Idea's space

This blog is dedicaded to share ideas coming randomly from my experiences

Archive for August 2009

Strange customer service concept

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customer-serviceThis is a funny story I experienced last year. Looking for some equipment to install my freelancer office, I went to an IT supermarket in order to buy an all-in-one printer manufactured by a well known company, machine including fax, scanner and copier, for a very attractive price (around 150€). Two or three months later, I had to face technical problems with this printer mentioning a paper jam on the small screen, despite the fact that there was no physical paper jam.

I went back to the store where I bought the machine. The employee told me that they were not ensuring the repair or maintenance services, and that I should contact directly the manufacturer. I contacted the manufacturer who told me that I should go to their website, to a specific address, fill a form with a range of references, and explain the problem I was facing. Few hours later, I received a mail back including a procedure I should perform, and maybe by this way  the problem could be solved. After processing the given instructions, the problem was still there. I resent a mail to the manufacturer mentioning that the problem remained. One day later, I received another mail explaining  that they were going to start the guarantee exchange process. I had to mention the zip code of my locality, in order to receive a list of partners operating as delivery point in the same area. I resent a mail with the zip code, and one day later I received a mail with the references and address of the partner where the new printer would be deliver and where I should bring the old one.

On the mail, it was mentioned that some parts like cables, ink cartridges, will not be delivered with the new machine, and so, I will have to take then from the old machine. In order to know which component I have to take, there was a link mentioned on the mail, on which I had to click. After clicking on this link, I reached a page with this message: “The information is not available for this model.” Very interesting !

Few days later, I received a mail announcing that the new printer was available to the delivery point. I went to the delivery point to make the exchange and went back home. When I plugged in the printer, I have to notice that there was an error message appearing on the screen. I did not know if I had to cry or to laugh ! Then, I resent a mail to the helpdesk explaining the problem. The day after, they sent me a mail asking to check if the “identifying plaque” was well plugged. After trying to understand the meaning of this “indentifying plaque”, I noticed that there was a small piece of plastic missing near the keyboard, a piece with two pins which initialize the printer. Then, the next day, I went back to the delivery point. Fortunately, the old printer was still there and I took the missing parts from it.

The sherry on the cake was when I received a mail about service satisfaction, asking me what did I think about the service quality level. I answered that except the mails sent by the helpdesk, I ensured the service myself, as nobody picked up the printer at my office and nobody delivered the new one, and if I should recharge the time spent to solve the problem, I should earn three times the price of the printer. This should be the better return on investment I never had!

And the very best of is that three months later, the printer was facing problems, and I had to restart the same process again !

Strange concept of customer and quality service, isn’t it ?

Written by Eric Saint-Guillain

August 31, 2009 at 20:37

Posted in Business

Tagged with ,

Professional training : which return on investment ?

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2_txtRecently, I answered to a question proposed by one of my LinkedIn contacts.
The question was to know if trainings given to employee of a company should be considered as a cost or an investment ?
When we talk about an investment, we are talking about mid and long term. The key element is to know if the company defined a clear vision and defined long term goals.
With these two elements, the company can define several projects in order to meet these long term goals. The next step is to know if all the team members are subscribing to the vision and the projects of the company, and following their respective competences, which role they can play in the organization, a role matching with their expectations. In other words: “The right people at the right place” If these two conditions are true, then we can define the tasks and the responsibilities of each team player, but also define which are the competences and tools needed to fill their assignments. These ingredients are the conditions to develop a long term partnership and a training program. In this context, the trainings given to the employees will represent an investment.
If these conditions do not exist, there is a risk to see an employee leaving the company few months later after having followed the training, because the gained expertise with the training is an asset to face a new challenge with better conditions. In this case, it will be clearly a cost for the company.
Another reason I already heard, why companies are considering some times training as a cost is that when people are following training sessions, they are not operational, not productive during the training time. And sometimes, they are under work pressure and have no time to follow trainings.
If we have look to the definition of an investment, it is usually defined as an expenditure which will create future benefits. The goal of a training, is to acquire new knowledge and competences. These new competences will help the employee to work on a more efficient way, to perform activities on a faster way. The time spent to follow the training will be largely compensated by the future gains of productivity.
I would like to take an example: the information technologies. It is obvious that IT represents a revolution in the work organizations. The computers should help us to execute processes on a faster and efficient way. But how can we use the potential offered by this technology, potential increasing every day, if we do not receive the related trainings? What’s the necessity to change the hardware and software every five years to more performing tools, if we are not able to use all the offered power ?
By providing the necessary trainings, you are increasing your return on investment on your IT, and on your training’s investments too.

We have to think also that by giving trainings, and in this way, tools helping to fill their assignments, people are more motivated to solve issues, to find solutions and learn by themselves.

As conclusion, I would say that training represents an investment if all the conditions mentioned below are there. Even if salaries costs are booked as expenses in accounting, the human capital is an asset, which can provide sustainable added value.

Written by Eric Saint-Guillain

August 26, 2009 at 21:36

Posted in Human capital

Tagged with , ,

A blog is born !

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screenshotCAKXMW0CAs many of you, I decided to launch a blog. This is the result of a long thinking process, and after reading articles and books about the subject.
To build and maintain a blog is an investment in time, and very often, some blogs are let without activities after few months or few weeks.
One factor of motivation is to exchange and share ideas, reflections, with other people. This could happen not only by publishing postings on a regular basis, but also by proposing interesting subjects, with an original treatment and a good quality level of style. These are the components to give rise to interesting comment and reactions, to develop interactivity with people.
The purpose of this blog is to share discussions about subjects related to our professional and personal life, both of then are related. We are living difficult but interesting time, which should motivate us to bring new ideas, new solutions, in areas like personal development, sustainable development, economy, social media, to develop creativity. Creativity is defined as not only create new things, but also to think about things on another way.
This is the challenge I would like to share with you.

See you to the next posting.


Written by Eric Saint-Guillain

August 26, 2009 at 19:43

Posted in Uncategorized