Customer feedback is not always what it seems

I was going to write more about the waiting game, where it is the peak hour for shoppers and there’s only two cash registers open, or the bank tellers at lunchtime …

On and on.  Nothing will change except for some of us, an increase in grey hair.

Time to move on, and get off my soapbox.

Perhaps we could delve into the online world of customer complaints.

It’s an interesting place,  when I want to buy something, or see something that is too good to be true, I hit the computer, dial-up google, and go into investigative mode.

But, here’s the thing,

The only people who go online, by and large, are there to complain. Yes, there are a few positives, like out of five stars, then the numbers show up for four stars, three stars, etc.

You get the impression that the owner of the product or service had written several 5-star good reports to counterbalance the negativity, which sometimes all belabor the same point.

For a long time, when I saw the bad reports and very few good reports I thought the product was no good, but recently, when talking to someone whose product was for sale, and had a few bad reviews, they said if a customer is satisfied, why did they need to file a report.  People had expressed their good opinion but had not added a review.

That might well be the case.

As an example, I looked at several river cruises in Europe, and the operators.  I then went online to check the customer ratings because these river cruises are very expensive, so you need to know you’re getting value for money.

Nearly all of the reviews were bad, but lacked any credible numbers.  I’m sure more than 46 people have been on those river cruises, considering how popular they are.

But, those that were on the site were critical of the food, the hygiene of the staff, the inability to get more than 1 ‘free’ drink with lunch or dinner, and substitute boats that were terrible.

Against this, however. is the word of mouth reports we have had from many people and is they are excellent.  So the theory of satisfied customers not bothering to add a review holds up.

Food and wine were the heart of this cruise, as well as cabin comfort, and the last thing you need is to be sick for the duration of the cruise.

I have to say, after going on the internet, I was put off.

Perhaps I might revise my policy of looking for information on the internet.  It seems that it sometimes can be quite misleading.

Trying to get off, or is that on, the merry-go-round

Self-published authors are fully aware that perhaps the easiest part of the writing journey is the actual writing.  Well, compared to the marketing aspect I believe it is.

I have read a lot of articles, suggestions and tips and tricks to market the book to the reading public.  It is, to say the least, a lot harder to market eBooks than perhaps their hard or paper-covered relatives.

This is despite the millions of eReaders out there.

Then there is that other fickle part of the publishing cycle, the need for reviews.

Proper reviews of course.

As we are learning, reviews can be bought, and in more ways than one.  What happened to finding writers of the same genre and offering to buy one copy and write a review in return for a buy one copy and write a review.

I’ve noticed that all the current best selling novelists do the same for their fellow novelists though I guess when you get to be a best-seller, you might not have to buy a copy, so I can only dream of attaining such lofty heights in the publishing world.

But until I reach such rarefied air, I guess I have to figure out how to appeal to my fellow writers, and, of course, hope that my work is good enough.

It might be a start in getting through that difficult cycle, more reviews means more sales, etc.  And getting those first sales and reviews  …

Therein lies the conundrum.  It is a question of paying for advertising or working it out for ourselves.  I guess if I were to get more sales, I could afford the advertising … yes, back on the merry-go-round!

And yet, the harder the road, the more I enjoy what I do.  It is exhilarating while writing, it is a joy to finish the first draft, it is an accomplishment when it is published, but when you sell that first book, well, there is no other feeling like it.

I am inspired.

Bow as for that advertisement and where to post it…

It’s been an interesting day

Today we have been delving into the past in a way that makes history interesting.

Also, it’s another way to get young children to take an interest in the past, seeing that is often very difficult to part them from their ipads, smartphones and computer games.

It is part of a weekend devoted to history.

First up is a ride on an old steam train, the engine dating back to the 1950s, as is some of the carriages. Now, for someone like me who is only two years younger, it doesn’t seem that old, but to them, it’s a relic.

And for the youngest of our grandaughters who tells me that this will be her first ride in a train, any train, it’s going to be vastly different from her next ride on a train.

I don’t think it went faster than about 30, whether that’s miles an hour or kilometres, so we had time to take in the bushland, the river crossings and the smell of the coal-generated smoke.

And the biggest treat was for them to climb up into the engine cabin to see who drives it, and how it all works.

I try to tell them this is a far cry from the 300kph bullet trains in China that we recently travelled on. This ride was rattly, noisy, and we were barely able to sit still, whereas on the bullet trains you hardly knew you were moving and was so smooth and silent you didn’t know you were moving until you looked out the window.

