a decent service. The guy asked Chris when we last had our fire serviced (which I ashamed to say must be years ago). He said, "I'm gonna send someone round to do that for you free of charge." This was a thankyou for recommending our friends to him. For me, THAT is the proper way to do business. Friendly personal service where you know who you are dealing with and they are familiar at both ends. Who wants to listen to recorded voices telling you which button to press, then have to go through the riggers of confirming your identity?

At the bottom of this blog is an audio/video blog of a call I recieved from a call centre today. This ties in with my scribble from a few weeks ago
click here I GOT 'EM FOLKS!!! (laughing) This was recorded this afternoon. I couldn't understand a word she was saying! As soon as I realised what the call was, I put ther loud speaker on and recorded the call with my mobile phone (just for training purposes, of course Image )

Now for todays scribble......

My “Basic Instinct” experience.

Around about 10 years ago (roughly 1996) I can remember a particular evening at a local drink hole in my village when something happened that I did not expect.

I’d gone to the pub (as I often do) on my own and was stood at the bar drinking a pint when some folk came in that I recognised but didn’t really know to speak to. This was a couple (older guy with his girlfriend I guess) the frequented the pubs on a regular basis. This was often a little tipsy on Friday and Saturday nights. On this particular evening, the girl was dressed in a white top and skirt that was not particularly short, but stopped just above the knee. She had obviously been getting uncomfortable in her shoes and had taken them off. I hadn’t noticed this and as I stepped back for a moment, I trod on her toe. She of course cried out in pain. Mortified, I apologised profusely to her and the beginnings of a conversation started. Her toe was clearly uncomfortable and then sat on the bar stool and lifted he foot up to the thigh of her other leg in order to show me her swollen toe. Imagine the surprise I got as I was presented (without being too explicit) with what I describe as my “Basic Instinct” experience. Talk about embarrassing!#


(13 total)

I liked the little vid, I get similar calls all the time. as for your little scribble, dont ever remember having a basic instinct experience, darn it.

Thursday 28 September 2006 - 05:54PM (BST)

I too long for the days of personal sevice as it is the way I run my business. I recieved a call the other day computer generated to tell me that my husbands request for a perscription drug had been approved and we could pick it up.... please next time have a real person on the phone it was just so cold.

Thursday 28 September 2006 - 12:32PM (CDT)

How many call centres you been in? if you haven't been in any, thats an uncanny resemblance (say's she who used to be a whip cracker in one)
Customer service, I recall the days of the corner shop, where I could go as a young child to get my Pa's 10 Senior Service without a word ever beign said, because they knew the whole family so well, the butcher next door to the corner shop who knew which cuts of beef to put by for my mother, and the fruit and veg shop next door to that...the italian shop round the corner where we used to get fresh crusty bread every Saturday morning, all the shops I'd have to give a run down of how the family were....

Thursday 28 September 2006 - 06:41PM (BST)

Just listened to the cal, those were the days.....they NEVER know what to really say when you say you're not interested...I used to get into trouble when I was on the phone ( probably why they promoted me, to get me away from the public) I used to ask people outright why they were'nt interested, then tell them all the benefits...and so on and on and on.....he he

Thursday 28 September 2006 - 06:45PM (BST)

There is a service to stop those unwanted calls, phone company can give you contact details. BT is our provider and they give you one number free of charge on the service. As for basic instinct moments, now then, never make assumptions. One never knows what anyone actually has under their clothes... or not.

Thursday 28 September 2006 - 08:33PM (BST)

I'll say one thing, I never ring a buiness on my mobile, coz i use half my pre-paid card, just listening to the computer telling me what the options are, then sitting on a "WAITING" list....

Thursday 28 September 2006 - 02:47PM (PDT)

omg Marty what a shock that must have been lol it takes all sorts u know but I'm sure it must have been embarrasing for you! As the short time I have known you I can tell you are a real gent and totally devoted to your wife and children.... Also I get those calls all the time and they are a real pain in the backside aint they?

Friday 29 September 2006 - 12:35AM (BST)

Its sad about where service is going these days. Here in bath they are just about to build the huge northgate shopping complex which will walk through a couple of blocks. And all the small interesting shops are closing. I can just imagine the kind of tenants that will be able to afford to be in the shopping complex — café nero, accessorise, topshop, blah. While we love them they just do not have the character and personal touch of small businesses.

Friday 29 September 2006 - 09:00AM (BST)

Well put, Marty. You might easily have embarassed a lot of people, but no, you are explicit without being coarse.
Love, EC

Friday 29 September 2006 - 01:14PM (CEST)

Oh good one Marty. Do you know of the comedian guy who has a CD of calls where he does whacky things to telemarketers? The one I heard was where he pretended he shot somebody and asked the telemarketer for advice on how to clean up the blood. It was brilliant.

Your Basic Instinct experience was hilarious. Being somebody who doesn't drink, I've had similar experiences when accompanying drinking friends to bars during the college years.

Friday 29 September 2006 - 12:05PM (EDT)

Brenny. One of the funniest telephone "wind up" recordings I have heard is where a guy, who did a test drive of a prestige car, phoned the dealer to place an order, but everytime he went to give he credit card number, he feigned signal problems, so the salesman spent 20 minutes trying to get the card number without success. It was hilarious!

Friday 29 September 2006 - 05:35PM (BST)

i am lucky enough to live in a busy little village with lots of little independent shops and i try to support them as much as possible. i am also lucky that if i ring my bank it is possible to be connected to the branch and speak to a familiar member of staff.

Friday 29 September 2006 - 09:22PM (BST)

Marty, I have seen the story from both sides. Years ago (in the late 80s) I had my own fruit & veg shop. Like all small businesses I thrived because of the service I provided. It was hard work, but it was ultimately very very satisfying.
I work in a call-centre at the moment. While the physical description you gave was spot on, I would say that not all CCs are the same. Working in the benefits system in this country has never been an easy job, but since much of the work has moved into this kind of environment it has become, in many respects, even harder.
I am a Mentor, my job is to ensure staff are kept current on all aspects of the job. I spend a LOT of every day hammering home the point to staff that customer service is VERY VERY important. I always remind them what it's like being at the other end of the phone. I remind them they should treat people as they would want to be treated themselves, not as a statistic, not as a number, not just a voice at the other end of the line, but a real person who expects to be treated with respect.

Saturday 30 September 2006 - 12:48AM (BST)


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