August 29, 2011

I don’t believe you… You tell me I’m a valued customer, but once you have me in your clutches you couldn’t care less.

I’ve been phoning a few companies recently, and I have to say that in general their customer service stinks. From having spent hours calling banks, communication companies and utility suppliers I now have a complete collection of pre-recorded fob-off phrases.

“Your call is important to us. Please hold.” Actually, that’s pretty clever of you because my call may NOT actually be important to you. I might just be planning to play my Alice Cooper albums down the phone at you, seeing that I’ve had to listen to your crummy selection of cheesy tunes.

And if my call is so important to you, how come you’ve kept me hanging on so long that I’ve grown a beard?

This from my bank: “I’m transferring you to the department that deals with that particular query.” A moment’s silence, then a recorded voice informing me: “This number is no longer in use.” Beeeeeeep.

Nice one.

Mind you, it’s better than some of the numbers West Lothian Council use. Try phoning them, and it just rings and rings. After a few minutes of waiting for somebody to pick up, it simply cuts you off.

Well, here’s my message to them: “Please listen to the following options: (Button 1 on your keypad) Talk to me when I call you – or I will tell everybody how awful your customer service is. I will do it in my newspaper column, and online… and to anybody who will listen. Or (Button 2 on your keypad) say goodbye as I take my custom elsewhere.”

Or, in the case of West Lothian Council, maybe we should just go down to their lovely big flash HQ and try to contact them by standing out in the carpark and yelling into a megaphone at them. If you did that, at least you wouldn’t simply be ignored.

Drew McAdam



August 22, 2011

I don’t know who carries out all these studies that appear on the news – and frankly, I don’t care. What I do care about, however, is the amount of time and money wasted on some of the nonsense masquerading as scientific studies, and the hours spent compiling the reports.

It seems to me that some of the people carrying out these studies could do with finding themselves real jobs. Something more productive than counting lampposts or measuring carrots.

The latest survey claims that 67 percent of drivers in Scotland would pull over and help a motorist who had broken down.

Eh? Do you really think that if you were at the side of the road with your car bonnet up, almost 7 out of 10 drivers would stop to help? Stuff and nonsense. I bet you could stand all day on the A71 staring blankly at your dead engine without a single motorist pulling in to help.

It wouldn’t be because people don’t care about your plight. I mean, what are they going to do when they offer assistance? Most modern cars don’t actually have moving parts – they have computers. Have you seen a modern engine? It’s just a big box and a lot of wires. So, now there would be TWO people staring blankly under the bonnet.

And does standing in a cloud of steam telling the poor driver that “Yup, your radiator is goosed…” count as helping?

Anyway, most people these days have a mobile phone. They can summon assistance quickly and easily.

So, where did this 67 percent figure come from? From going round with a clipboard and asking people if they would help a motorist whose vehicle had broken down, I wager. I mean, who is going to answer “No” to that question? Which means the answers you get are wrong, and the survey is flawed. Which, in turn, means this nationwide survey is a colossal waste of time and resources.

If you don’t believe me, I am up for a wager. I am willing to spend all day at the side of the road with the bonnet of my car pointing skyward. If two-thirds of drivers stop and ask if they can assist me, I will personally eat my entire car one tiny bit at a time.

Actually, eating my car is a waste of time and resources – just like this survey. The latest in a long line of pointless surveys.

Drew McAdam


August 14, 2011


I’ve written about the Magnetic Tree before. And it’s something I expand on at my business seminars. It’s a great way to describe how the mind works when faced with a crisis – any crisis. Including the present economic mess the County is sliding into.

I first heard of the Magnetic Tree in the moments before I stepped out of a ‘plane on my first parachute jump. The Jump Master told us that the Landing Zone (LZ) was about the size of an average Australian sheep farm. However, it contained one object – and one object only. A tree.

“When you are coming in to land, do not – under any circumstances – look at that tree,” he instructed us. “If you look at the tree it will become a powerful magnet, and you WILL hit it.”

And quite a few did.

The Magnetic Tree perfectly demonstrates the psychological principle called “pilot fixation” that where the mind looks the body follows. So, if we fixate our minds on the vision of something negative then we will produce negative results.

If the mind is preoccupied by today’s financial crisis, job losses, business collapses and so on… then that’s exactly where we are heading. And no mistake.

Yes, there are going to be problems. And, yes, people are already losing their jobs. But if we concentrate on the problems rather than the solutions then we are making the same mistake as somebody parachuting to earth who can’t take his eyes off the Magnetic Tree.

I am honoured to know many West Lothian entrepreneurs and businessmen. And do you know what? Almost without exception every one of them was a victim of some previous employer going bust, or a mine closing, or the car plant shutting down. Yet they marked that as a starting point, rather than their ruination.

They were made redundant but decided not to become fixated on the Magnetic Tree looming ever larger. Instead, they concentrated on where they wanted to go rather than where they DIDN’T want to go.

There will be job losses, yes. Financial cuts that lead to unemployment. But among the individuals being pushed from their jobs there are dozens of bright minds who will go on to set up the remarkable, innovative companies of tomorrow.

Because that’s what business folks from West Lothian do!

In short, we refuse to look at the Magnetic Tree.