Wednesday, November 27, 2013

You can't cheat Singapore rain

I've tried and it's just not worth it. Most Australian rain you can tough it out. Try to pretend you're not wet. But Singapore and HK forget it.

The only time it worked for me was in New Guinea walking Kokoda. Put your wet clothes on at 5am, walk until 2pm and make camp. Not so much cheating the rain as giving in to it.

Not so bad.

A letter of complaint to Yellow Cabs

I'm sure it's a hard job driving a taxi and running a taxi fleet. I'll bring this point to your attention.

I'm at ... Evandale

As I sat in the heat waiting for a taxi, a second call indicated to me that my driver had accepted the call from prospect road. The call had been accepted in less than ten seconds

The reason I was kept waiting was because "" had been caught in traffic. Little surprise, there are quite a few roads between Prospect and Evandale. Unfortunately many drivers a little slower with their fingers may have been closer, such as Norwood, St Peters or Marden and I would have received better service.

It was a quiet time of the day for taxis. I suspect this driver was working in his own self interest and your customer (me in this case) was being served poorly as a result. I won't be late for my flight, but this is unhelpful.

I would be interested to know if your company has a policy regarding drivers accepting jobs to the detriment of the customer, and I'd like to know if the owner of licensed plate number will be made aware of this.


Cullen Habel

I'll let you know the outcome.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

A very rapid answer, and hour and a half later which basically said "we hear you and we'll take it from here". At least she answered, I suppose:

Thank you for getting in touch with us.

I understand that the situation has been very frustrating for you and I sincerely apologize. We truly appreciate your effort in taking the time to send us your feedback. Rest assured that it has been forwarded to our Management Team, who will use it as an opportunity to offer you better service in future.

Any action taken will be handled internally, and while you will not receive any information regarding the outcome, I can assure you that the matter will be dealt with appropriately. I sincerely hope that you will allow us an opportunity to offer you better service in the future and turn this negative experience around.

Once again, our sincere apologies for the inconvenience and thank you so much for your patience and understanding.

If you have any further concerns, just let us know - we’re here to help.


My response:

Thanks for your very rapid answer. It has done little to assure me that Yellow Cabs has really taken this on board. No matter - I have just set a personal policy to call Suburban if I'm at home, and if I'm on a rank where Yellow turns up I'll go to the back of the line. I'd had a bad experience with a driver and a Cabcharge a year ago - with Yellow - and I get the feeling this is more about the company than it is about coincidence. And you now have the technology - in particular to monitor whether or not drivers are accepting calls outside of their location.

Best Regards



Monday, November 25, 2013

I now know what [sic] stands for

Having seen [sic] in various places for many years I surmised that it was used when quoting somebody, and repeating even their errors, but showing that you know they're wrong.

As with Hendo last week quoting Robert Manne:

"It was positioned between the once communist Labour [sic] Club and the fiercely anti-communist and curiously named ALP Club…."

And the word? Latin for "thus".

But it could just as easily be short for "Self Important Correction"

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Core benefit and ultra low cost: always an option

When I saw Mark Hassell (Chief Customer Officer Virgin Australia) in September, his story of the evolution of Virgin served as a case study in the "Total Product Concept".

Source: Kotler, P. And Keller, K. L. (2012) Framework for Marketing Management, 5th edition, Pearson, New Jersey. ISBN 978-0-273-75251-6  

While it has been in the first few slides of any Intro to Marketing course I've taught it's nice to have a real life example. I've always spoken of airlines but for last month's MBA course I was able to let Mark tell the story.

Deregulation and a low cost entry point
When Richard Branston launched Virgin Blue in the early 90s a famous line was "we won't give you an airline meal you don't want, we'll just give you the very best price". Until 1990, full service carriers were the only option to fly. If we look at the "Levels of Product" diagram at the top, they kept adding new things - inflight meals, lounges, movies - and these were all at the "augmented" level. Before the 1990s this worked pretty well in a regulated market.

But as Mark said, the low cost carriers (eg Ryanair) in Europe set the scene for a cut price carrier. The mystiqu of air travel was waning and consumers began to think in terms of "getting from A to B". Enter Virgin (v1) with a product stripped down to the core benefit (time efficient transport) as an entry point.

Fair enough, there was a basic product in terms of seating/reservations and an expected product (safety) but all of those expensive product augmentations were left to the existing full fare carriers.

Sure, at the time Virgin wasn't the only attacker at the low price end - "Impulse" was a name that got around - but their message was clear and well made. Have a look at the video above at the 6.50 mark. The "cheeky low cost carrier" suited Sir Richard's personality well.

Next: When being drawn into product augmentation raises your costs. Time to do some hard thinking.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Counting stars

Some crazy imagery but yet another song that taps into existential angst..

I ..... feel something so wrong, doing the right thing
 and I ...... feel something so right, doing the wrong thing

and lately I've been, I've been praying hard,
said no more counting dollars we'll be, we'll be counting stars...

and the scary, dangerous reality:

"everything that kills me makes me feel alive"

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I suppose the trick is to to die at it.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Paul McCartney: Very strong

A nice new song. "Do some good before you say goodbye".

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Honesty in lending - nice

Now I have - in the past - had the odd rant about moneychanging and money lending. Especially moneychanging. I love the story of Jesus cracking the shits and throwing the tables over in the temple. What a guy.

But credit is a useful thing. And grown adults should be allowed to do what they want. Ethical businesses who can make money off it, should be allowed to. Christians gave up their ban on usuary a long time ago and Islamic banking is emerging as a clever way to let people use money they don't yet have, and let them give back to their lender somehow.

So an ethical lender lets people make informed decisions. I was delighted to read my credit card bill today. I've let it run out to a couple of thousand dollars. And they added this helpful note.


" you can pay the minimum monthly repayment but at this rate it'll take you nine years and cost you almost $2000 in interest. If you double that payment it'll be fixed intwo years and you'll save $1500."

All credit to Woolworths Everyday Money. It costs them almost nothing (most people ignore these things) but they've done the right thing. Five paws.