Tag Archives: employees

Grrr… Michelle is a bit rattled!

I’ve had some really crappy customer service recently. And it’s got me a bit rattled, so I thought I’d put fingers to keyboard, and vent a little.

“Choose Express Post and your T-shirts will be with you in time for the Hottest 100!” Well I did, and yet they weren’t… They arrived on the Tuesday after the Sunday countdown and are now sitting in a redundant heap on the kitchen table. $12.95 doesn’t sound much, but it’s the principle. Two emails of complaint to customer service later and I’m nowhere near getting even a decent apology, let alone my money back. It’s always someone else’s fault, isn’t it? Or, better still, there’s the age-old caveat of “during periods of unprecedented demand”… But how was this unprecedented? These T-shirts were specifically designed for the most infamous event in the Triple J calendar AND, get this, they were on sale to raise money for Lifeline. Ipso facto, they were meant to zooooom off the shelves!

Then there’s the coffee machine I bought my husband before Christmas. He has one of those December birthdays which is tricky – do you go large for the birthday, or save it for a couple of weeks? I went early in this case. But the honeymoon of that “we now have our own coffee machine, look how much money we’re saving” feeling was shattered a few weeks after Christmas when it started leaking water out of the bottom like a sieve. First, the (reputable) café owners didn’t believe me and tried it themselves to check there was actually an issue. Erm, thanks for the vote of confidence. Then they sent it off to the manufacturers to be fixed, leaving me with no apology, and no way of making coffee in the meantime. The vortex that is the ‘service centre’ means no one could tell me when our machine would be back in my possession. And the little information I did glean was through me making all the effort – visiting the café, plus calling up for an update. When it did return, a couple of weeks later (a couple of weeks!!), it was all smiles from the café dude, free coffee beans, and an escorted product placed back in my car.* He was lovely and a far cry from the sheepish, somewhat sullen, confrontation-avoiding man I dealt with at the time of crisis.

Finally, for a Throwback Thursday experience which has never left me, there is the introduction of the (somewhat annoying) host at the front of your classic retail store whose role is to essentially trap you en route to where you want to go. Seemingly friendly, but often very far from interested in allowing you through. In this particular store, I wanted to buy what a retailer would refer to as ‘an accessory’ rather than a large ticket item. They live at the back of the store, far from where I was accosted. So, I was eventually deemed not worthy enough to be restrained any longer, and allowed to free roam. I wasn’t impressed with the selection, and I had questions to clarify. Looking round, no one was free – I was in the area where the hard-core contracts were being signed, and everyone was head down with their respective customers. I therefore left, went across the road to a competitor and spent triple the amount of money I intended to thanks to some real ‘fluffing’ and metaphorical ‘stroking’. They elevated my mere accessory to a real ‘must have’ and I left the store with two of them, a real pep in my step, and quite the unnoticeable dent in my wallet.

Some observations on the above:

  • No brand is beyond the need to care and serve
  • The customer should always be given the benefit of the doubt
  • Employees need to be equipped to have tough conversations
  • Don’t let bad will build and fester – keep customers in the loop
  • ‘Service’ shouldn’t ever be about getting rid of people/putting them off/moving on to the next person**
  • Never judge a customer’s spending power by the size of their wishlist – the big ticket item lurks in all of us

They say that an unhappy customer tells 9-15 people about their bad experience – think I’ve just done a little more than that – and it takes 12 good experiences to make up for one bad one.*** So, time for a name and shame? It’s 24Hundred, the T-shirt provider; Coffee Brothers in Mona Vale; and good old Telstra, who lost out to Apple!

Michelle is always open to having a discussion about your brand, your customers, and your employees, and overcoming pitfalls. She promises not to talk about herself in the third person again, unless absolutely necessary.

* In his enthusiasm to close my boot, and get me the hell outta there, he forced his grip against the electric closing feature. And now, on occasion, it doesn’t close properly… 😩

** Centrelink and Medicare, take note!

*** Stats courtesy of: https://reputationrefinery.com/96-of-unhappy-customers-wont-complain-to-you-but-will-tell-15-friends-infographic

Like a founder

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How’s about this royal commission, ay?

It’s hard to watch.

Big, robust, established brands taking a bashing every which way, and rightly so. There’s nowhere to hide!

I was talking to a friend who works at AMP and she rolled her eyes showing me an article about the sordid details of dodgy director activity; saying Thomas Mort (who co-founded Australian Mutual Provident – AMP) must be rolling in his grave!

I got wondering…

Would the ghost of Mr Mort really be wailing and gnashing his teeth somewhere – completely deflated at what his baby had become?

What did he want AMP to be when it was a wee fledging?

