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January 19, 2007

Dear Jane Shilling: We Have a Solution

Jane Shilling asks for a bit of community action:

When it became clear that Domestic & General, while keen to relieve me of 15 quid a month, was much less keen to do anything in return. A series of bored customer care people were unable to say when an engineer might call. Eventually, I produced a fearsome tantrum and an engineer appeared. Did he have a replacement element? He did not. So it was back to phone conversations with people who couldn’t care less that we can’t cook a hot meal in midwinter. I mention this only because while I was trapped in D&G phone hell, it occurred to me that I was not alone. Masses of other people must have been stuck in there with me — only, of course, D&G relies on the fact that we don’t know about one another to continue treating us all with contempt. So, if you’d care to share, get in touch. Meanwhile, I’ve given up and bought a new oven. Not an Indesit. And not insured with D&G.

Now we do have a solution to this sort of problem. It's called a blog. Leave aside all that guff about blogs changing the terms of the debate, bringing a new form of engagement to politics and storming the ramparts of the legacy media (yawn) and take this point that some other writer in The Times nicked from Natalie Solent:

As Natalie Solent (one of the more astute British bloggers) puts it: “One way in which consensus opinion changes is when scattered individuals become aware that many others share their opinions.”

Now that might seem a little cryptic when someone is complaining about the level of service from a home appliance insurer but think again, for one extremely successful campaign was run by one individual with just a blog. The Discovery 3 blog. Finding that his first Disco 3 was a lemon and getting little joy with a replacement he started the blog. That thousands piled in to make similar complaints about the awfulness of the service they were getting made the Land Rover marketing execs (quite rightly) take the complaints seriously and a second, replacement car was offered. That too was a lemon: I can't quite remember how it all turned out but I think after the third replacement he took a refund and bought something else.

But my advice to Ms. Shilling?  If you want to get Domestic & General to sit up and take notice, start a blog. It'll be time consuming, it'll breach the first rule of journalism (no one but a blockhead writes except for money) but by the time you're getting a few thousand page views a day and have a few hundred customer care horror stories you'll have the Chief Exec on the phone begging to be allowed to come round and fix things personally.

Well, at least an engineer with the right parts.

January 19, 2007 in Media | Permalink


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Technician, I think she (and Tim) means.

Posted by: HJHJ | Jan 19, 2007 8:57:48 AM