Monday, 26 September 2011

East Coast take the biscuit for dreadful service

York-Carlisle East Coast train yesterday afternoon, in First Class.

Free tea, coffee and biscuits?

Yes but...

The two ladies pushing the tea trolley stopped just in front of me, where a black couple were sitting with three packets of biscuits on their table, presumably from earlier in the journey.

"You can't take those off the train," barked one of the trolley ladies. "I'll take them now."

And leaving all of us in the immediate vicinity speechless with horror, she scooped up the biscuits and trundled the trolley away.

That's the most appalling service I've ever seen.

The gentleman had paid for a First Class ticket. He'd paid, in essence, for those biscuits.

And once given to him, they were his to eat exactly when he liked - on or off the train. She had absolutely no right to take them away.

He did go and try to talk to her but she wouldn't listen to him.

I won't be travelling East Coast again if I can possibly help it. I'll stick to Virgin, or go by plane, in future.

UPDATE: East Coast say the team member has been "re-briefed on customer service and how to treat customers". Personally I'm not hugely impressed. I'll still avoid East Coast if I can.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Self-confidence vs arrogance: part 2

Jim Connolly has published a great article, "How to succeed in a world of failing small businesses".

And I think he's just exemplified the difference between self-confidence and arrogance.

Self-confidence says: "I'm good at what I do. That doesn't mean I think I know everything. There's always more I can learn, from people in all fields including my own. My mind is open to new ideas because that's the best way I can help others succeed."

Arrogance says: "I'm good at what I do, I know all I need to know, and I don't need anyone else telling me what to do or how to do it."

People love to feel wanted and appreciated for their expertise, and to share it. That's why self-confident people draw others to them, and arrogance pushes others away. Who wants to feel like someone else is looking down on them and making them feel like the Dirty Rascal instead of the King of the Castle?

Well not me for starters. That's why I steer clear of arrogant people.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Would you work with arrogant individuals?

A comment on LinkedIn from Michael Green led me to Jon Daniels' article: "Ten Traits of a Successful Salesman", subtitled "Ten Reasons Why I Am Successful in Sales".

A lot of the subject matter of Jon Daniels' post resonates, and the advice given is very valid (believe in yourself, see opportunities where others see problems, take action to achieve your goals, be enthusiastic, be prepared to swim against the stream).

But the "I'm the King of the Castle, look at me, aren't I wonderful" tone of the article, which I think the subtitle exemplifies, really rankled with me.

He says:
On my first date with my now wife she thought I was arrogant. She soon understood that it was not arrogance, it was self-confidence.
Hmm, it doesn't sound that way to me. Self-confidence and arrogance are two different things, and the tone of the article says to me "arrogance".

Self-confidence and self-belief draw others to you. Arrogance pushes them away.

The individuals I admire most in the business world are those successful folk who are conspicuously NOT arrogant. Michael Green himself is one. Emma Jones is another.

People who have achieved, and do achieve, a great deal in their business careers, but don't put potential contacts off working with them by bleating about how wonderful they are. Instead they use their talents and expertise to help others, through initiatives, and advice that is well-received - because it is delivered in a way that's confident but not arrogant.

To quote from one of my favourite childhood books, "Little Women" by Louisa M. Alcott:
"Conceit spoils the finest genius... [Talents] are always seen and felt in a person's manner and conversation, if modestly used; but it is not necessary to display them," said Mrs. March.
"Any more than it's proper to wear all your bonnets and gowns and ribbons at once, that folks may know you've got them," added Jo; and the lecture ended in a laugh.
While Jon Daniels' advice may be excellent, the tone of his article would make me think more than twice before working with him, or buying from him.

Do arrogant salespeople make you want to buy from them? Do arrogant people make you want to work with them? Or do they make you think "buzz off"?