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For 2023 - we are now fully retired from IT training.
We have made many, many friends over 25 years of teaching about Python, Tcl, Perl, PHP, Lua, Java, C and C++ - and MySQL, Linux and Solaris/SunOS too. Our training notes are now very much out of date, but due to upward compatability most of our examples remain operational and even relevant ad you are welcome to make us if them "as seen" and at your own risk.

Lisa and I (Graham) now live in what was our training centre in Melksham - happy to meet with former delegates here - but do check ahead before coming round. We are far from inactive - rather, enjoying the times that we are retired but still healthy enough in mind and body to be active!

I am also active in many other area and still look after a lot of web sites - you can find an index ((here))
Service Excellence Awards

First and foremost - my congratulations to Trowbridge Chamber of Commerce in arranging their 2008 service excellence awards, which attracted 60 entrants ... and a guest list of around 300 to Trowbridge Civil Hall last night. And to all fifteen finalists who reached the final stage of the competition, where one winner was selected from the fifteen but - as speaker after speaker keep saying - everyone was a winner.

Customer service is key. We hear it time and time again - you know the "Customer is King" and "Make your customer you ambassador" lines, and I totally agree; it's what we attempt to do. And then there's "go that extra mile". That's important too. For the first half of the evening, we sat though three batches of five videos, introducing each company (the runners) where we saw pictures of them holding sponsor's logos, some spinning artwork to set the scene, and a two minute presentation seated in front of a white backdrop. A little on how the company was formed, who owned it, and what they do, followed by examples of how they "go that extra mile". With fifteen presentations to record and format, there was a lot of work even with such a tightly controlled format and it gave us little chance to see more than a bit of how the selected rabbits from these companies acted when caught in the headlights, and to share with them their embarrassment at having to talk about an example of how they had gone that extra mile. "Bill opened the shop specially", "Claire stopped with Mrs Jones who had had her handbag stolen until the police arrived" ... yes - these ARE the things that should be done, should be commended, but to have the do-er talk about them, in a standard-format video, was so out of character for them as to be awkward.

I found myself wondering "what would I do in their circumstance" and - much more importantly - "could we be up on that stage / on that video?" The answer to the latter is yes, we could. We are a customer service organisation and we should all be going that extra mile not just in special cases but every day. Two days ago - running our delegates up to Chippenham station at the end of their course. Yesterday - nipping out to the postbox to post a letter for an overnight guest, and telling him that if he brings his wife next time we'll show them around. Today - already planned to move the whole course forward an hour so that the delegates can get away early for their long journeys home. But these are not things from which to select a single example and hold up in front on the audience.

"In their circumstance" I also asked. I am doubtful as to whether or not I would have us enter their competition, and very doubtful if I would allow myself to be dragooned into coming up with an example. I might if I were there; I don't know the pressures. But I also know that staff are key and if Chris and Sharon and Sarah wished that we enter, I would back them and give them hearty support. For it's the team that makes the customer experience and customer service, and I'm proud of our team. When the winner had been chosen (via a simulated horse-race - aren't computer graphics marvellous?), further speeches went on to emphasise the team aspect (agreed), and the need for training (agreed); something of a case of shutting the stable door after the horse had bolted (please excuse my continuing with the racing theme) as the people there last night were not the new businesses, nor the ones with crap customer service, to whom this message should really be delivered.

The question is asked "how and if should Melksham Chamber of Commerce be involved next year" and no doubt my opinion will be sought. The obvious first - we should encourage local service excellence in the town. We should put our name and effort to that encouragement. Whether we do so via a judged competition such as the Trowbridge one, followed by a major presentation evening, I'm a little more ambivalent about. For sure, it should get the press attention for a "good news story". Perhaps my problem with the evening was that I was driving ... and I wasn't quaffing away at the wine as those all around me were ... perhaps I'm just an old stick in the mud.

It's 06:30, and I'm about to post. Sharon has been at "The Manor" doing at event breakfast for the last hour, and I want to get over there very soon. I know that one of our regulars has been going through some quite dramatic times for the last ten days and at the least I want to say "hi" and give him the sort of welcome I would want myself in the circumstances.

My congratulations to The Tale of Spice - the Indian Restaurant in the heart of Trowbridge, who won the competition. Something about their presentation, and knowing something of their culture, led me to guess that they would do very well. I've never been in to the "Tale of Spice" but after last night I'm sure that I'll go in there one day (and not wearing those Chamber of Commerce gold chains that make me rather stand out - but rather as Joe Public) and have a great experience - I look forward to it

(written 2009-01-30, updated 2009-02-01)

