‘It’s the Putting It Right that Counts’

Recently, my professional world was turned upside down and inside out when a household-name removalist company lost (among numerous other items) a series of large plastic crates containing the in-progress manuscripts of a number of my books and other professional works.

Stunned at the way in which the matter was handled (or rather, not handled) by the company’s management on both sides of the move (i.e. Australia and New Zealand), I set about the exercise of gaining insights into the removalist industry.

My enquiries around the New Zealand sector led me to industry icon Errol Gardiner – the Chairman of one of the country’s largest household relocation enterprises, New Zealand Van Lines. 

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From New Zealand's 'The Main Report':

Don’t Let Frontline Staff Do This

According to the editorial team of ‘The Main Report’ (New Zealand’s long-standing “business newsletter”), an organisation’s frontline staff should NEVER make any of these three statements to a customer:

  • “It’s our policy.” The purpose of this is to simply to shut someone down, TMR’s editors say.
  • “There’s nothing I can do.” There’s always something you can do, they challenge.
  • “It’s the manufacturer’s responsibility.” Your customer has a relationship with you, not your supplier, the editors point out.

Phone Companies: The Most Infuriatingly Uncontactable Utility


There can be no doubt that, of all the utilities types, phone companies are – and have always been – those that demonstrate the greatest disrespect for their customers’ time and stress tolerance levels.

I am currently trying valiantly – without success through any channel (phone, live chat, email) – to make contact with Spark (the relatively new but definitely not apt name for what was Telecom New Zealand) and Telstra Australia.

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You’re Only As Good As Your Suppliers


After waxing lyrical about Spark’s great “save” (see my post about my five-year struggle for a reliable landline) courtesy of the very proficient staff member from its “Customer Capability” team, the goodwill is fast going out the door again, thanks to Chorus / Downer.

One of the aspects of the solution offered by the switched-on Jonah from this “special forces” division of Spark, was to install a second, back-up line at no charge (i.e. I’d get the installation for free, but of course pay the monthly rental on it). Given the very significant installation fee I would have otherwise incurred, I was delighted.

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'Privacy Principles':

Know Your Rights Regarding Your Medical Information

Image Credit:   From ‘Health Information: Your Rights’ poster made available to the public by the New Zealand Privacy Commissioner – www.privacy.org.nz

Tying for first place as the most private of “private information” would surely be an individual’s (a) medical and (b) financial information.

In this article, I’d like to reproduce for you, the 12 “Privacy Principles” the New Zealand Office of the Privacy Commissioner outlines for medical practices to adhere to, in dealing with your medical records.

It is my experience that these are frequently not adhered to, and that many practices take a “Big Brother” and somewhat cavalier attitude to this type of record.

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Call Centres: Exercise this Simple Courtesy!


I’m writing this story whilst on a long wait for a “customer help representative” (from a large B2C organisation) to get around to answering my call.

After going through a considerable number of phone menu levels, I’m sitting here on indefinite hold with the same instantly recognisable, repetitive five bars of electronic “music” playing over and over in my ear.

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How to Frustrate Your Customers & Make Their Lives As Difficult As Possible


Today I came across the boarding pass for a flight between Brisbane and New Zealand on November 6 last year.

Not knowing whether or not my travel agent had registered my Air New Zealand “Airpoints”, I endeavoured to access my Frequent Flyer account to check. I must have changed either my user name or password since I last accessed the account. The “re-set password” function didn’t exactly do what one might have generally expected it to do, and netted no joy at all.

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I am the world’s worst traveller. I hate being subject to the noise of neighbouring room occupants, I detest having to sleep anywhere else but in my own bed, and I have an uncompromising need for cleanliness.

I also like a bit of luxury when I travel . . . my justification being that, if I’m forced to leave the comfort of my own environment, I at least want the same appointments that I have in my home.

These requirements and sensitivities in mind, staying at a “bed and breakfast” is a risky proposition . . . but, on the odd occasion that it does pay off, it does so in spades.

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