Banks need to WAKE up and held accountable

PE Police are looking for the man in this photo who might help them in their investigation into the disappearance of PE teacher Jade Panayioutou. The police confirmed on Wednesday that her body had been found.

This is a terrible story but just one of many happening every week in our country. Have a look at the picture of the suspect at the ATM. Can you identify the man? No? Can the police identify the man? No. Why is it that ATM’s have such pathetic cameras? My CCTV security camera at home takes HD video and pictures. Why can the ATM’s not do the same?

Why are the banks not forced to implement proper security at the ATM’s? Countless lives could probably be saved if the banks spent a little more of their enormous profits to secure ATM’s and install high definition cameras. It’s absolutely unacceptable that they continue to ignore their responsibilities.

Come on banks. Do something positive for a change and invest in upgrading your outdated and antiquated technology. Take responsibility. Do something.


Punctuality and Success

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There is a worrying trend developing amongst young people today. I’ve seen it develop and increase over the years and I need to say something about it. There is a growing nonchalant attitude towards punctuality. I take this matter so seriously that I have actually fired employees on the spot for being late for meetings. Punctuality is the foundation upon which success is built. Successful people measure time in seconds and minutes. Losers measure time in hours, days, weeks and months. Punctuality is important to me because time is important to me. If you are 15 minutes late for an appointment you have effectively stolen 15 minutes from me. You have robbed me of the most valuable commodity in the universe. I would prefer it if you stole money from me, but not time. Time I can never get back.

Being late is being tardy. It reflects a number of things about you. It shows that you do not value time. Therefore you do not value success. You are not driven to be successful.

It shows that you have no respect. You do not see anything wrong with stealing time from another person. You can only steal from someone that you don’t respect. Respect is one of the most important cornerstones of success. If there is no respect then how can there be progress? How can there be synergy? How can there be mutual goals?

It shows that you do not respect yourself. If you respected yourself then you would take pride in your punctuality. You would take pride in being 5 minutes early at every appointment or meeting. You would take pride in the seriousness with which you view your own ambition.

Why is this so important? Because successful people only associate with successful people. If you have no ambition and you have no respect and you have no pride then you will never be allowed into the company of success. Successful people avoid tardiness like the plague. Successful people are never late.

Change your ways or be doomed to mediocrity forever. Success is something you DO, not something you GET.

ACL Reconstructive Surgery – Be Prepared

imageAnterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (ACL reconstruction) is a surgical tissue graft replacement of the anterior cruciate ligament, located in the knee, to restore its function after anterior cruciate ligament injury. The torn ligament is removed from the knee before the graft is inserted. The surgery is performed arthroscopically.

I tore my ACL during a skiing accident and had the operation 7 days ago. The purpose of this article to help others that are going to have the same surgery. There would be no need for this article if the medical profession had Communication as a subject in medical school. Unfortunately their ability to communicate and explain the procedures, reasons and what to expect during the operation and post-op is less than non-existent. It’s shocking that a surgeon can perform such an invasive procedure on a patient without carefully explaining everything.

I had my accident in France and walked around with a torn ACL and torn Medial Colateral Ligament (MCL) before flying back home. The day after arriving home I went to see the orthopedic surgeon. He looked at my knee and sent me for an MRI. Back in the consultation room he mused over the images of the scan and informed me that I need the operation – the next day.

I tried to ask some questions but it all happened quite fast. He answered them in the typical doctor tone. “It’s quick”. “You’ll be up in no time”. He gave me a brief overview of what he’s going to do in medical terms, of which I understood very little. “See you in the morning”, he said and rushed off to see another patient.

I sat there slightly dazed. Thinking, what the fuck just happened with a thousand questions going through my mind. How long will the recovery be? Will I be able to make my next international trip scheduled for 2 weeks? I was not prepared for what lay ahead mentally. Not in the slightest. In fact I had no fucking idea what was going to happen.

The next day I arrive at the hospital and get settled. At this point, one week after the accident I had very little pain. I was uncomfortable but could walk easily with the brace. The anesthetist comes in to explain that he is going to do Spinal anaesthesia, which basically means that my lower body will be paralyzed during the procedure. A few hours later I’m wheeled out to the theatre and the anesthetist proceeds to stick a needle, which feels more like a leather sewing awl into my spinal cord. It’s then that I have my first experience of what was to come. Excruciating pain shoots through your body as he moves this needle around to inject the liquid.

Within a few minutes my lower body is completely numb and the surgeon proceeds to butcher my leg. He cuts and drills and hammers and carries on like its a Dubai construction site. You don’t feel anything but it sounds horrific. The sound and vibration of the power drill is the worst because you lay there thinking, what the hell is this guy doing? And then you start thinking. It’s gonna hurt like a bitch when the anethesia wears off. It has to. The fucker is using a power drill to make fucking holes in your leg.

Back in the hospital ward your leg is put in a brace. You feel nothing and think to yourself, this isn’t so bad!