Associated topics are indexed as below, or enter http://melksh.am/nnnn for individual articles
Z403 - Organisations
  [58] Call Centres, selling, and a pause for thought - (2004-09-22)
  [307] Farming yesterday - (2005-05-10)
  [472] Are you free on 29th October - Charity ball - (2005-10-21)
  [981] Finalist reception - Wiltshire Business of the Year - (2006-12-13)
  [1258] A day looking ahead for Well House Consultants - (2007-07-05)
  [1278] West Wilts Show - (2007-07-26)
  [1280] West Wilts - no longer Wet Wilts - show - (2007-07-28)
  [2012] The Wiltshire Police - (2009-01-29)
  [2026] Melksham Climate Friendly Group - (2009-02-05)
  [2128] Wiltshire - where everybody matters - (2009-04-13)
  [2236] Alumni - revisiting and supporting the old University - (2009-06-13)
  [2271] Dogs Trust, Dog Show, Newbury - (2009-07-06)
  [2574] Summary of Wiltshire Core Strategy responses - (2010-01-13)
  [2585] Consultation in Melksham, on Melkshams future - (2010-01-17)
  [2807] Canal through Melksham - the options and issues - (2010-06-13)
  [2869] Contact Information for Melksham Oak Community School - (2010-07-13)
  [2902] Community consultation - a true open input - (2010-08-04)
  [3317] Self Portrait (in words) - (2011-06-04)
  [3484] A Melksham Timeline - Domesday to present day - (2011-10-17)
  [3511] Melksham has a heart - have your picture taken and support the defibrillator appeal - (2011-11-06)
  [3604] Melksham Campus - a blog you can read, and a place you can comment - (2012-02-08)
  [3677] Some advise for guest speakers at meetings - (2012-03-31)
  [3704] The Bowerhill Villager - a newsletter for Bowerhill, Melksham - (2012-04-22)
  [3712] Some unpublished and historic pictures - Museum of Melksham - (2012-04-28)
  [3774] Melksham - a new dawn - (2012-06-23)
  [4020] Melksham Community - Annual Report / MCAP - (2013-02-26)
  [4039] Seed Swap at Well House Manor - (2013-03-10)
  [4548] Melksham - two small townships, or one big one? - (2015-10-22)

G501 - Well House Consultants - Customer Service
  [72] On Customer Service - (2004-10-03)
  [91] On line every 24 hours - (2004-10-17)
  [126] Feedback shows the tip of an iceberg - (2004-11-22)
  [150] Confession - (2004-12-13)
  [189] Tuesdays and Fridays - (2005-01-25)
  [195] Customer service - examples to warn us - (2005-01-30)
  [233] Giving customers best value - (2005-03-02)
  [265] Business practise, 2005 style - (2005-04-03)
  [327] How far should our support go - (2005-05-28)
  [350] Want to be one better - (2005-06-17)
  [393] Trainer answers phone - (2005-07-28)
  [440] Upgrade! - (2005-09-09)
  [482] Different ways of selling - (2005-11-01)
  [552] Keeping Customers Informed - (2006-01-02)
  [566] May all your screw-ups be big ones - (2006-01-16)
  [569] Instructions for bright people - (2006-01-19)
  [609] Been on a course, but still not got it? - (2006-02-16)
  [621] And the staff put the icing on the cake - (2006-02-23)
  [628] Active Learning - (2006-02-28)
  [650] A person of few words - (2006-03-18)
  [717] A customer service company - (2006-05-11)
  [725] Better communication - (2006-05-19)
  [841] Forum help - a push in the right direction - (2006-08-21)
  [852] Eventful evening - a lesson in looking after contacts - (2006-09-02)
  [944] Just ******* Google it - (2006-11-25)
  [961] Products that our customers want more of - (2006-12-03)
  [966] CSL, KISS and RTFM - (2006-12-05)
  [1007] Friends and family - (2006-12-25)
  [1046] Bounce, bounce, bounce - (2007-01-20)
  [1262] Keep in touch with PHP, Perl, Python and old friends too - (2007-07-09)
  [1319] Customer feedback - lifeblood of a business - (2007-08-25)
  [1434] Market survey - to learn, to prove a point, or to sell your product? - (2007-11-17)
  [1446] An answer to a student asking 'Help' - (2007-11-27)
  [1516] Pictures you can use - for free - from our library - (2008-01-23)
  [1606] Sheep Shearers, Marathon Runners and Ocean Sailors - (2008-04-09)
  [1637] Providing exceptional service - and carrying on doing so. - (2008-05-09)
  [1835] 23:30 bookings and midnight checkins - (2008-10-12)
  [1985] Learning to program as a part of your job - (2009-01-10)
  [1991] Rules for a King - (2009-01-13)
  [2049] Why Choose Well House Consultants for your course? - (2009-02-20)
  [2102] What do people think of our Apache httpd / Tomcat course? - (2009-03-24)
  [2124] Building down expectations - (2009-04-09)
  [2258] Questions I have been asked on answering the phone - (2009-06-26)
  [2530] Taking a knock over Santa - (2009-12-08)
  [2650] Getting a phone line changed ... - (2010-02-25)
  [2880] Getting in touch - Please allow me to see you when you are online - (2010-07-21)
  [2961] Initial handling of phone calls and walk in visitors - (2010-09-19)
  [3073] Customer Service - the boundary - (2010-11-27)
  [3103] Thank you - and Happy Christmas - (2010-12-24)
  [3271] The importance of feedback - (2011-04-30)
  [3294] It's not just about the jam in the sandwich - (2011-05-19)
  [3378] New product - ensuring that supply matches demand - (2011-08-03)
  [3808] Can you put names to faces? - (2012-07-19)
  [3835] The Information age - not yet truly with us? - (2012-08-12)
  [4077] Palty or Parliamentary? - (2013-04-30)
  [4078] Train works for me! - (2013-05-02)
  [4232] Not wanted here - hotel guests who will not be happy - (2013-12-30)

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Apache httpd and Apache Tomcat miscellany
Some other Articles
Baby Caleb and Fortune City in your web logs?
UnboundLocalError - Python Message
Python - a truly dynamic language
Apache httpd and Apache Tomcat miscellany
Service Excellence Awards
First Class
wxPython - Introduction and sample
Conversion of OSI grid references to Eastings and Northings
How long should a training module be?
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This is a page archived from The Horse's Mouth at http://www.wellho.net/horse/ - the diary and writings of Graham Ellis. Every attempt was made to provide current information at the time the page was written, but things do move forward in our business - new software releases, price changes, new techniques. Please check back via our main site for current courses, prices, versions, etc - any mention of a price in "The Horse's Mouth" cannot be taken as an offer to supply at that price.

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