Thursday, 12 November 2009

Don't talk to me about customer service!

I was going to just get on with my week, but then I had a 'customer service' moment with National Express! I probably wouldn't have mentioned it if not for the fact that a one of last weeks meetings we were being told (again - yawn) that we in the public sector must strive to be more like those paragons of good practice and efficiency - the private sector. I think I may scream if i hear that again any time soon. Before I get to National Express (soon not to be National Express....) most of my experiences with so called customer service in the private sector is pretty poor and looking around at some of the organisations we are urged to emulate they seem to achieve a lot of what is claimed by paying minimum wage or by 'offshoring production capacity' or charging for the toilets!

Anyway, at the local station, run by the aforementioned train company, there are ticket machines in the car park, produced or supplied by a well know manufacture (whom I am sure we should be emulating in some way). Time after time (after time) they refuse the credit card - after entering the PIN. It happens pretty much every timeand when you 'complain' the response is...you'll love it....'the management say that these machines work OK in other places so they must be OK here' and I am standing there with a total of over 30 slips telling me the machine cannot proceed! and apparantly is the end of the story as far as National Express is concerned....the machines do work here because we know they work in some other places. Yeah, lets copy that strategy with our citizens!

Anyway, rant over, for now. Last week ended well for two reasons. Firstly because I was in the North East rather than London and secondly becaue I was having a long awaited catch up with Colin Ashurst at Durham University Business School. It is always a stimulating discussion and on this occasion we focussed in on, among other things, leadership issues around shaping and developing tomorrow's organisation. One of the questions raised by Socitm is about the likelihood of tommorow's organisation being developed sucessfully by 'yesterday's' leadership...(discuss). Watch this space for more on this. If you want to discuss it why not visit http://www.opensocitm.com/ ?

This week (Nov 10th) began really week with the prospect of two days working from home and catching up on the mounting number of e mails and prioritiy areas and of dealing with some of the ongoing commercial issues within Socitm.......never easy, always interesting.

Wednesday, saw the Membership Board meeting, courtesy of Seimens (thanks) the highlights of which were welcoming two new members, Ellen our Head of Membership and Mark Bailey, a great presentation from the Learning Pool gang (Paul, Dave and  Lisa) and an update on our Aspire skills service. On Wednesday evening I hosted one of our 'trial by knife and fork' events where we invite candidates for roles within the Society (this one being for a  Head of Commercial Development) to attend for dinner and drinks prior to interviews the following day. I enjoyed it! Looking forward tot he interviews and will hopefully be able to anounce something soon. 

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