Friday, 10 July 2009

Quick reminder - my blog has moved...

Hi there – I have now moved my blog to the following address:

It’s still very much ‘You’ve Been Crumped’ but with the added element of ‘No Refund Culture’. An explanation of what this is all about can be read on the new blog by clicking here.

Sunday, 5 July 2009

My blog has moved

Hi there - I have now moved my blog to the following address:

It's still very much 'You've Been Crumped' but with the added element of 'No Refund Culture'. An explanation of what this is all about can be read on the new blog by clicking here.

I have moved it to a new place so that it is easier to use (and hopefully looks a bit better) - let me know what you think of the new look. The new theme on the blog is fun as in the top right hand corner as the reader you can change the colours depending on your mood.

If you follow me please change the RSS feed or the address in your reader.

If you have kindly linked to me in your blogroll then it would be great if you could change the web address.

Thanks, Neil

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Modern living: Automation drives me bingo bango

There is an old adage that ‘if it isn’t broke don't fix it’. I wish that organisations would remember this, especially when it comes to automation of customer service processes that seemed to work perfectly well prior to the implementation of an algorithm.

The biggest culprit is clearly the telephone helpline. I am sure that on paper they somehow make sense, i.e. money is being saved somewhere along the line. But what about the hapless mug on the end of phone? ‘Cause that's how you end up feeling.

How many times, having dialled the number, typing in endless hash tags and single digit numbers (a #1#5#4#1#5#2…) to navigate through endless menu options and then listening to muzak for 15 plus minutes you end up:
  • With the phone being accidentally hung up as the operator answers

  • With the line going dead as it simply times out

  • Hanging up in pure frustration having been bored to death by a voice 'artist' who keeps telling you how they are ‘experiencing a higher than average volume of calls’

The whole telephone thing drives me crazy (top tip is just press nothing and often, after being prompted loads of times to press buttons, you get whizzed through to a person - RESULT).

A further example of automation craziness was last night. While waiting on the platform to come back on a train from Birmingham New Street station, I heard the following announcement: ‘I am sorry that the 22:30 to London Euston will be delayed…’ This again came from an automated system. In this instance ‘WE are sorry…’ would be better. I don’t want an apology from an automated system – I will let it apologise for the collective train company – but a computer generated human voice sorry just doesn’t wash.

This post was actually started on my Blackberry as I sat in the new and improved (!) post office, on the High Street in Camden. And yes folks, you guessed it they have gone all automated on us. Gone are the sheep pen ropes that zig zagged in front of the counters (obviously they were unloved – us Brits HATE queuing) and now we have a deli counter ticket system – one where you take a numbered ticket and wait your turn. This is complimented with a front of house refit – now more white with red, rather than red with white and faux red leather modern(ish) looking couches.

On paper I can see that this is a BRILLIANT idea – I can see the concept, the storyboard, I bet in the marketing team meeting it was fabulous. But guess what – it doesn’t work. Basically I waited for one whole hour – I’ve never queued in a post office for that long – ever. You cannot tell how long the wait is going to be – you just sit there – ageing.

When my number got called I had to stop myself from screaming out ‘House’ like I was in a bingo hall (I was surrounded by sweet old ladies). People were moaning and arguing with the staff left, right and centre – generally a miserable and depressing experience – well done Post Office.

One thought I have had is that this has been done on purpose. The point being to force people to do more things online. Create a bingo hall and folk like me won’t want to go on in there.

Monday, 29 June 2009

Forget Pablo, may I introduce Neil Picasso...

I was hopeless at drawing at school. Have a go at doing your own at Mr Picasso Head.