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In this Episode of theShugrHeds…
…We were invited to attend David Gold’s Annual Garden party at his home in Surrey. It was a great day out and enjoyed the party ShugrHed style!

Customer Relations in 2017

What I have always admired about David Gold’s companies is that even though they are large international traders, they still have the service quality of a small independent specialist.

No, my gripe is with large web based companies. I have mixed feelings about Customer Service these days. It seems to be very extremist – either exceptionally good or exceptionally bad! It also seems that there is no room for unusual problems anymore. If it doesn’t have a box to tick on the operator’s screen, you’re in limbo. Unfortunately, for me, I am a magnet for unusual problems.

When you order something from the internet, it generally goes like a well oiled machine. The postage is cheap or free and you have a great product for a great price. But say, for instance, the warehouse picker is having an off day and the company ends up sending you the wrong product. My heart sags. Because I know it’s going to be hassle. I know it’s not the end of the world and that this really is 1st world problems, but I find it intensely irritating. All the benefits of online purchase disappear – from no fault of mine.

David Gold's Open Day of his Surrey Mansion

David Gold’s Open Day of his Surrey Mansion

See ya, Tootz!

It’s feels like now the company has your money, they’re no longer interested in what you have to say. It’s a well known fact that modern companies are far more interested in acquiring new customers than keeping existing customers. To the extent that a salesperson openly advised me to cancel my contract at the end of the year and start again as a new customer!
You metaphorically have to do a little seductive dance to get any kind of help. First of all you have to actually discover the button to press for help. eBay are particularly bad for this because they actively hide options from you. It seems like an algorithm figures out which item you need help with and then suspends all options from that item.

David Gold's Open Day of his Surrey Mansion

David Gold’s Open Day of his Surrey Mansion

Power in all the wrong places

For an item that you got on time and in perfect condition, you can log a complaint, return the item or have the seller castrated at the touch of a button. But for the item you have a problem with – all useful options are removed. I had to google the problem with eBay in the search text because eBay’s help desk was so useless.

David Gold's Open Day of his Surrey Mansion

David Gold’s Open Day of his Surrey Mansion

Yo Customer, RTFM!

Eventually you find the button to press so you can contact the seller. But then they offer up 3 vaguely related FAQ’s hoping you’ll read that, then just leave them the hell alone. Finally you enter your message, something goes wrong, the page refreshes and you have to enter the message a second time from memory because the message box got wiped clean.

**PRO TIP** write long winded text-box answers in a text editor. When you are done copy and paste it into the screen form.

An Englishman in New Delhi?

Don’t get me wrong, I am tech savvy – I am a programmer! But screen forms have gone wrong often enough for me to offer this tip above!

Then you get a message back that proves that no-one has actully read your request. It’s just gone through an “Artificial Intelligence” processor. You bite the bullet and phone the helpdesk. You talk to a “Brian Smith” who has a very unusual accent for a Brit with that name and explain the problem several times without much success. As you explain the problem for the umpteenth time, a solution dawns on you. You say thanks very much and good-bye.
“Is there anything else I can help you with today, Sir?”
“What do you mean anything else? You didn’t even help me with this.” I think, but don’t say.

High five, brah!

I can imagine an office full of executives somewhere with someone pointing to a line graph where the line dives sharply upwards. The title saying “Customer Satisfaction over 6 months”. Then they all congratulate each other on a great job.

How it could be

I enjoy reading the philosophical musings of Buckminster Fuller. He was one of the inspirations behind Disney’s “Golf Ball” at the Epcot center and had much to say on the future of society and how it could be restructured.

He pointed out that modern technology should be utilised to help all of mankind, not just a select few. Take for example, the car industry. They introduce robots and higher efficiency practices to their production line. They save lots of money because of this. Does it go back into the product or benefit the customer? No – it affords increased profits to the people who own the company.

David Gold's Open Day of his Surrey Mansion

David Gold’s Open Day of his Surrey Mansion

The philosophy is all wrong. It should be about making a better and better product, not making one group of already privileged people even more privileged.

How it is

It’s no wonder that so many people are against change and new technology. As a people, we don’t see much benefit from it. If anything, it brings a lot of negative aspects eg pay-cuts, job losses, struggling economy. Are the ones in charge ever going to lose their stranglehold on us?

I sure hope so.

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