Monday, May 10, 2004


The story of last week’s Customer Care seminar up in the Lakes goes a little like this:

I don’t even smoke. It wasn’t me. He should have had his bloody hay barn insured, shouldn’t he?

I’m not really one for confrontation, but there is something about Jim, our Motivational Guru for the two days, that just makes you want to eliminate the smarmy twat from the gene pool. Lots of people felt the same way and I’m sure you would too, given the chance.
He has this way of winking at you when he’s talking to people, as if to say “These people are idiots, but you and me, we're smart, aren't we?”
He tries to pull you into his confidence, so that when he turns on you later on, the drama of the moment is all the more delicious. But when he’s “as thick and transparent as armoured glass”, to quote Elvis, all it demonstrates is what an arse he is.
He had based his entire Customer Care Ideology on the premise that we are all each other’s customers. Everybody inside and outside a company - we are all customers. Bollocks. I said that a customer is somebody who pays for goods or services, and if he wanted any more input from me it would cost him five quid a word. When he tried to engage me further on this, I pulled my pretend zip across my lips with a satisfying Zzzzippp! and put out my hand to indicate that I required payment. This really pissed him off, and he barely troubled me again.

Which gave me lots of time to sketch out ideas for my Song For Robbie. It’s all written, and I’m currently going through the lengthy business of trying to record myself singing it in tune. Calm down - it’ll be ready when it’s ready.

Thursday evening’s free bar was good. Was there ever a bad free bar?

There was an assignment over the course of the two days. We were split into teams - Cobalt, Azure, Sapphire and Beige. No - I’m just kidding you. The fourth team was Fawn.
Jim commissioned each team to build an object out of Lego, but he was deliberately fuzzy over the exact specifications, so when the time came to present the completed project, he could go pretend crazy because the delivered Lego Creation was not what he’d ordered. This is what had happened at the previous week’s seminar.
The moral of the story is to make sure you’ve got the specification nailed down so you know what to deliver.
Last week’s lot had argued that it is also the responsibility of the client to make sure that they have made themselves understood, but he just squirmed and squealed and tried to absolve himself from any of that responsibility. And he made Charlotte cry.
This week, he didn’t realise that somebody knew he’d sourced the whole exercise from a Motivational Guru Textbook that they'd seen in Waterstones, so in spite of not asking any pertinent questions or making much of an effort (ie. spending all afternoon and evening in the bar), all four teams delivered their Lego creations (an oil rig with derrick, a draw bridge, a fork lift truck, a six megapixel digital camera) exactly to requirement. This left Jim wonderfully confused and enraged.

It’s a real shame about Jim’s hay barn. I’ve no idea who would do such a thing.

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