a reasonable way to promote their products, protect their customer base (that's you, in this case) and beat the competition.
There are a few, though, who need to look to their laurels and beyond, who need to remember that customers are crucial. And a little bit of friendly customer service, plus promises kept, go a very long way.
Here, for what it's worth, are my top (surely that should be bottom?) companies who could do with making some New Year's resolutions.
First up in my random access memory is Paper Roll Logistics and other Canadian companies of similar ilk. They are masters at telesales, coaxing staff to agree to a till roll delivery followed by whopping bills, charging well above what the rolls are worth.
Second, Albany Catering. Stop pestering people who don't want your slush and coffee machines. How is it that you manage to bypass the Telephone Preference Service? I've asked before and have been told that there is an automatic block preventing telesales calls to TPS-registered businesses. So why is it that all the retailers who call me about Albany Catering tell me that they are registered with TPS to block such calls.
Most recent was Malcolm Dobson, who runs Skinnergate News at Darlington, County Durham. "Different people ring two or three times a day. We dial 1471, but the number is always withheld." He has asked TPS for a complaint form.
"And now," he adds, "we're getting calls from Albany Energy, too."
Don't get me started on energy companies. But come to think of it, telephone companies should go on this list, too, for allowing people to withhold their numbers. If someone phones you, you should be entitled to know who. And if that's inconvenient for big corporations, then surely some other system can be devised to route curious 1471 callers through their switchboards via some push-off message as in: "Yes, you've reached your caring, sharing bank. We did
call you, and 16 others at the same time, but as you didn't answer first, you just got silence. We apologise for any inconvenience. Oh, and we'll try again later."
Christopher Ray, who runs Pound Road Stores at Kingswood in Bristol, would like to award Coors with a special prize for missed opportunities. He writes: "Coors arranged a 'free pack of Carling voucher' in The Sun newspaper, but failed to warn the trade (or at least the part I'm in) and we therefore quickly sold out and had to turn away customers." He wonders if the multiples were pre-warned.
Regular Dear Jac readers would be disappointed if I didn't include a certain ATM provider who is charging consumers too much. The average spend in a c-store is still under a fiver. If you need £20 in cash, you really don't want to pay nearly two quid to get it.
There is rather a lot of choice of ATMs in most places so consumers will go elsewhere and may get used to going elsewhere.