As you’re reading this, there is for the purposes of this article only 2 possible situations. You work for a company that does outside representation, or you don’t… (work; work for a company; work in a company that provides services or products or both).
But whether or not you do, I am assuming that you will be able to understand the initial thought behind this rant.
Have you ever had to change lanes because a delivery was made, and the driver was unable to park the van somewhere it would not have an effect on other peoples’ time?
Have you ever had someone overtaking you recklessly on a highway or anywhere for that matter, whilst the vehicle had clear markings?
Have you ever been verbally abused by a driver of a branded vehicle?
If you can say yes to at least 1 of the above simple situations, then answer me this: how did it make you feel about the company that employs such slobs?
It’s been a while again, and before posting a missing rant on representing your organisation, I thought I’d give you an insight into a few ingenious products I came accross and have started using frequently.
The series begins with these rather stylish speakers for my new iPhone 4 (for which, I need not rant ), and their incredible price/quality ratio. But let us not jump ahead!
It’s been a while now that I’ve been looking for a solution to listening to music on the go -mobile you might say – and I’ve had tries with several versions. A Philips and a Sony Alarm/Dock/Charger, several mini-speakers in ball-shape, and of course a wide selection of headphones (in-ear, on-ear, even a large wireless version). None of them however ended up being used frequently, they were mostly cumbersome to move, and most of the time not that effective with my iPhone…
With a rather diversified educational and professional experience, I have come to learn what I am good at, and what others are better at. Thanks to a lot of good guidance over the years, I have come to learn that it is not only best to work with experts, I have come to learn how to work with experts!
Off the top of my head, and before going into much more detail in the coming weeks, here’s a brief list of “jargon” that should give you an idea as to where I may be of assistance:
Social Networks: in particular Facebook and Luxembourg
Web and basic IT architecture/infrastructure
Print, concept to draft design to distribution
Public relations, and in particular presenting
Basically, I have an interest in a lot of subjects, and if we do sit together to discuss your project, I will probably have an idea on how to help you, and if I can’t (help you), I will have an idea on who to contact next. Please note that I have a full-time job at the moment, and that this job will remain my top-priority.
Thank you for taking the time to read about me, and please do not hesitate to get in touch with me should you have any questions.
As you, loyal reader, might already know, traffic conditions in and around Luxembourg can be pretty bad. We do have radio stations that on a regular basis list a few issues, but they’re not always “up-to-speed”…
Same goes for those apps that use the public network of highway cameras – what good are they if you don’t take the highway?
And then it hit me. The only way to have this working out for everyone, is if it is all of these at the same time: free of charge, quick to update, easy to use, rewarding and useful (of course). Now imagine you’re on the highway stuck in a traffic jam, you take your iPhone® or other Twitter®-capable device, switch on your preferred Twitter®-app, and tell this to your followers: “hey guys, am stuck in traffic, again…”. Now imagine your followers could also recognize the geo-tag of where you’ve written this, and they would know exactly where not to drive without you needing to explain it to anyone.
My journey began looking for “gluey-stuff-removers” in the paint section, and as I needed to remove this stuff from my car, I wanted to make sure the remover wouldn’t scrape the paint off the car. After quite some time, the laid-back lady behind the counter took a customer enquiry over the phone and after a few mumblings replied: “Vous parlez français aussi?” (Do you also speak French?). This being a common point of discussion in Luxembourg with 3 official languages, but not everyone speaking all of them, I didn’t catch the drift right away. She then said in a rather assertive tone “Je vous passe mon collègue!” (I’ll pass you over to my colleague) and actually slammed the phone so hard onto the counter I thought it must be broken – my eyes shut instinctively as I was afraid there might be some flying pieces of plastic! She finished it off by telling her colleague smugly: “Il a bien compris ce que je lui disais en français hein!” (He had no issues understanding my French).
For years, I have been advocating self-checkouts in all kinds of places, yet everyone always told me it wasn’t going to catch on. Then back in my London-time, I saw a Tesco in the Bank area that had nearly only self-checkouts and I tried to grasp all the (dis)advantages of the change: less staff – less training – quicker checkouts?… But was it really that? Does it really take less staff and less training, or does it take less staff sitting in tills all day and just a more advanced training to fewer people? Are checkouts really quicker, or does it feel quicker as you are busy checking out?
Then came the era in Luxembourg (finally) where you could buy tickets at cinema online or at small self-checkouts, and along came IKEA and Auchan and more organisations such as Quick. Whilst the first 3 really do seem to make it a quicker experience for me, the 4th was still dependent on the speed of the person serving my order as that process could not be transferred to me.
But the most pressing thought that just popped to my mind is that even if it is not really quicker or more convenient, I’d still have a tendency to just use the machines anyways, as it removes in most cases a variable that is a potentially bigger burden than a potential improvement: customer service!
This week was marked by a development that was somewhat unexpected to me. A place that I’ve been going to for a very long time now, a place that I’ve tremendously enjoyed, has been holding my lesser visits against me. Don’t get me wrong, the relationship has developed to a very casual and joking setting, and indeed, I’ve been going there a lot less than say a year ago, but this has nothing to do with them. I just do it less.
Now when I try to extrapolate, I can understand that in other circumstances (read: other cultures), this may be a common approach: joking about guilting customers in increasing their custom, but to me and quite a few of my local peers, this has been and still is very strenuous as I (we) do care a lot about what people think about me (us). It has now gone as far as to make me consider choosing another place for the time being where I can just go to, not befriend and just transact with at a superficial level where quality/price ratio is the only important variable.