Service Smackdown 6: Casual dining, casual service?

It’s an occupational hazard of this line of work that I feel obliged to fill in online feedback forms whenever the opportunity is presented. Recently I’ve been invited to do so by two outlets operated by Tragus Group – whose website proclaims they are one of the UK’s largest casual dining groups and their brands include high street favourites Strada, Bella Italia and Café Rouge. As they use the same survey engine it seems a good opportunity to promote a Service Smackdown bout between two evenly-matched  opponents: in the red corner, armed with several bottles of lethal brew, the Belgian Bruiser that is Belgo; in the blue corner, with an audience of adoring fans across the country, I give you Strada! Seconds out…

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Service Smackdown 5: Apple and the road to power

This is not so much a straight fight but more a series of skirmishes along the road to power – the power in this case being the power supply enabling my wife’s new iPhone to function effectively.  It’s a story of persistence in the face of supply chain problems and one customer service rep’s action turning a mediocre and frustrating experience into superior service…

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Service Smackdown 4: Man vs IKEA

During a period known in these parts as ‘between contracts’ I have been doing a fair bit of home improvement and, inevitably, this has involved a trip to the temple of home-furnishing-and-lifestyle that is IKEA. Time then to put myself into the ring to take on the Swedish behemoth in possibly the most one-sided bout in the Smackdown series. But first a bit of history…

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Can supermarkets deliver? Ocado vs Waitrose – Service Smackdown

This is the first – in a series of completely unfair, no-holds-barred customer service evaluations of two similar providers based on recent experiences. First into the ring, Ocado, the pioneer online supermarket synonymous with Waitrose’s high-end brands. And leaping over the ropes, here comes – uh – Waitrose, the high-end online supermarket. Confused? This post won’t help – but might illustrate how to get some basics right in this highly competitive area. Seconds out, round one. Continue reading “Can supermarkets deliver? Ocado vs Waitrose – Service Smackdown”

Of fonts, film and (rugby) football

As someone whose walls are decorated with a fair amount of typography and calligraphy (an abiding interest from my wife’s days as an art student) I was interested to see the furore generated by IKEA’s decision to change its catalogue font from Futura to the more screen-friendly Verdana. Is this just an issue for font-geeks or a massive erosion of the brand loyalty engendered over many years of superior flat-pack design and serving countless Swedish meatballs? Continue reading “Of fonts, film and (rugby) football”

Don’t leave me this way: switching mobile networks

j0422787.jpgHaving been happily married for many years I don’t really remember my last relationship break-up – and it’s probably fair to say that any notions I have are informed by films, plays or books (or the Archers come to think of it). However I had a reminder of what it might have been like following a recent break-up with O2. Paraphrasing somewhat, it went a bit like this: Continue reading “Don’t leave me this way: switching mobile networks”

Better late than never – the 2008 Open Chord awards!

Happy New Year - it’s the best of last year!I’ve spent a large chunk of the holiday season reading the papers and they’re chock full of articles looking back at 2008 and looking forward to 2009. Depending on how grouchy I’m feeling it’s either a neat bit of recycling or plain lazy journalism. Whatever, this year I’m not going to be left out and so I’m proud present the first annual Open Chord Awards for superior customer service.
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