Options and Messages

Many, if not most, people dislike options and automated messages when they phone companies. It’s something that we have to put up with. As companies get bigger departments get bigger, hence a system to put you through to the relevant department. Otherwise you would get through to someone who would have to put you through to someone else, then they would transfer you to yet another person. A large company could end up with 100 switchboard operators and very few people actually helping the customer.

Some companies have very easy options to negotiate when you call them, while others are horrendous.

Without mentioning names, one of our partner companies has to have one of the best option systems I’ve come across. One of my customers told me that he had counted up to 19 options! You get to the third set of options to be greeted with the statement: ‘You will now have 3 final options.’ Note the word final. You press the number you want only to be greeted with the next statement: ‘You now have 6 options.’ Love it!

So the options are there hopefully to help us get through to the correct department. It doesn’t always work. Many people couldn’t be bothered to press the right option. They then begin their transfer journey and end up quite annoyed by the time they get through to the correct person. Solution? Press the right option.

Then there’s the automated messages. I often get a customer saying: ‘Are you a person or a robot?’ I stay silent so they can make up their own minds. We’re not allowed to advise.

Because so many companies are regulated by various organisations, they put the relevant information on a recorded message. It saves the agent having to tell each and every customer the legal bits. The agent can concentrate on the subject you are calling about. Of course it’s annoying to hear all this information. Welcome to regulations in the 21st century.

Customers – that’s all of us – either want to feel safe when making a purchase, or would we prefer to go back to a few decades ago when companies could do and say anything to get money from us? Regulations and growth in business have necessitated the option system and the automated messages. It’s not going to change. They may find ways of making it easier, but it won’t stop. We will all have to put up with it.

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Week’s Holiday

This last week I’ve been on holiday.

It was nice not to be at work. Nice not speaking to grumpy customers. Nice not dealing with complaints. Nice not to hear all the moans and groans about work. Nice to have time to myself. Nice to be with the family. But now it’s ended 😦

I had a weeks sojurn down Brean Sands with the family. Managed to see my parents who live in Bridgwater too. Lots of money spent.

The cats went to the cattery. My cat and our little stray, Star, who is now living with my daughter. They were both glad to be home. Especially my cat, Smudge, who apparently spent most of the week hiding under the carpet in his enclosure.

We all felt guilty about leaving the cats but knowing where they were, and that they were looked after was very important to us.

Now I’m back home I have the exhausting and never ending job of gardening to do. The grass in the back garden is at least 2 feet high. Not good.

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Petition

In March a petition with over 100,000 signatures was handed in to the UK government, by the British Veterinary Association (BVA). The petition, raised by the BVA, was an attempt to stop slaughter without stunning, which is the current method used in halal (Muslim) and shechita (Jewish) meat industry.

The BVA and animal welfare organisations are against these forms of slaughter as the animal is conscious while killed and often takes several minutes to die. Stunning before slaughter minimises pain and suffering.

The UK government said it had “no intention” of outlawing religious slaughter, regardless of public feeling, or advice from the country’s top vets – people who obviously know what they are talking about. In fact the UK government have said that it is more a case of religious prejudice then animal welfare. Well I’m not Muslim or Jewish and I certainly find it offensive to be given halal or kosher foods. It has nothing to do with my beliefs and should not be forced on to me. When I’m handed this type of food I find it very prejudicial.

There are animal welfare laws in the UK. Laws that state that an animal must be stunned before slaughter. Religious groups are exempted from this law.

Is it right to condone the breaking of a law because of someone’s religious belief?

Lee Rigby was murdered in broad daylight by Michael Adebolajo, and Michael Adebowale who said they were doing it for religious reasons. Were they exempted from murder? Thankfully not.

So why is the UK government allowing the painful death of living creatures just because of some medieval religious reason?

According to the website Chabad.org (http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/222240/jewish/What-is-Shechita.htm), What is Shechita?
“Shechita is performed by a highly trained shochet. The procedure consists of a rapid and expert transverse incision with an instrument of surgical sharpness (a chalaf), which severs the major structures and vessels at the neck. This causes an instant drop in blood pressure in the brain and immediately results in the irreversible cessation of consciousness. Thus, shechita renders the animal insensible to pain, dispatches and exsanguinates in a swift action, and fulfils all the requirements of humaneness and compassion.”

In the case of mammals, the thoracic cavity has to be examined to make sure there are no lesions on the organs in the chest. This is often done before the animal is dead.

Halal slaughter is very similar: the cutting of the throat without the animal being stunned, and then allowing it to die while a prayer to Allah is said over it. It is supposed to be done with a sharp knife and well away from any other animal – alive or dead – so that the animal being slaughtered does not get stressed.

At least that’s what these religious groups are saying.

An undercover investigation in Yorkshire filmed animals being kicked and stamped on, as well as being hacked to death in a halal abattoir.

An abattoir in Beirut was closed down after world outrage of animals being kicked, beaten, stamped on, as well as bulls being dragged by fingers in their eye sockets.

After public outrage, Australia has stopped exporting cattle to Indonesia because of cruelties inflicted on the animals.

An Asian abattoir in Florida is currently being investigated because of animals being skinned alive or having their heads turned 360 degrees to kill them.

All very religious I’m sure.

I often hear religious people say that their God created the Earth and everything on it. Surely if God is the prime artist and you ‘respect’ the artist then you would see the artists work as being priceless? Or am I being naïve? Why do some religions think that they can commit any kind of brutality and it’s ok?

I believe that everything on Earth has a soul and is created by God, or by this miraculous planet that we live on. We are all connected to this planet and cannot live without the other creatures on it.

I also believe in natural justice – you only need look at the state of the Middle East to see it at work.

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Moving Team – Again

Just before christmas I was told I would be moving to another department. I wasn’t worried as I’d worked there before and enjoyed it. I went to a great team – some of whom I already knew, and some I didn’t. And it just happened to be the manager I had in that department before. I was quite happy with the move.

Just after christmas I was told that our team were splitting up as my manager was taking over the rookies who needed a helping hand to settle in. So we all went to different teams. No problem, I was absolutely fine with where I ended up. Everyone was great.

I was there for two months and yet again I was told I was moving. This time it was because certain people, who did particular policies, had to be put together as they were all spread out. Luckily, I’m again quite happy with where I’ve ended up. Great people and a great manager.

However, some people have not been so lucky. One particular friend has been moved to another department, after some pitiful excuse that the company have used. They said she did something wrong on a call so have moved her. Thing is, a number of people have done something wrong on calls and they haven’t been moved into the other department.

There’s also a case of someone asking to be with their friends so strings were pulled to keep three people together!

I wondering how this is fair. Seems to be something underhanded going on here.

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Customer Service

We frequently get comments on our customer service. Fortunately the majority are praiseworthy. We offer a survey after calls so that people can leave a comment on the customer service they have. Our operatives – many of whom have letters after their names – have extremely good comments.

Our company is very particular in the way we speak to customers.However, once in a while we get a negative comment. Here’s an example of a conversation one of my colleagues had with a customer, on a day that a local power cut had thrown all of our systems down.

‘I want to cancel my policy.’ Said the customer.

‘I’m afraid I can’t do anything at the moment as a local power cut has caused our systems to go down. Would you be able to call back later?’

‘Don’t you want to know why I’m cancelling?’

‘Normally I would ask you, but unfortunately our systems are down at the moment so I’m not able to do anything for you.’

‘It’s because you customer service is crap! You can’t do anything! If you want to phone me tomorrow you can…’ Customer slammed the phone down.

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