11 December 2012

"A man without a smiley face should not open a shop."

I have seen it claimed that there is a Chinese proverb which says, "a man without a smiley face should not open a shop."  I don't know if that's truly a Chinese proverb, or one of those internet things people repeat so easily, but in any event it strikes a chord.

We mostly know that Customer Service can often be all about first impressions. And that sometimes it's about being pleasant and human. And that actually, most often, it's about those two things working together in some kind of apparently quite hard to achieve, seamless, harmony.

We've all encountered people who should do Customer Service well; and don't.

This post has nothing much to add by way of wisdom. I just wanted to show you a small collection of signs I "found" recently on my way up a steep hill to a national literary landmark (I just about sneaked that in...) All in one shop window. Well, two windows really, but the same shop and two windows of no particular size.

The first is a little brusque, but no more than that - in isolation. There may be better ways of putting it, but on its own, it's not terrible...

But just in case you thought it might be a problem with the door... Here's another. It effectively says - get stuffed if you have children. Which puts the first into a bit of a new light.

And in case you missed the point, here it is jabbed hard into your pathetic, touristy, parenting face. We'd rather have dogs in the shop than you and your crappy children. Get it?

So maybe it's that they don't want money from parents particularly. Perhaps they just think dogs spend more? Oh, no. They ain't done yet...

...They really don't like anyone much. Coming in here with your stupid customer conversation. Don't bother coming in if you want to, you know, talk.. There is a wee bit more of that in the second photo. I'll wait here while you go back and look...

Cool eh?

And just in case you're still in any doubt about our general attitude to you, your vile child/ren, your stupid chitchat and life in general, here's a cheery seasonal message. Stick your Xmas where the sun don't shine.

Unless you're a dog perhaps. Happy bloody Dogmas, Shep old bean. Happy bloody Dogmas. Best friend indeed.

I took the photos when the shop was closed, and I was walking up a hill past it. Three hours later I was walking down the hill, and it was open . Amazingly, with the exception of the owner, nobody was in the shop. Amazingly.

And then I chose not to go in. Odd, eh?

22 January 2012

20 thunks: A pound a piece

I like this http://curiouscatherine.wordpress.com/2012/01/22/my-20-things-from-ukgov12/

@danslee (who loves me "4 eva") has a brilliant knack of coming up with simple and effective ideas. That people who went to #ukgc12 should post about 20 things they thunk is another of those.

Mine won't be more original or clever or inspiring than any one else's. They'll probably be less so.

And they'll probably all be wrong.But here they are.

1) Trains from Hull to London run bang on time to King's Cross and can be bought for as little as £10 for a single ticket. Please see title. Sorry @pigsonthewing, burritstroo.

2) The public sector has more friends in the private sector than many in it sometimes care to remember or admit.

3) We need to find a way of putting good practice in an easy-or-easier-to-find place. And then start reporting it.

4) Management of our personal vs. professional online identities is a growing issue. It's not new but it's not resolved by a long way. @Puffles2010 is asking some good questions and this  http://weeklyblogclub.wordpress.com/2012/01/21/my-view-and-not-those-of-my-employer-really-created-expectations/ is a good post about it by @philjewitt

5) There are still too many people who want to make it about tools, organisations, and systems rather than outcomes. I went to a session broadly about information for citizens and spent an hour listening to people talk about themselves and their own ideas for apps.

6) We perhaps need to think that we could have been asking for/seeking/aiming for the same behaviours a hundred years ago. Greater access to information; openness about our decision-making and performance; reuse of information; better inclusion of communities in democracy; more responsive services; better relationships with customers;  creating opportunities for growth for individuals and communities; working in partnership, and adding value are not really about 'e-anything'. They'd be as valid a set of concerns if we were still using scrolls... As @curiousc says, it's about social change.

7) 'e-Comms' doesn't really exist; it's just 'comms' using new tools. It will quickly become 'comms' or we will have failed. The people doing just 'comms' need to get, use and understand the tools of the people doing e-comms, run it through some understanding of who our customers are, what they need and how they like to be talked to, and we should measure how well it works by the outcomes.

8) Hull needs a #teacamp or a #brewcamp and I hope @HumberHull and I will go about making one happen. We need to have more conversations and more people involved than we can get along to Microsoft's splendidly cool HQ. We will perhaps want to start asking inspiring GovCamp people to come along and talk to us. Please see point 1.

9) I probably need to blog more. It won't be any good and it won't help anyone, but it might do me good.

10) I right enjoyed the social, even though it made my head hurt the next day because I lie to myself about Peroni doing me good. It was great to see @Baskers again.

11) @Puffles2010's bestest buddy is a very composed person. And a very interesting one. I wish I had knowingly met @WeLoveLocalGov

12) I'm going to see if it's possible to be of more use to communities (including mine) with hyperlocals and some Print 10 practice. I will be talking to @PalmerMagicTM, @sarahkatenorman and @getgood about these things as well as local partners.

13) Unlucky for some... Spending £32 for a bed in a #dump like the Corbigoe Hotel, because I know I "only need somewhere to sleep and a shower", is false economy.

14) We need to avoid repeating the big public sector mistake of building systems from the inside out, systems that suit *us* instead of the customer (our useless, monolithic CRMs, and our officer-use-only A-Zs), and making ourselves "special" in the process. As @DelibThinks put it, "we need to focus on what the end users wants from a council homepage rather than designing from the top" or @reinikainen, "User focus is paramount. User focus is paramount. User focus is paramount. User focus is paramount."

15) Demand-led Open Data might be complicated but we (by which I really mean I) really do need to get on with it.

16) We may well need to see more politicians in the room. When they find out you can get an ovation just for being one, they'll all want to come...

17) @sarahkatenorman makes bloody gorgeous rocky road chocolate stuff.

18) I think I need to think more about how to understand the complexities of networks in communities and how engagement is difficult if you don't map those networks of networks or  if individuals or organisations take an "I'm (we're) all the democracy people need" attitude.

19) I'd like to get more of the people I work with to govcamps and not just the ones I sometimes think of as the 'obvious' ones.

20) As I think I may have tweeted at some point (although I think I stole it from @carlhaggerty anyway) it's not about shiny tools. It's about behaviours; it's about treating customers properly, being accountable, learning, talking...