Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Google are human! At last I can call them!

After all this time, someone at Google has a phone number! At last there will be someone to speak to, even if it's only for Adwords it's a start.

I just got this email, you'll get one soon. But in case it gets lost in Spam here it is:


Thank you for advertising with the Google AdWords program.

As part of our ongoing efforts to provide you with the best service possible, we are pleased to offer you the opportunity to contact our AdWords specialists by telephone. You can now call our dedicated local rate number.

If you are calling from the UK, please dial: 0845 358 0038, alternatively if you are calling from the Republic of Ireland, please dial: 1890 94 3980.

Then, for fastest service please follow the instructions below:

1. To expedite your call, press 2 to enter your Customer ID. This number is located at the top of every page in your AdWords account, next to your name and email address.

2. Press 3 if you do not have your Customer ID available and would like to be transferred to the next available AdWords Specialist.

You can reach our AdWords Specialists by phone Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, between the hours of 9a.m and 6p.m and on Tuesday and Friday from 9a.m to 5p.m.

As always, we are happy to assist you in any way possible.

Please also feel free to contact us via email at, and we will reply within one business day.

We look forward to providing you with the most effective advertising available.

The Google AdWords UK and Ireland Team

How not to Translate or Interpret

In my line of work you hear a lot of stories about how companies have someone who speaks french, or they have a relative who can write Chinese.

So they use these people to translate or interpret and they end up with a terrible job. But there are a few reasons why they might continue to use these friends, for translation.

  1. They don't have any understanding of the languages so have no way to check the quality
  2. They are too embarrassed to tell their friend/colleague that they are doing a bad job
  3. They are too blinded by the cost of a professional translation or interpretation to pay for a professional

All three are really bad reasons. Would you trust an accountant to fix your car?

Then why trust one to translate for you?

Here's a great clip from the Catherine Tate show in the UK. It Illustrates my point perfectly.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Reg Vardy the worst possible customer service Part 1

A few months ago I went to buy a new car with my wife. We wanted a Citroen Picasso, nice car, just right for the kids. We figured Reg Vardy in Sheffield would do us a good deal and give good service. We couldn't have been more wrong.

Here is a copy of the letter and email we sent to Reg Vardy and Citroen to complain. I'm still waiting too months after for a good answer.

I've removed actual names, Reg Vardy is the one who should be ashamed of hiring and training their staff. It's not the staff's fault that they are allowed to work in this manner. Here goes, enjoy. Let me know what you think.

Would you ever buy a car from these people?

I am writing to complain about the appalling service I received from your team at Reg Vardy Citroen, on Penistone Road, Sheffield. On 17th September 2006, my wife and I visited the dealership and spoke to XXXX XXXXX, one of your sales representatives and informed him that we were interested in test driving a Citroen Picasso. After a lot of deliberation he found us a Picasso in our price range on your system. We were told however that it was in Sunderland and would need to be brought to Sheffield for us to test drive it and this would be done within the next few days. We were asked to leave a deposit of £100 to secure the vehicle and told that if we were not happy with it after a test drive we could have the deposit back. We were not totally happy about leaving a deposit but did so any way as a show of faith in the company.

As the following week wore on, we received no phone calls from XXXX or Reg Vardy. On Friday 22nd of September we received a message on our answer machine at home from XXXX saying that he had trying to get hold of us all week to give us an update on where we were with the car. This was the first message we received. I called him back on Saturday 23rd September and was told that the car would be in early the next week. I then waited and heard nothing so I called the dealer on Thursday 28th September and spoke to a man called XXXXX who said he was the sales manager. He said that he would check on the progress of the car and call me back in five minutes. He actually called 2½ hours later, and said that the car should be ready to see at the weekend.

We then called on Friday 29th September 2006 and were told that the car was in and having its checks and would be available to test drive on Saturday. We agreed that we would test drive on Saturday 30th September 2006 at 2.00pm. We arranged a babysitter for our children and arrived at the showroom at about 1.50pm with my father-in-law who we brought along to help us assess the car.

When we arrived, XXXX looked for the car in the back lot and couldn’t find it. He said it had been there 40 minutes earlier (approx. 1.10pm), he then went back into the office and said that it was in the mechanic’s garage and he would take us in there to see it. He then took us into the garage to show us the car which was up on a ramp without its wheels and brakes. I assumed it was part way through its checks. At this point I said to XXXX that I was upset because we had been promised that we could test drive the car and arranged child care to fit this in. I then said that I wanted to cancel the deal and wanted my deposit returned. My father-in-law then mentioned a scratch he had seen on the passenger side of the car. XXXX then became quite aggressive and asked who my father-in-law was. He then said that he didn’t want to discuss the matter any more in the garage and wanted us to speak to the manager.