Tomorrow we’re going to a historical township, built out of digging for gold in the area. It will be of significance to the elder granddaughter as she is working on a project on Eureka, where there was a watershed between the miners and the authorities.

History, in my opinion, cannot be taught entirely by books, there must be visual and active participation in simulated events for them to get a better understanding. That, and then writing about it in the way historical fiction often brings moments in history alive.

We are all looking forward to tomorrow!

A little nostalgia

Today; like most of the times we have the grandchildren over during the school holidays, we went to the movies.

Bear in mind that they are all girls, the eldest is now 16 and I’m still wondering how she got to be so old so fast.  The other two are 13 and 9 going on 10.  The eldest belongs to one son, and the other two, the other son.

The two eldest get along really well, but tent to exclude the youngest, so it can get a little interesting when travelling in the car for any distance.

But, I guess they are no different from any other family when travelling, and sometimes you have to call ‘time’, when things get a little heated.

Today was one of the good days.

So…

We went to see Dore the Explorer movie.

You will no doubt ask why I went to see this, but here’s the thing, I have spent many years when looking after all three, in watching every episode more than once of Dora on the television.

Yes, I know about Dora, the map, backpack, boots the monkey and swiper the fox.  OMG!

The point is, we’re sitting down and it starts, and we’re all excited.  I know that’s absolutely crazy but when we first learned there was a movie, we were going, come hell or high water.

The plot…

Who cares about the plot.  It’s an adventure, you suspend all belief in reality, and just go with the flow.

And the use of real like characters made it all that more watchable, and that monkey, it’s amazing what they can do with special effects.  I had to admit I almost felt sorry for swiper, and the bad guys.

It’s a gentle reminder that good guys and girls don’t always come last.

And…

It was made in Australia, so I was happily looking for places that I’ve been to, but most of it was in the jungle, and the only recognisable spot was the canefields just south of where we live.  Good enough!

It was a light-hearted great way to spend a couple of hours, and, at the same time, relive a few fond memories.

 

For a change, I thought I’d watch some TV

It’s always a testing time because just about everywhere it’s not really a rating season so therefore the shows are rather terrible.

So, to counterbalance the rubbish we have here at the moment, I managed to find a few shows that are on TV overseas.

I’m always interested in any offering from the UK.  The BBC and ITV make very interesting shows, sometimes quite offbeat, sometimes steeped in history.

The latest from the BBC is a show called ‘The Capture’.

It raises some very interesting questions, like

How far has big brother technology gone in London with a CCTV camera just about on every corner

Can we believe what we see on a television screen that is supposedly streaming live pictures

Are the characters being portrayed believably?

Basically, it’s about a man who is seen on CCTV attacking a woman.  When he’s shown the video, he acknowledges that the man and woman on the tape, are him and the victim, but then goes on to deny he did what the tape displays, the assault.

Forensic evidence tends to disprove that he was the perpetrator, except there are anomalies.

Do we believe what we see, just about everyone in this does.  Such is the power of visual messages.  The question might also be, was it him that did it?  The thing is, he says he didn’t, and the only clear shot of him was at the start when no crime had been committed, and after, his image is not as clear as at the start.

What the hell went on?

This is a piece about the value of CCTV evidence, and it’s admissibility.  That same perpetrator got off on a murder charge simply because the video and sound feed was not aligned, ie, there is a fault in the evidence.

We’re also confronted with a police detective thrown into a high profile case, and who needs a resounding wein to further her career.  She is being fast-tracked, and not everyone is happy about it.  I’m not sure if I like the way she’s being portrayed, or whether that is a problem with the casting.

I only say that because I’m a Keely Hawes fan, and I know she could pull this role off in her sleep.

We also have MI5 somewhere in the mix, pulling all sorts of dubious strings.  Those words, National Interest’ get bandied around a lot in shows like this.

And like any good show, it’s got me guessing if he is guilty or not.

But this show is in stark contrast to a little light entertainment know as “The Reef” and American based show that is shot at the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia.

It’s near where we live, and I find rather than taking notice of the throwaway plotline and characters, I’m watching it for the locations.

To be honest, I was surprised it was not shot in Hawaii or somewhere like that.

Still, I can think of worse ways to spend the on average 42 minutes of light-hearted entertainment.

This is in direct contrast to a show called ‘Pennyworth’, about the rise to fame for the Batman’s Bruce Wayne’s eventual butler.