3 hours later the feeling comes back slowly. It starts in your feet. By the time you get the feeling back in your legs the pain hits. It hits you like a wrecking ball, and there’s no naked Miley Cirus sitting on it to distract you. It hits you hard.

5 hours in and you are buzzing the nurse to bring the pharmacy of mind numbing drugs. She injects you in your ass but that only helps for a few hours. Then the pain comes flooding back like a tsunami. You call the nurse again and she brings more tablets. The first night you have no sleep. Nada. I don’t care your religious conviction. I don’t care if you’re an atheist. You will pray. I prayed to every god possible hoping that one of the sons of bitches was listening. No, they weren’t listening. The fuckers were sleeping while you felt like finding a angle grinder to cut of the leg.

The next day they clean the bandages and remove the blood drain. The physiotherapist comes and starts explaining to you what you need to do for the next few days. Have to keep the brace on at all times, even in the shower. Do excersises in bed to activate your muscles. Ice packs to reduce swelling and they give you a little bag of pain killers to take home. I remember looking at the bag and asking the nurse where’s the big box. This is surely not enough.

You get home and immediately get in bed. You drink your pain killers but soon realize you can only drink the tablets every 6 hours but they only work for 4. Which means that for 2 hours you are gnarling your teeth and clenching your fists. The pain is excruciating.

The worst is the immobility. The muscles in your leg, especially the quads start cramping. The cramps turn into spasms that don’t go away no matter how much you massage them. You do your excersises as instructed but by god I was not prepared for this. Trying to sleep is impossible. I can’t sleep on my back so I try and turn on my side at night. Big mistake. Each attempt at turning wakes you up in a cold sweat. You can’t find a comfortable position because of the brace.

Day 2 it slowly starts getting better. At least you are not in pain 24 hours of the day. You have times when you feel ok. And then the constipation kicks in. Man oh man. The meds has fucked up your stomach and sitting on a toilet with a fully extended leg brace is not fun.

Showering is very difficult because you are putting all your weight on your good leg. It tires after a while. You have to wrap your leg in plastic because your bandages aren’t allowed to get wet. That in itself is a mammoth task if you don’t have any help.

Day 3 and you can start moving a little on the crutches without wanting to pass out. But you can’t remain on your feet too long or your leg swells up like the Hinderberg. Lots of ice packs reduce the swelling and help to manage the pain.

Day 7, and I am writing this blog. For the past 7 days I have slept a maximum of 3 hours a night. You can’t escape the pain and the discomfort. The cramps are excruciating and my heel is becoming extremely sensitive from carrying the weight of my leg. One forgets how easy it is with a normal leg to just bend it the moment you feel discomfort. With the brace on you can’t do that. It just remains straight and its rebelling.

At this point your muscles start deteriorating. You visibly lose muscle mass, no matter the excersises you do. Atrophy is a big concern because the more muscle you lose the longer it’s going to take to recover.

On day 10 I will be back a the doctor so that they can remove the bandages and adjust the brace for more flexion. I can’t wait to get back so that I can tell the surgeon just how bad his communication skills are.

Some people might be saying that I’m exaggerating or can’t handle pain. That’s bullshit. I can handle more pain than anyone I know. It’s also dangerous to listen to people that had the op a long time ago. They forget the early stages of recovery quickly and remember coming out of the recovery. My research indicates that what I am recounting here is the norm, not the exception.

So what is normal? What can you realistically expect?

You can expect:

  • Not just be down, but to be mind fuckingly depressed after this surgery
  • Not be able to do anything
  • Need someone around you for a while after the surgery. I don’t mean a few hours, I mean like a couple weeks.
  • Be in extraordinary pain
  • Be on so many drugs you can’t see or think
  • Be crying

Some tips that can help you through this:

  • Elevate your bed by placing books under the legs of the bed in front. Elevating the leg reduces swelling. Don’t put a cushion under you leg. That’s bad.
  • Ice, ice, ice and more ice. It helps the pain and reduces the swelling.
  • Make sure you have enough pain killers. You don’t want to run out on a weekend in the middle of the night.
  • Exercise your leg but don’t over exercise in the first 2 weeks. Exercise is critical to get extension and activate the muscles, but over exercise can cause bleeding and more severe cramps.
  • Be prepared to be in bed for the first 10 days.
  • Don’t worry about flexion. Focus on extension. Straighten you leg fully and flex your quads. Extension is more important than flexion.
  • Do lots of foot pumps to improve circulation
  • Use a cusion between your legs when you sleep. It allows your leg to rest on the cusion taking some strain of the leg.
  • Massage you leg muscles regularly. It will increase circulation and reduce cramping
  • Be prepared for a fairly long recovery. It will take 9 months for your leg to heal properly and even then most people only get their leg to 65%.
  • Think carefully about going back to sport. You can easily re injure the leg and will then have to go through all this again.
  • Watch you diet. Eat lots of fibre and drink lots of water. Take medication for constipation if it doesn’t clear up.

