Why are BT so sh!te?

Now I realise that this is very much a ‘first world problem’, and I’m not going to die or have a nervy B because I can’t get BT Sport, but…
Ever since I signed up and paid for my BT Vision Box, it’s been far from a great experience.

From ordering me 2 boxes, and charging me for both. To sending out an engineer after I cancelled the appointment with them (this is the best way to get someone to turn up I think, cancel, and then they’ll send them round anyway), to the recording of the UFC not working, to the disappearance of my BT Sport channels this weekend. It’s just not gravy.

Here are the highlights of my BT phone call, which lasted about an hour, before I got cut off anyway:

Here’s my friend’s blog account of his failed mission to get the internet in his new home:

Another thing that really annoys me, is their website. Specifically the section about the TV channels.

You think you’re getting something for £0BT customer service

Then it becomes £10 as soon as you click the red button:
Customer Service

Then before you actually realise, without selecting anything else, you are opting up to paying £27.99 per month, and a one off cost of £55.95

This might be great for Conversion Rate Optimisation, but it’s a typical example of why your brand is not longer held in great regard; no longer trusted, no longer out to help the customer (or potential customer). KPIs have blinded long term trust and reputation.

Now, you have to laugh at things like this, don’t get angry; there’s plenty that goes wrong in the world and this is really nothing major.
However, I would prefer it if businesses like this focused more on developing a good product, and less on sales and marketing. And maybe throw in a bit of customer service too.

Related article about Steve Jobs focusing on product, not profits

One final note – don’t be aggressive to the people that work in the call centres. They’re just the low-paid buffer between the customer and the big-money decision makers.
Having worked in a call centre for 5 years, I know how I’d bend over backwards to help the rare people that were actually nice. As long as you ask the right questions like “can I speak to your manager please?” if you’re not happy, and “please can you give me the address of the relevant ombudsman?” you should have the same result as you would get ranting etc.

Keeping Fit into Middle Age

There comes a point, when you realise that lifting heavy weights, with horrific posture and poor technique, just isn’t a sustainable way to keep fit.

Here are some tips on keeping fit, as you approach your mid 30s:

1. Warm up like a mofo
Can’t emphasise this enough, one injury when your 35, and you might never recover.  Wear plenty of layers and get a sweat on before you do any explosive exercises or lift heavy.  If you’re doing weights, make sure you do 3 or 4 warm up sets with lighter weights

2. Stretch, Stretch & Stretch
Buy a foam roller, and a lacrosse ball.  Use them everyday, and stretch, a lot.  Consider taking up yoga or pilates.

Foam roller
Image Source

3. Do what you enjoy, but modify it a bit
For example, I can’t hit ‘thai pads’ anymore, my shoulders and wrists just can’t take it.  So I have to stick to the boxing pads. There’s normally a way to adapt if you are keen enough.  Try not to make an excuse and be negative about an injury; you can normally train around them.  Be very careful though, if something hurts during or afterwards, its not a sustainable or sensible way to train.

How Important is the Right Accountant?

When someone goes about starting a business, the nervousness and the excitement is highly motivating, and it’s easy to get straight stuck into doing all the interesting stuff, like the marketing, sorting out the website and creating your company logo.

Accountants in Chester
Image Source

It is important however, to get the basics in place first, and to give the fundamentals, and the ‘boring stuff’ the same thought, care and enthusiasm as the more interesting and rewarding elements of starting your own company.

Choosing the right accountant for example, is not the most exciting task, but can be pivotal in regards to your businesses success.  It’s pretty interesting, but also a bit worrying, that any Joe Bloggs can call him or herself an accountant without any relevant credentials or qualifications.  In spite of this fact, very few business owners speak to a number of potential accountants, or research around them and their reputation. This is potentially a huge mistake.

Ensure that any accountant you are considering hiring, are qualified through one of the main associations/accrediting bodies such as the Institute of Chartered Accountants (ICAEW),the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), or the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA).

It goes without saying, or it should do, that you should also look into how you will pay your accountant. Are there set fees, or does he/she charge an hourly rate?  If possible choose someone that can audit and advise you in regards to your business, as well as being a bookkeeper. Ideally your accountant will have experience in your business sector; but not conflicts of interest.

Ensure that you do not choose an accountant, just because they are situated right next to your office. It is an important decision, that should not be just a quick decision or after-thought.  They will after all, be in charge of your money.  Look what happened to Mike Tyson!  (he wasn’t screwed over by an accountant, but still…).

I live in North Wales, right on the border with England, and my accountant is based in Chester.  It’s definitely worth looking outside your home town. I did have an accountant based in Wrexham, but it was impossible to speak to, or get in touch with him, via phone or email, so he may of well be based in Australia.  Good customer service and ‘contactability’ are also crucial.


Why are Teenagers so Badly Behaved? (well, some of them)

After being woken up at 4am by a car full of teenagers, who went on to vandalise the neighbour’s car, I thought I’d ask the perpetual question:

Why are kids so badly behaved these days?

I remember this question being constantly asked about my generation, twenty or so years ago; here are some theories:

  • Role Models
    Good role models are absent in the media, although David Beckham is an exception (arguably).  But your typical football player or pop star aren’t exactly well behaved
  • Break down of the family unit
    Related to role models, young boys for example, are very lucky if they have a hard working Dad who is a ‘good citizen’; and even more lucky if he spends time with his son.
  • Lack of discipline in schools
    Not the teachers’ fault, they just don’t have enough powers to do anything about naughty children
  • Lazy parents
    My generation of parents – some of them are just, well, scumbags. I’m a firm believer that we’re all a result of our environment and our genetics, and don’t blame anyone for how they are, but something has gone wrong along the way with some of the parents about nowadays
  • Poor Diet
    Diet, and gut health are related to ADHD and all other behavioural problems.

How to Raise Successful Children

As someone who has never ‘raised’ any children, these points may not hold a great deal of credence; having said that here are my thoughts:

Pretend that Traffic Jams are Fantastic and Joyful
One of the great dividers, in terms of people who are successful, and those who are not, appears to be their willingness to travel.  I hate travelling in the car (like most people); but wish I actually enjoyed it – then a commute from North Wales to Manchester every day would be a dream come true.

traffic jam

Allow them to Backchat, a little
If you’re someone with great manners, and always empathising for others etc. You’ll find it more difficult to be successful.  You’re unlikely to be great at sales for example.  Obviously you need your child to be well behaved, so they don’t become some kind of delinquent; but if they sit in silence in the corner when they’re told to because “children should be seen and not heard”; they may find it difficult when it comes to board meetings and the like.

Get them to take up a Sport & Go to the Pub
The college of knowledge, is basically the pub. You learn the ways of the world, and gain social skills, something that uni never does.  Sport is great for building character, and encouraging a competitive spirit.

Just my unqualified 2 pence!