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jarich (4909)

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I run Perl Training Australia [] with pjf [] and do a lot of the course writing and maintenance. I also organise the courses we run, so if you want one, just ask. I hang around a bit on Perlmonks [] and also help run Melbourne Perl Mongers [].

Journal of jarich (4909)

Monday September 08, 2008
11:04 PM

Customer service

[ #37393 ]

It's not that the customer/potential customer/person out on the street is always right. It's just that a little bit of courtesy and faith that they're not trying to mis-represent the situation can go a long way for improving your business reputation. As such, many businesses require a certain amount of professionalism by their staff when that staff is acting in any way which might be viewed as representing the company. This includes responding to emails from those customers/potential customers/persons out on the street. Calling such a person, who tried to alert you to a flaw in your business practices, a liar, isn't really appropriate. Doing so, under the title of "Production Director" is even worse.

So I introduce you to a really odd email exchange I had. I've left it unedited, except I've removed the company's name and John's surname. This is because although I find them guilty; it would be unprofessional for me to name and shame them so publicly. Make sure you read the subject line from the response. I thought it was spam at first.

From: Jacinta Richardson
Sent: Friday, 29 August 2008 8:10 PM
To: John
Subject: Rude event hire driver

G'day John,

At about 1pm today, as I was cycling down Swanston Street, in the Copenhagen style lanes I found myself obstructed by one of your vans completely blocking my way.  I'm not sure if you're aware of these lanes, but they run on the road between the footpath and parked cars with a small, gutter-high built-up pavement separating the lane from those parked cars (and reducing the concerns of opening passenger doors).  This separating pavement is not something a cyclist can easily hop over.

Your driver, today, had stopped his van in the bike lane just where the bike lane merged with the regular road, just north of Victoria Street (although on the eastern, southward bound side).  This completely blocked the exit from the copenhagen lane for all cyclists.  I imagine he did this because there was no parking bays available, although I don't see that as an excuse to park illegally.  Had your driver parked even a metre further forward then cyclists could have easily exited the lane and gone around him.  He would still have been illegally parked, but it would not have required myself and other cyclists to stop their bikes, lift them over the copenhagen divider and then continue onwards.

The driver was heavy set, with pale skin and blonde hair.  He was reading a newspaper and drinking coffee and seemed surprised that anyone would even try to ask him to move his vehicle to a less obstructing place (yet alone somewhere he could legally park), but he had been there for some time, and certainly didn't move while I could see him.  The van should probably also be redecorated with your company details, as it looked a very tatty.

Behaviour like this isn't good for your business.  As it happened, I was on the way to a meeting to arrange hiring of an event company for a product launch for one of my clients.  Unfortunately for you, I encouraged said client to choose someone else.

Su bject: Time you concerned you concerned yourself with real Community issues.Now read on!
Date: Mon, 1 Sep 2008 12:50:45 +1000
From: John
To: Jacinta Richardson

Hi Jacinta, Thank you for your email and I am some what surprised by your comments and there inaccuracy.
Our vehicle had broken down and had stopped 15 metres from that point. Our driver rolled his vehicle into the side of the road to prevent it from blocking traffic and possibly causing an accident.
Sending us an email is your right, but it really appears you should be more concerned and proactive about things in the real world like pollution, hunger, those less fortunate than ourselves and the homeless, we do care about the community and are actively involved in many projects, it shows you
to be a very shallow person, and one who does not contribute to society except by complaining about such a minor issue.
As a role model Company and a leader in this industry you could do well to learn from this very frivolous complaint of yours.
Raise your horizons and contribute to our community.

John ....
Production Director
For the Event Team

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  • Overly rude, unnecessary defensive and labelling the poster with some imaginary defect.

    I'm sure this guy is hanging out on one or more perl IRC channels.

  • they can't even keep their trucks in working order? With that lack of attention to detail, what else are they doing wrong?

    You were well-advised to steer potential customers away from them!

  • I do not know the traffic laws in your country in detail, but in Denmark the driver would have to set out the little orange triangle, found in the back of vehicles - I think 25 meters. The triangle should be set out behind the vehicle to avoid accidents.

    If the law is the same in your country, the vehicle was apparently not broken down and accidents could still happen.

    Please do not hang me up on the details, since I do not own a drivers license. I am primarily a biker - Copenhagen style.

  • Ah yes, the old "the world sucks, so we can do whatever we want to do" excuse.
  • Now you've made ME angry.