No matter what anyone says, even your doctor. You will have a bumb knee for the rest of your life. If you are one of the lucky ones that made a full recovery and got back to previous levels of activity you are the exception.

I hope this helps some unfortunate soul that has to go through the same procedure. Would I have gone through with the surgery had I known about all the above? Yes. But I wouldn’t have been trawling the Internet at 3am every morning trying to find out if there is something fundamentally fucked up with me. I would have expected it and would have been much more relaxed.

It gets better every day.

Good luck.

Marthinus

How to deal with customer complaints

How to deal with customer complaints

Yes, it’s true. More people complain that compliment. It’s natural human behavior. People complain when they’re upset and seldom compliment good service. Good service is expected. Bad service is not.

Customer complaints are part and parcel of running a business and every business gets complaints, no matter how good they are. The idea is obviously to get as few as possible complaints. 

 Today community communication through social media is ubiquitous. Everyone belongs to some group or forum where they share common interests and it’s easy for them to share their opinion about the service they received at a business. Inevitably they share their bad experiences because they want to either “get even” or because they want to legitimately warn their friends. 

In the past many large companies had call centers and help lines dealing with complaints. Today most companies have social media teams that monitor online chatter about their brand. Some even use complex software to track and monitor online mentions. These teams then respond to complains online ensuring that the complaints don’t spiral out of control and eventually become viral.

Some companies are very good at it while others are notoriously bad at it. The ones that are bad at it are typically still stuck in the old school thinking that if they ignore the complaint then it will go away. The problem with social media is that it seldom just goes away. In fact, it typically escalates into a much bigger problem and if dealt with expeditiously in the beginning the escalation could have been prevented. Companies that are bad at dealing with online complaints typically also just provide bad service. 

 So what must a business do to deal with complaints effectively? 

 You don’t have to be a multinational company with a team of social media experts to deal with complaints effectively. You don’t need complex software algorithms to warn you about online activity. The first and foremost thing you need to do is provide good service.

The reality is that if you provide good service then you will seldom have to deal with complaints. Your purpose is to provide a service to your customers and if they don’t like what you’re doing then obviously you are doing something wrong. How can you know if you are on the wrong track? How will you know if you are overcharging your customers? How will you know if your product or service is crappy? Your cusrtomers will tell you. In no uncertain terms. 

 How do you fix it? 

 By listening and then acting accordingly.

Every company is inside a community. It could be a geographical community or industry. Every company operates inside a community. Find the places where your community congregates online. Join these communities and participate. Listen, read and be watchful. It’s your community and you need to know what they are saying.

If you pick up one complaint about your business don’t stick your head in the sand like an ostrich. Don’t take it personally. Don’t get upset. Don’t become indignant. Every customer has a right to complain if they feel they were short-changed or didn’t receive the service they paid for. It’s their right, guaranteed in our Constitution. In addition it’s legal. 

It’s totally legal for a customer to complain about poor service. In fact the Consumer a Protection Act actively encourages complaining about service issues. 

The only time you, as the business owner will have recourse is if the complaint is obviously defamatory. It can only be defamatory if it’s not the truth. If I say that the hamburger you sold me is too expensive then it’s my opinion and you have no recourse. If I say that it tasted bad, then you cannot sue me. If I say that I found a cockroach in my food and it’s not true and I can’t prove it then I am lying and you can sue me for defamation.

The reality is that most complaints are legitimate. Why would someone bother to complain if it’s not true? 

 So how do you handle it? 

 Once you see the complaint respond immediately. Immediately apologise and offer to correct it. Don’t make lame-ass excuses. Consumers aren’t stupid. Be genuine and apologize. Offer to rectify the situation.

Listen and learn. Don’t be hard-assed. Don’t be bullheaded and fob the customer off by insinuating that they don’t know what they’re talking about. The customer is king and you must respect the fact that they spend their money with you. You are either going to create a prophet for your business or you are going to create a terrorist. 

 Be honest with yourself. If the customer is right and you can change the way you do things then do it. Change your recipe. Reprimand a staff member that annoyed the customer. Change your pricing policy. Improve your service.

By being open minded you will constantly improve and you will receive less complaints. You will have more happy customers. Your reputation will improve and people will notice that you really care about the service you provide. 

Every possible opportunity you have to interact with a customer is a good marketing opportunity. Your goal must be to turn every disgruntled customer into a happy customer. Even if you are responding to a complaint online you are marketing yourself. It’s an opportunity to talk to customers. Isn’t that what business are supposed to do? 

In closing, the excuse that you don’t use Facebook or Twitter or Instagram is not a valid excuse.  These are your tools. They should be your new best friends. If you don’t know how to use these tools then learn. Find a way. 

Ignorance is not an excuse and if you don’t use these tools then you will have to bear the brunt of the brutal immediacy that social media will unleash upon you.