I was recently at a gathering of entrepreneurs and we talked about our challenges, what we like and what we don't like about what we do. One thing struck me: no-one in the group actually enjoyed being the boss myself included. By that I don't mean that they don't value their independence, we all do, but we all see managing people as a necessary evil, a means to an end not the end itself...
The best businesses are the ones which really stay in tune with their customers' needs. These days there are so many tools to analyse results, and so many ways to interact with the people who buy your products or services, that there really is no excuse for failing to grasp what they are thinking. The needs and behaviour patterns of your customers can constantly change - and your business should adapt accordingly.
The Consumer Ombudsman resolves disputes for consumers across a number of industries in the UK, including Telecoms. People use this service as a last resort when their complaint with a company is not resolved directly. Their annual report acts a weather gauge for customer issues and how well companies are able to answer them.
About a decade ago, many companies in the UK pushed their customer service centres offshore to new call centres located far away - often in India or the Philippines. The aim was to save money because the captains of industry bought into the idea that distance was dead - work in call centres can be performed anywhere by anyone.
I've processed everything through the till as I was trained to do. I counted the change out twice. It is absolutely unknown to me what this man seems to be having a problem with and yet he decides to stand there, a heaving queue behind him, and mocks me for a further five minutes in a moment that was truly overwhelming. It's only my first day.
Are these experiences from 2013 familiar? You arrive on a train and are greeted by a message warning of the penalties awaiting those with incorrect tickets; you arrive at a department store and notice a security guard; you are slightly behind with your Council tax payments and a top-hatted bailiff turns up on your doorstep.
I have developed the same cynicism as most fully grown adults, yet this is underpinned by a general hatred of all human beings, particularly customers. I still work in customer service as I work my way through my studies, and I have come to learn that my first screaming idiot customer, isn't all that unusual.