On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday last week, I judged 3 categories for the 2008 DMA Awards. Sworn to secrecy on pain of death, I can’t mention a thing about the work I judged suffice to say that I saw some truly outstanding work. Every year, I join fellow members of judging panels from agency and client side and we tear into every entry like a pack of wolves. How anything survives is sometimes amazing. If outsiders really saw how brutal the process is and how many flaming hoops each piece has to jump through, I think there’d be a few shocked faces and a real genuine pride in the work that wins. It is one hell of an achievement to win a DMA and I’m not sure everyone really understands this.
When the shortlist is made, around 7 to 10 entries are cast on the floor in front of the hungry panel eager to see if their chosen ones made it through. I like to think that I know the great from the good/average and I generally have about a 90% success rate of choosing the shortlisted few. But when it comes to the debate, boy is it passionate. Only the strongest survive. Only the ones who really do tick those three boxes – strategy, creativity and results. I was due to enter a radio and DM campaign in three categories this year but results-wise, it just wasn’t up to it. And you knew full well that some bugger would see straight through my wishy-washy words in the ROI bit.
Many a mind has been changed for or against an entry after an empassioned plea by a juror. No one in the room knows the final result but everyone is sure of one thing – whatever is voted Gold, Silver or Bronze, it bloody well deserves it.
This year more than any other, I think I was re-energised about our industry by some great workand subtley warned that I had to raise the bar yet again!
It really is a privilege judging awards – one I would recommend to anyone but not perhaps the faint-hearted…
P.S. Don’t forget 9 December – Awards night at the glorious Grosvenor House.
This is a weird one but well worth writing up, I assure you. Now I’m no DIY master and unfortunately I proved this the other day whilst bravely trying to replace the washer on our bath taps. To cut a long story short, 5 years after buying our Bristan mixer taps (see pic) and two years after they started leaking, I did the deed but snapped the cold tap putting it back together.
After lots of swearing and the scary realisation that I wouldn’t now be able to turn off the cold water… I called Bristan. I owned up to what had happened and wondered if I had to buy the complete £335 new set for the sake of a 14p wash. ‘Certainly not sir. We’ll send you replacements free of charge today.’ I’ve put that bit in bold because words like this are as rare as hen’s teeth, aren’t they?
Customer service to die for
The company is called Bristan. They make very high quality bathroom and kitchen stuff in traditional or contemporary designs. The parts arrived this morning. They talked me through fitting them. From my emails back and forth plus calls sorting out exactly which of their products we have, they have been the most exceptionally professional and extremely helpful company I’ve come across in years. It’s such a pleasure dealing with people like these guys I just wanted to share my experience.
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
The faultless John Lewis is another exception that proves the rule. But a surprising new entry for me is T-Mobile whose customer service department seems to be entirely staffed by lovely old Northern women who really can’t do enough to help you. It feels like you’re chatting to someone who not only knows you, they know your mum, your kids, your pets and even remember reading your school reports. After having my Blackberry stolen at a recent concert, I’ve had to make quite a few calls to them about a replacement. Each new person has a little chat with you – nothing forced, very natural – and tries incredibly hard to sort out your problem. They even bother to phone you back when they say they will.
Be Broadband is another superstar. Nothing is an issue – everything is calmly and professionally dealt with.
After recent appalling battles with the disgracefully bad BT (one small problem, 23 calls, 14 different people, no resolution – I just left) and the profoundly stupid Talk Talk, it really is a joy to find businesses that give sh*t post sale.
Just one entry into my ‘ugly’ category and that’s Bank of Scotland. I’ve never come across a company that has made me SO angry by their utter contempt for small businesses. They really do not care. Perhaps they’ll be swallowed up soon by the big fish and learn some manners.
A message to all companies: it doesn’t matter how much you spend on your advertising and marketing if your customer service is rotten – I should know, I’ve produced great work for the best and the worst and seen what worked.
Can I just close on Riverford? What can I say? You really owe it to yourself to get your meat and veg from these guys – just amazing.
So keep up the good work Bristan, Riverford et al. But there’s a few companies out there that have a lot of catching up to do.