Thursday, 12 December 2013

Article: Punch - trade secrets revealed

It's a funny thing that one of the many things we all agree on is how we loathe poor business practises in it's myriad of forms from bad HR departments through to aggressive sales practises and appalling customer services, yet the maxim is, "there is no such thing as bad publicity." I would beg to differ as enough bad publicity really ought to result in any organisation, enterprise or business failing or at least result in it being overhauled sensibly in the case of government departments and services to the public.

When you make contact with such organisations and services you often waste your phone bill waiting for someone to answer or waste time and money on emails and letters sent to either get no response at all, abusive response or fobbed off entirely. Such practises should indicate that the service (or product) is not worth the hassle of seeking via that supplier. Things become more difficult when there is no alternative e.g. health, education, utility sectors etc. 

If you finally get through often you find the people responding don’t have a clue what you are talking about because they ‘haven’t been trained yet’ or are ‘only temps’ and ‘it’s not MY fault’. Of course it is... you didn’t have to accept the job with no training with ANY company or engage with any enterprise that only employs lobotomised baboons for staff because that is what it’s actually run by. Then again when that's the only work you can get what can you do? You can complain to the authorities that regulate as that is what they are there for and the media is only too happy to support you in that.

If you’re financially stable enough and a humane being you would just leave and take your chances with the people YOU respect. In the case of government we voted them into power or let get in there by other means such as disinterest, fear and apathy.

When you finally calm down enough to explain the problem you often are told that they have ‘never heard it before’ and can’t understand what on earth you are talking about. BULLSHIT. They hear it all the time AND it’s what they complain about all the time  themselves! Does it change anything... er no. At least, not as often or as speedily as it should in the case of larger organisations who can afford to lose thousands of customers a day by being rude to them or non-responsive... or can they? From supermarkets to mobile phone providers, customers are getting increasingly adept at naming and shaming and voting with their purses and wallets.

When organisations do a fix of the problem it can get worse, so they do another fix based on the bad practises they started with to make matters worse. So you go to their competitor and it it can be the same story but with more buttons and prettier and more plentiful flashing lights! If your computer program does not work in so far as being able to save things or edit things without a glitch do you REALLY think all those bright new shiny flashy things on your NEW gadget will work any better? I mean really, do you?

How often do you use the extra shiny flashy things anyway? The more we have the more confused we get! At this rate chalk, slate and carrier pigeons will soon be the height of fashion again so it’s best to invest in them early if you want to make a killing financially.

Oh... and then there’s the accounts department that never compensates you and we wonder why we end up in a financial crisis when we refuse to spend what money we have and just stuff it under our matresses instead.

It's as if, if we’re not corrupt we are inefficient, if we’re not inefficient we’re stupid and if we are not any of those we are having a breakdown which puts extra strain and pressure on poor sods like me who’s duty it is to mop up and fix things properly only we can’t now because we all just want to have our breakdowns en masse in piece and quiet thereby transferring the pressure and mayhem to someone else for them to take their turn at having a breakdown later. Er... that ain't gonna help.

“Anyone for Beachy Head,” was actually a comment from a brilliant finance manager (now Finance Manager/Venue Manager/Ops Manager/Tech Manager and assistant to the Managing Director of the entire company due to cuts!) But they and the company are still going because they are that determined to succeed and overcome every challenge that comes their way. At the time I said we’d need a convoy of double decker buses to get to Beachy Head at least! (Beachy Head has the reputation of being a prime location for committing suicide for those of your that don't know).

Nothing much changes and what does, does so slowly except when people panic.

Well to ensure things change for better more rapidly I’ve come up with a cunning plan that may, or may not involve... a turnip (ref: Blackadder TV series). It depends on whether or not it needs inserting sideways I think. Then again a caber might be better for some customer service, HR and finance alleged professionals.

And it is simply this... I think what we perhaps need is a name and shame customer service blog site that is owned by everyone to cheer us all up and it would help vent some of our frustrations SAFELY without actually killing anyone. No, I didn’t say I would kill anyone with anything... actually being from Irish and Yorkshire descent rather than a turnip, I would most likely opt for something like a shellalagh smeared in pigeon droppings inserted sideways and send in a ferret with a potato to fetch it out again ready for the next arsehole as punishment. I like to be thorough and think ahead. It was the way I got inspired by proper professionals.

Anyway... I was thinking something rather like this... only with much larger boxes to fill in. It’s how I keep my records. I am very sneaky because I then go off and tell regulatory bodies first about bad practises and breaches in the law as prevention is always better and cheaper than cure... and there's always tweeting to the Prime Minister if you have a rotten MP or government department.

Here's just a couple of minor examples from my archives... will be named and shamed next year in full unless it gets it's act together beforehand. I'm over 70 emails of complaints in and they have stopped responding altogether over some basic errors that could be easily corrected if they had wit enough to bother.