So I interneted…

And I scored!

From the Argus (a popular old Melbourne newspaper) of 1877 Feb 9th,  a reporter wrote this of the ambition of the infant institution:

“Moved by such spectacles of bereavement and destitution, and doubtless observing that comparatively few had availed themselves of life assurance, our founders combined together to establish a society not for money-making, but for mutual aid, and to induce all within the sphere of their influence to unite in the good cause.”*

!!!!

And again, quoting the Founders…

“It is hoped the directors and superior officers will never be found wanting in vigilance, sagacity and probity in administering their sacred trust; but I have often tried to impress upon the members, and I take this public opportunity of reiterating that a heavy responsibility rests upon them also. It lies with them to fill up vacancies on the board and they should see to it that their votes are never given on any ground of mere personal friendship or antipathy, or because of the importunities of candidates. Always seek out and support trustworthy men who have the best interests of the society at heart and who have shown the ripe fruits of prudence, knowledge and experience in other walks of life.”*

!!!!!!

Eeeeppp – yes, I think there might be some Earth moving going on!

It makes you wonder how many other creaky old founders would be rolling in their graves at times like this, despairing of the nobility of the institutions they had bled to breathe life into…

Why does this happen?

Is it the inevitable side-effect of corporate growth?

When an organisation starts becoming successful and piles on the employees, does the essence of the Founder get further and further away from the heart of the business? (Not to mention once the Founder passes on!)

Is it realistic to expect hundreds, thousands and sometimes tens of thousands of employees to demonstrate the same intensity, altruism, guts, passion, conviction and single-mindedness the Founder may have had?

We worry about this at MamaTray and have developed ‘Like A Founder’ – a program to rediscover and infuse the Founder’s energy, ambitions and character back into an organisation.

Our ultimate aim is to make sure graves, and more importantly, legacies are still respected, optimised and celebrated.

If you’d like us to help your organisation get in touch with its inner Founder, just drop us an email at help@mamatray.com.

No rollin’!

*https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/5914425
Image: https://dictionaryofsydney.org/person/mort_thomas_sutcliffe


These wise words come from the brain of Mandy Lawler.

Humming to The Same Tune

I needed to quit my job.

I decided that it was an essential part of my personal and professional development. Even though I loved the people I worked with, I slowly started to become more and more aware of things that just weren’t working and NEEDED to change, to account for this new agile business era that we’ve moved into. Things, that those much loved people I worked with, just didn’t want to, or know how to, change. (Even with my persistence.) Unfortunately, resistance to change is the ultimate creativity and innovation killer.

So, I started searching for more, and I found MamaTray. Or maybe, MamaTray found me. Either way – the transition has been more eye-opening than I could have expected.
These are my (10) starters for 10 (a phrase I’ve learnt from working here) –

  • Choosing music is a collaborative process. Everyone has a say. And if they don’t, they should! This sets the atmosphere for the day’s work.
  • Colour, colour, colour!!! It helps stimulate creativity, boost your mood, and keep everyday, monotonous things interesting.
  • Don’t blame it on the stationery. You CAN have fun, sparkly, multi-coloured, jarring patterned stationery and still be professional. Remember Legally Blonde?.. Haters gonna hate.
  • Regular check-ins. Managers neeed to, I repeat, neeeeeed to check in with their employees As. Much. As. Possible. Without being micro managers and without holding up efficiency. Having regular chats mean that things stay on track, everyone feels heard and problems can be nipped in the bud.
  • Team hang-outs are a must. We work together more hours than not, so we should really be trying to bond. Create, for yourself, a work family.
  • Gift a puppy. (By puppy, I mean, an awesome project.) Let someone take care of it, nurture it, and see it to fruition. There’s no better compliment than that.
  • A little chin-wag never hurt no body. We’re all human here, and we love to tell stories. (Stay tuned…)
  • Be nice to yourself. Eat that cupcake if you need to. Take a breather if you need to. Play with Freddie if you need to. (MT’s super cute, Wirehaired German Pointer.) In the long term, it’ll make a huge difference.
  • Say hello to change! Yes, and welcome it with open arms. This is what will keep you and the business afloat.
  • Finally, show us how it’s done. This is probably the most important of all. Don’t give resentment any room to grow, and lead by example. Positivity breeds positivity, and the same can be said for hard work.

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Here at MamaTray, we know what great internal culture looks like. And, we want to share this with our clients and everyone we know. If all your employees can ‘hum along to the same tune’ (even if in different harmonies) – you’re doing it right. Your brand and your business will reap many rewards.

Happy humming!

These wise words come from the brain of Angie Caro, Junior Strategist at MamaTray.