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In the spirit of CROSSHIRE Jackhammer explains how he responded to a recent, and unusual, customer complaint. THE POWER OF ADVERTISING


Over the years, we have, as most hire companies may or may not admit to, had a few complaints. In most cases, if you are able to handle the situation sensibly and help the customer to complete their task, the issues tend to fizzle out. However, sometimes it just feels like the hire was always destined to fail from the very beginning.


In the old days, the first you knew about a complaint was when the postman used to place the morning’s mail on the counter and say, “Looks like you’ve got some cheques today.” Little did he know! In today’s fast-paced world, most communications now arrive in your email inbox. To my surprise, one pinged in recently which was not about a router bit spinning loose from the machine whilst the chap who had hired our equipment was delicately cutting the joiner slots into an expensive laminate worktop, or complaining that our new 110V electric roof tile hoist wasn’t capable of assisting a bricklaying gang to lower heavy concrete blocks into an underground cellar.


No, the email in question was on a quite different matter, but first I should explain that, a few years ago, like many forward- thinking companies, we changed our marketing initiatives as the old-style phone book advertising had died a bit of a death. As a boy, I remember watching people on TV trying to rip these things in half, and some succeeded and others failed miserably. Funnily enough, this year’s new yellow one dropped through my letterbox at home the other day and I managed to tear it up with ease and throw it in the recycling bin.


More recently we tried a radio advert with a very catchy jingle on our local commercial station, promoting our services to the public. Anyway, the email, which came in while I was on holiday, was certainly direct and to the point:


“Jackhammer, please can you stop that annoying radio commercial! It drives me and my work colleagues nuts all day long. You could at least try and change it after all this time - maybe something with a little panache. An up-to-date pop tune, perhaps? Your own staff announcing what stock you have? But please, please, please, Get Rid of That Advert!!!!”


Once I had read the email a few times, I considered my reply. I guessed that the correspondent had written it in a light- hearted vein, so I responded in a similar manner:


Firstly, I would like to apologise that it’s taken a while to reply to your email. I’ve just returned to work after being held by Austrian mountain people, against my will, and forced to ski, eat goulash soup and drink alcohol every day for two weeks.


I thought that I’d let you and your colleagues be the first people to know that, yesterday, we signed up with the local radio station for a further 12 months. We obviously discussed the format of the advert and felt that it’s been such a success over the last few years, why change something that’s not broken?


I hope that your email was sent in the manner that it has been received, and so may I offer a small solution to your problem? As a local, friendly hire company we are able to offer some noise-reducing ear plugs with a cord to keep them together, or, if you prefer, some full-on ear protection that will block out almost all noise. Just let me know how many you need and where to send them. They will be free of charge if you can leave me a voicemail of you and your colleagues singing the radio advert word for word. If not, I can always email an invoice across to you as I’ve got your address.


Just to make you aware, if you or any of your work colleagues get any ideas about getting some revenge on either myself, our company or the radio station, I would like to point out that I have, in the past, survived two attempted kidnappings and, for additional safety, I have enlisted the local community Morris dancers to provide round the pole/clock protection.


All joking aside, I will speak to the good people at the radio station and arrange for some of their promotional goodies to be dropped into you. And finally, if you need a good supplier for power tools, may I suggest ____________ Hire? They never answer their phones, have no decent kit - and they’ve also got a really rubbish radio advert!


Strangely, as of yet, I have had no reply. I wonder if it went into junk mail?


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