A SAS hard-nut, it’s quite an interesting portrayal, but sometimes drifts off track on peripheral issues like tonight, where we dwelled upon the possibility that the devil is alive and well somewhere in London, and in particular, Thomas Wayne.

There was a light bulb moment when I finally got the impression that Thomas Wayne and Martha Kane might just end up as Thomas and Martha Wayne patents of Bruce.

I know, a bit slow on the uptake.

And they dwelled, or should I say it was Martha that dwelled, on three missing days, in which it might be that she met the devil of a different sort, and ending up stark naked on Hampstead Heath.  The problem is, she cant remember.

I also looked at Pandora, a sort of space opera, but I’m still trying to wrap my head around portals.

The lesson learned for the night, nothing is what it seems, and everyone has an ulterior motive.  When they’re not trying to take over the world.

Maybe tomorrow night might throw up something a little more realistic.

The importance of reviews

Self-published authors are fully aware that perhaps the easiest part of the writing journey is the actual writing.  Well, compared to the marketing aspect I believe it is.

I have read a lot of articles, suggestions and tips and tricks to market the book to the reading public.  It is, to say the least, a lot harder to market eBooks than perhaps their hard or paper-back relatives.

This is despite the millions of eReaders out there.

Then there is that other fickle part of the publishing cycle, the need for reviews.

Proper reviews of course.

As we are learning, reviews can be bought.  Currently, Amazon is out there seeking out these reviews and reviewers and it will be interesting to see the result of their actions.

All the advice I have seen and read tells me that reviews should not be paid for, that reviews will come with sales.  It might be a difficult cycle, more reviews means more sales, etc.  And getting those first sales …

Therein lies the conundrum.  It is a question of paying for advertising or working it out for ourselves.  I guess if I were to get more sales, I could afford the advertising … yes, back on the merry-go-round!

And yet, the harder the road, the more I enjoy what I do.  It is exhilarating while writing, it is a joy to finish the first draft, it is an accomplishment when it is published, but when you sell that first book, well, there is no other feeling like it.

 

It’s dark, it’s late, it’s raining…

Yes, it’s dark and late at night on this side of the world, and I’m guessing where you are, it’s probably summer, the sun’s out, the day is warm, even slightly hot, and you’ve got better things to do.

Here, in the so-called land down under, which surprisingly a lot of people from the other side of the world do not know about…

Now, hang on, that can’t be true, because we all know the world is round and there had to be something or somewhere opposite.  I know that north we have China, and Europe, and further away, the United States.

Been to China, and Europe and the United States, so I know you’re all there, somewhere.

And, as you can see, the rain and the cold has amped up the boredom factor and pushing me to do anything other than writing.  I have three jobs I’m supposed to be doing,

  1. Editing the next five chapters of Walthenson, a Private Detective novel
  2. Writing two episodes of a serial story about surveillance going wrong, and
  3. Finishing off the travelogue about our China trip

None of them is appealing to me at the moment.

Instead, I find myself looking at what is showing on Summer TV in the US, one of which is called Reef Break with Poppy Montgomery.  Interesting show, it is filmed in Australia at the Gold Coast, about 30 minutes south of where I live, and it’s a treat to see all those places we are so familiar with, on your TV.  I wondered why it was shot in Australia, then I discovered Poppy Montgomery is Australian.

Fascinating,

Then there’s one of my favourites, Elementary.  I’m a Sherlock Holmes nut, but what’s getting me is the fact Lucy Liu has blondish hair.  Sorry, it’s distracting.

There’s the InBetween, you know, that spooky place between life and death, much the same as saying I see dead people, hang on, didn’t Bruce Willis say that once upon a time?  It seems interesting, but time will tell.

But, my favourite at the moment, Blood and Treasure.  Indiana Jones without Indiana Jones, but I like the travelogue, an adversary that I last saw in Covert Affairs, and a good and bad guy, now a thoroughly bad guy.  I still think he works for Israeli Intelligence in some sort of cross-over.  Nazis though, why is it the Nazis keep raising their heads?

Maybe Grand Hotel will give me some light-hearted relief.  No, sorry, a suspicious death, a wicked stepmother trying to get rid of the hotel, a porter who’s investigating said susp[icious death, and the usual smattering of spoilt rich kids who don’t seem to learn anything, and mostly manners and humility, at those expensive finishing schools.

There’s more, but I better get back to work.