Reg Vardy the worst possible customer service Part 2

We sat down in the showroom and a man who I believe was called XXXX came over to talk to us. XXXX apologised for the lack of communication and the fact the car wasn’t ready when it had been promised. He said that the garage closed at 12.00pm and that “these things happen”. This contradicted what XXXX said about the car being outside and ready to test drive 40 minutes earlier. This is impossible if the garage section closed at 12.00pm.

Alan then asked why we wanted to cancel the deal, I explained that we had been waiting for 2 weeks for a test drive receiving no communication about the progress, and that when we had arrived at the time arranged, the car wasn’t able to be driven. He then offered to give us a courtesy car for a week which was of no benefit to us as we already have two working cars. This to and fro discussion with XXXX and XXXX went on for about 10-15 minutes with them trying to change my mind in what I consider an aggressive manner. At this point my mind was made up and I just wanted my deposit back and to leave.

I reiterated that I still wanted to cancel and have my deposit returned to my card. XXXX said that he couldn’t do this straight away because there was no one in Finance. I have experience of credit card machines and I know that it is possible to credit back a transaction in minutes. However, XXXX was becoming quite aggressive in the middle of the showroom and I decided not to pursue the issue. I agreed that the transaction could be credited on my card on Monday when the Finance department was open. I left my credit card details on a compliments slip with XXXX and then asked if I could have a compliment slip in return with a signature from a manager to say that the transaction would be carried out on Monday. I was told by XXXX “I’m not putting may name to anything, you can’t have anything signed”.

I saw this as a reasonable request. But this seemed to enrage XXXX who asked us to step into another office. When we refused XXXX asked us to leave the premises and pushed my father- in-law out of the door. My father-in-law fell onto the floor on the forecourt outside. He is 68 years old and is quite frail on his legs. My wife was visibly upset at this point as she was very worried about her dad who has had surgery on his knee and the fall caused him pain around this area. My father-in-law was left on the floor by the people involved in the fracas, and as the argument continued we helped my father-in-law to his feet and I called the Police to report the incident. They issued me with a crime number, and as I write we are waiting for the Police to interview my wife, father-in-law and me.

I am writing this on Sunday 1st October 2006 and shall be calling Reg Vardy on Penistone Road on Monday to see if my deposit has been credited.

The main points of my complaint are:

  • The aggressive sales tactics of the staff at Reg Vardy Citroen on Penistone Road Sheffield.
  • The lack of communication regarding the arrival and test drive of the car.
  • The fact that even after we had confirmed that we would visit the showroom on Saturday at 2.00pm the car was not drivable
  • The aggressive nature of the staff when I asked for my deposit back
  • The delay in returning the deposit
  • And finally and most importantly the assault of my father-in-law.

I await a swift response to this complaint

Yours sincerely

I got the deposit back, by cheque. Not Credit Card as they said I would.

I'm still waiting for a response.

If you work for Reg Vardy I hope you read this. If you are thinking of buying a car from Reg Vardy I hope you read this too.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

How to find the right links for your site

Over on SEOmoz there's great article about getting the right links to help your site rank. It's quite a long process, but well worth it.

Take a look, I know I'll be referring back to it a lot.

Getting the right links

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Charles Handy Guide to Management Gurus

If your looking for inspiration you could do worse than begin here. With Charles Handy's guide to management. One of my favourites Tom Peters is listed, plus a few I've never heard of.

I'll be looking through and seeing what inspiration I can find.

Social media 101, how to actually do it

Just checked back and found this useful how to guide for Social Media Press Releses.

No excuse now!

Social Media and Press Releases, How it all works

I'm still getting to grips with PR in general. It's not my bag, that's why I have a PR Executive now. And very good she is too.

I keep reading about social media: Digg, Delicious etc. And I've tried to use it, but struggled. There's no definitive way to handle it and it all seems to vague to me.

I know I should be doing this, but it seems a lot of effort for not much return. I just found this blog by Brian Solis which helps to explain it a lot better. I'll give it a go and see if it helps me. I think you shold too.

Good luck.