Tuesday, January 27, 2009

True Freedom consists in Service* - part 1

What's the difference between service and non-service? You may think this is a strange question, but I assure you it may well be the difference between the UK going bust and making a go of it.
I needed someone in Scottish Power ( or whatever they are nowadays) to send a body out to look at a power cable head and the attendant meter.
I spoke to Scottish Power's main switchboard and was told I needed the reconnection section. I explained I doubted it.
I phoned the reconnection section. They said I needed to speak to customer services.
Customer services said I need emergency call out.
Emergency call out asked if I was a hospital or school, and when they heard I wasn't, said I should talk to new supply.
Sighing, I phoned new supply, who immediately told me I didn't want them I wanted the reconnection section.
I explained I had spoken to them and definitely didn't need reconnecting. So the lady said I should speak to Cardiff ( Cardiff!) and she put me through.
Cardiff wondered where the post code was - was it in Wales? Ah, Scotland, you want customer services in Scottish Power.
Thoroughly fed up, I retraced my steps to customer services and got a different lady, who put me through to reconnection ( again) but reconnection, when I explained I had already spoken to them, and what the problem was, said she had been told a completely different story, and couldn't help.
BUT - and here's the but - she said she would make enquiries and call me back.
By this stage I can only say my spirit was broken and simply getting off the phone made me inclined to thank her profusely. I'd spent more than 4 hours off and on by now.
I had no real faith I would ever hear from Heather again.
Lo and behold, about an hour later my phone rang and it was Heather. She had spoken to a supervisor in the survey section ( the one section no one had suggested) and if I would phone this number and ask for Archie he would see me right.
Wondrous tidings! Not only could Archie help, he would help to such an extent that he scheduled what I required immediately.
My point is this.
We are a services country. Only about 14% of our economy is made up by manufacturing. If we are going to persuade people to buy from us, they need to want to, and we need to give them the right answers to their questions to make them do so.
So well done Heather and Archie. My only question is, what are all the other sections I spoke to doing?
Not a lot by the sound of it.
* It's not a Shakespearean quote, it's the meaning of The Tempest - as long as you don't listen to American academics.

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