24 July 2008

Bouquets and brickbats

Two newly minted BW licenses arrived in the post today – complete with name change correctly administered. A lot of people seem to have trouble with licensing – there are often posts and blog entries berating cock-ups here and there but I have never had cause to complain. Admittedly, this year I did have to chase up the renewal form (one was raised apparently but it never reached me) but another one arrived the next day and I received my licenses, and prompt payment discount, in around ten days. That puts an end to eight months’ masquerading as one thing on our license, another on our rear panels, and the hurried explanations to lock keepers etc as to why they don’t tally. I don’t know why I always felt guilty as the license number is the same on both, but then I’m one of these people who can’t walk past a policeman or through customs without looking highly suspicious.

So a bouquet to the Leeds licensing office from me. But I see from Geoff on Seyella’s recent post that there’s a brickbat going in the direction of a boatbuilder. Geoff met a disgruntled customer of theirs, unhappy with a perceived lack of after sales service. It’s not for me to go into the wrongs and rights as there are invariably two sides to every story but you do see quite a few grumbles about boatbuilders and their lack of interest once the boat has passed out of their hands and the money’s in the bank. I guess some of that is down to the pressures of a small business where the focus is on the boat in hand (where the next money is) rather than tying up people and resources on a boat where the money’s already in the account - and probably already been spent. But, given the community nature of the cut, given new communication tools like forums and blogs, and given the oldest marketing tool in the book, word of mouth, you wonder why builders risk being so short-sighted as to short-change their customers in this way. Bad word, however unjustified, travels faster than Dwayne Chambers and mud sticks, however unfairly. Ask the Ashton canal. We were fortunate in that we were looked after very well by MCC and as a result we have recommended them as an excellent value, mid-range builder to many people over the last six years. When we go back to visit, they value us still as a customer – not surprising when you consider that over time we’ve probably eaten the boat’s weight in bacon sandwiches at the cafe....

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