Poor strategic planning and non-payment of staff who were trying to save them money by coming up with something better
2 years before and during the Olympics 2012

Fed Ex

Poor delivery of goods as customer could not leave signed authorisation note in the street to be blown away or stolen
Oct 2013

I also research the CEO’s history and then nudge the media behind the scenes so everyone can see where we at with regard to making services and company policy and procedures work for customers and service users!

It's far quicker than going through the hassle, time, money and expense of court procedures. I mean let’s face it and be honest, trial by media really has something going for it these days, doesn’t it? AND it has the added benefit of making us feel a whole lot more secure too as others are only too eager to pipe up about their bad experiences and it's all highly theraputic to begin with at least. With all these oh so necessary, must have devices and channels we won’t be short of options to name and shame anything publicly ever again. Just one tiny weeny snag with all that though...

ALL THIS TECHNOLOGY STILL DOESN’T WORK AS IT SHOULD ANYWAY. Internet of things = Internet of dreams is more akin to the internet of doom, despair, rant and vitriol and personal abuse unless you can phrase things politely, ethically and with logical argument... it takes practice and I have still not reached perfection on this myself. Being human I don't expect to either.

Brains the size of planets? 

(Ref Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, book film, radio and TV series). It can be more like brains the size of fossilised car parks obliterated by all known chemical weaponry and nuclear bombs! I mean, why don’t scientists and inventors behave as such and get opinions first from the point-of-sale customers that will use their marvellous products and services because be assured they can tell you what risks, hazards and potential dangers there are if you ASK them first. Doh!

What I would like science to do before proceeding with any more bright ideas to drive us all insane, violent, to mass suicide or war is to anticipate outcomes more, prior to release of products perhaps with all governments kicking their arses all the way.

So to help with all of that... we need new form of course... As it happens here’s one I prepared earlier, and we the public could get to monitor progress for once... as it happens!

Item to fix
By what date
Why not done
Who’s being sacked
Why not sacked
Is it fixed, if answer is no companies funding by every means possible
 Customer service


 PC program


 Credit Control

New product or invention

New service

What we also need of course is a list of employers that are breaking the laws of every land for NOT complying with them for all the things they do wrong with money. Personally I will leave you to design that one for yourselves for the list of categories stretches from here to infinity for all eternity and beyond... or so it seems to me. But what would I know, I and my former colleagues in health care only have to patch you AND the transgressors up all the time.

“Which currency would you like to pay for your health, social services, charities and ‘benefits’ in? Blood, death, war or cash sirs?"


However, here are just a few of the more notable names in my historic list so far of those who have not abided by the law or who have tried to sue me for things which were not my fault. ALL of whom I have reported to the appropriate authorities already and being historic cases I cannot comment on their practises now.

Tangelo Designs from Barton-le-Clay (non payment of work)
Leisure Connections, Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire (breach of employment law, non payment of work)
Luton Borough Council (breach of employment law, awful HR department)
Aylesbury Vale District Council (breach of employment law)

Rushmere Wynne plc (Corrupt business practises, company long since taken over YAY!)

The list continues to grow. Still outstanding for reforms which are under way is of course...

Department of Work and Pensions (non payment of entitled benefits)

It remains to be seen as to whether or not the current overhaul will fix the basic essentials properly or not. So far it isn't for too many people. Then we'll have an election which may or may not result in it all being changed back to what it was before again I suppose. And they call this progress! 

I can say all this because to me it matters not how or when I die, others will ensure that these matters are resolved eventually. It would be nice to think that the solutions come in time to prevent the casualty list of those who suffer or die as a consequence of badly conceived ideas getting longer. What is vital here is for our governments to ensure that all organisations DO abide by the ethical laws of their lands when it comes to business practises so perhaps they will take this suggestion... 

Dear Governments

Please make it easier for everyone to report illegal practises by providing us all with the necessary vehicles to do so and the appropriate regulatory authorities to force compensation out of those who cause the financial abuse of others to the detriment of the whole economy globally. Perhaps several dedicated websites to that purpose might help. #Justsaying, #justanidea. 

High time that nice companies, enterprises and organisations ALWAYS finished first. High time that in the event of economic collapse there are safeguards in place to prevent community services, vital to the health of any nation ever being in any jeopardy of failing to save lives and prevent suffering.

Just because things have always been this way does not mean they have to remain in chaos. We all have a part to play in preventing disasters no matter what our role, position, background or personal circumstances may be. I am a 'positive possibilitist' I hope, dear readers, you are too. 

Keep calm, keep focused, be considerate of all and above all play nicely and fairly and maybe we can eradicate corruption, cruelty, poverty and abuse of all kinds from our planet in as little as 100 years. For that to happen it requires teamwork as never before as we now live in a world that is totally connected financially. What we now need to do is be in agreement ethically. What matters is not what mistakes are made, but how we resolve them sensibly for a healthy future for every individual on this beautiful planet so that all may achieve something of their true potential. Good luck everyone in that endeavour for all may profit, each according to their abilities and desires. Luckily not everyone wants to be the richest or most powerful person on the planet anyway, so why the fear that the rank and file want their jobs? Daft is what I call it.