Today I spent 45 minutes waiting in line at NZ Post Sylvia Park, which is part of Paper Plus. The 25 people standing with me was initially the biggest shock, with most people doing banking. I just wanted to post my CourierPost package and be on my merry way.
What I witnessed today was a circus of poor training, customer frustration and bad PR. I am not a Kiwibank customer, though I'll admit, I was thinking about swapping to them before today's performance. I acknowledge that it's not fair to judge Kiwibank on one branch, and one encounter, though this was so poor it's hard not to leave without a bitter taste in my mouth.
What I saw today included:
- Three stations with three staff to serve a queue of 25. It was a long time before I got served, and most of us were pretty fed up by the time we got to the counter. Obviously this was known as they had allowed plenty of space for us to queue.
- One Kiwibank customer had a question that his attendant couldn't answer. She jumped on the phone, was on hold for some time, then the customer stormed out after it took too long for her to get an answer.
- Another customer was trying to refinance his mortgage. He had the forms, the first staff member had no idea what to do, so asked him to rejoin the queue. After waiting again, the second staff member was also unsure, so she tried her hardest to complete the parts of the form he had been posted. He (and rightly so) gave her a piece of his mind.
- Another customer was left waiting with a sizeable amount of cash in her hand, after making a withdrawal while the staff member left to get another form. The customer was very nervous and wanted to leave quickly as she was a target with so much cash.
My suggestion: Kiwibank, build some dedicated branches. NZ Post staff are not banking staff, they don't have the expertise. I'm sure you've lost some customers today, and rightly so - they were being served as part of a circus, not a reputable bank. Dedicated banking staff will learn who your customers are, and treat them well. You've done everything else so well, but dropped the ball so badly here.
The best quote has to go to the customer queuing behind me: maybe the other banks charge more as they get you out the door faster.
I was invited by Telecom to spent the past weekend at the TelecomONE Innovation Unconference - a unique event in the fact the schedule is set and completely run by the participants (similar to Kiwi Foo Camp).
The unconference was something I'd never participated in before. Each session was a open discussion between people rather than a traditional speaker-audience format. Topics were far reaching from should carriers provide content, how to best filter the Internet with the less geeky question should NZ go completely organic? Information within discussions were protected by the FriendDA - participants were free to discuss anything, with those of us listening agreeing not to pass on any information without asking permission first.
We were a mixture of Telecom employees from the different divisions, suppliers, plus "externals" such as myself. Impressively, all the Telecom internals took leave on Friday and they were giving up their weekends for their employer, unpaid. This is not to say Telecom didn't go to considerable expense: they put on plenty of food, kept us well watered and organised a great venue with lots of separate rooms for sessions.
There are some very smart people at Telecom. Some of the sessions really challenged my technical knowledge, giving me good insight on why particular decisions have been made and what the future holds. Some of the best discussions were those over meals, or held in-between sessions.
The weekend has drastically changed my perception of Telecom. I no longer see it as a slow, confused, and lumbering behemoth - Telecom contains some clever and passionate people who are working hard everyday to make positive changes to NZ's biggest telco.
Why do you make it so hard for me to topup my T-Stick (mobile broadband) when I run out of credit? I sold my Vodafone data-card so we could start this new and exciting relationship together because your speeds were so much better, but you make it so hard to top up my account.
When I ran out of credit about 20 minutes ago you did this.
When I tried to login to Your Telecom you locked me out.
Seriously, I'm offering you money, why do you not want it??
Lance Wiggs also blogs about some well overdue improvements to Your Telecom.
SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) has both advantages and disadvantages for business software. One of the biggest benefits being able to get updates for "free" - you don't need to upgrade the software on your desktop, as the application vendor handles this all for you, on their end.
The GST increase on October 1 is a significant change to business accounting, and could be a good reason for businesses to start using Xero. Since the GST rate hasn't increased since 1989, most vendors will have this hard-coded in. Xero have already made the necessary changes, and businesses already using them don't have to do anything come October 1.
Something I received recently also helps sweeten the deal:
Disclaimer: We are a certified developer for Xero. I have also checked with Xero about promoting this offer on my blog, and they are happy for me to do so.
Quick to make a buck
Not one to miss a marketing opportunity, T-shirt purveyor Mr Vintage has created a benefit T-shirt with a seismograph in the shape of the Christchurch Cathedral to support earthquake victims. How lovely! From every sale, $5 will be donated to the Red Cross quake appeal. How generous ... Or is it? The T-shirt costs $29.95, so if they sell 150, Mr Vintage will bank $2842 (minus an estimated $6 each to make) and Red Cross Canterbury Earthquake Appeal will get $750. Plenty of businesses will be trying to capitalise off the earthquake in Christchurch - 'buy this product and we'll donate [insert amount here] to such and such appeal. Please, just donate the full amount directly. Or make an automatic $20 donation by phoning 0900-33-200.
Not one to take any criticism lying down, Mr Vintage issued a reply on their blog and issued the following challenge back to Ana:
ANA. It's really easy to sit back in your ergonomically designed computer chair and surf the Internet, picking out little things and printing them. It's harder to actually do something about it. Luckily, we're giving you the chance to.
THIS brand new 'Ana Samways donation t-shirt' is available for $1000 online at www.mrvintage.co.nz - just for you. There's but one t-shirt being printed that reads "I Love Sideswipe" in a lovely little pink heart
100% of the $1,000 will go straight to the Red Cross Canterbury Earthquake Appeal, and if you're cool enough to make this donation - WE'LL MATCH YOUR $1000. Everybody wins, especially Christchurch ?
Good show Mr Vintage. You could've easily turned it into a mud throwing fest, but this way, the victims of the earthquake benefit with your rather creative solution.