Entries tagged with “Chantelle Cole”.


 Cape Town StadiumThe City of Cape Town has lost 12 bids for new Events for Cape Town in the past six months, and has lost two existing events to other cities, said Anton Groenewald, Executive Director of the City of Cape Town Tourism, Events, and Marketing Directorate, at the Annual General Meeting of Cape Town Tourism two weeks ago.

According to Southern African Tourism Update, Groenewald blamed the ‘City’s limited bidding budget‘ and the stronger international currencies of other bidding countries for the poor track record. The weaker Rand this year affected the costs of bidding for international events, he said:  ‘Exchange rate fluctuation impacts on our ability to bid because almost all competitive bids are in euros, pounds or dollars. This means that at the time of bidding earlier this year, the exchange rate was such that events and concerts at that time became financially unviable because the dollar or euro equivalent was more than we could absorb. Secondly, events and global brands are asking higher and larger fees because other city destinations are paying larger upfront fees to secure their participation. So a fee last year of R3,5m for an event has now increased to US$1,5m (R9,9m), because that is what another destination paid this global brand. We simply cannot compete at these rates.  While Cape Town seems to enjoy international recognition and awareness as a destination, what we do not have is an increase in enquiries and how to convert this into purchases’.

Groenewald’s Directorate has a massive budget at R560 million, out of the (more…)

The Sweet Service Award goes to Mercedes Benz Culemborg, and their car service booking executive Karen, for her excellent service in organising a replacement pair of windscreen wipers immediately, so that I could drive to the workshop to have them fitted within an hour of calling.  A loose fitting windscreen wiper arm was tightened when it was found that it was not wiping the windscreen on one side. A strong smell of oil, due to another supplier not closing the oil filter cap properly, was fixed as well, without an extra charge.  Karen was previously at the Century City branch, where she gave excellent service too.

The Sour Service Award goes to the V&A Waterfront management, for its lack of response to our Tweets about the poor quality of the new Ladies’ cloakroom which has been moved across the upstairs passage next door to Fabiani.  The previous ladies cloakroom has been closed to create a new shop. The new (ex-Gents) cloakroom is one-quarter the size of the previous Ladies’ cloakroom. Transformation into the Ladies’ loos was incomplete, with tiling not finished, the loo door was sticking, not openable from inside, and there was no toilet paper at 19h00 on 10 April, and the cleaner seemed uncertain as to where she could find more. The toilets were very dirty. Angry men were standing in the passage, looking for their cloakroom, nowhere to be seen nor was it signposted.  When shared with the V&A, the Marketing head Chantelle Cole responded as follows: Thank you for highlighting this with us and I’m sorry to hear about your unpleasant experience. It’s particularly helpful that you have given us a specific time of the incident; we are investigating this further with the shift manager, to understand why it was in this condition. Our maintenance team had already snagged the issues you highlighted regarding the door sticking and the tiles needing replacement; the tiles were damaged during the conversion and will be replaced at night, when the mall is quieter. As you point out, there are only four cubicles and so we opted to have all four operational, rather than close this one to allow for the repairs.  We’re doing a number of exciting changes, including expanding the store space for Superdry and Markhams. To accommodate these extensions, we have had to close one of the toilets. We are building new men and ladies’ toilets near the Post Office, which will be opened in the next few months. We appreciate it has resulted in some inconvenience and we hope our visitors are understanding of this short-term impact. We have prominent signage in place regarding the location of alternate men’s toilets and have signposted the upcoming conversion for the past few weeks in the lead up to this changeover. Thank you again for highlighting this issue and apologies that your tweet was not responded to. This should not have happened and I have discussed this with our social media team, so we don’t have this experience again’.

When replying and asking why the Ladies’ Cloakroom was opened for use whilst substandard and why the signage was so poor, contrary to the V&A’s reply, Ms Cole wrote back, without answering the substandard question, and gave a classic non-Customer Care response to the signage question: Your feedback is noted; yours is the only complaint we’ve received on signage and we have tested it with a few people however we will continue to monitor this’ !  A visit to the ladies’ cloakroom last night (2 May), three weeks later, found the toilet cubicles still untiled, and three basins leaking!

The WhaleTales Sweet & Sour Service Awards are presented every Friday on the WhaleTales blog.  Nominations for the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be sent to Chris von Ulmenstein at info@whalecottage.com.   Past winners of the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be read on the Friday posts of this blog, and in the WhaleTales newsletters on the www.whalecottage.com website.

The Sweet Service Award goes to The Wash, which was nominated by Nicky Farmer: “I immediately thought to nominate as below as this kind of customer service just doesn’t seem to happen as often as it should. On 24 Jan, I had a meeting at the Lifestyle Centre on Kloof Street and I took the opportunity to have my car valeted downstairs at The Wash (021 422 2233). They’re always so friendly and do a pretty good job. It wasn’t until 31 Jan that I opened my wallet to take out my business card and realised it wasn’t there. I got a fright, but immediately calmed down as I hadn’t had any notifications of transactions on my account, so I knew it was safe – probably in a pair of jeans at home or something. I couldn’t find it at all the next day, so I went through my bank statement online and realised that the last time I’d seen my card was at The Wash. I called them immediately, and Malcolm, the Manager said he’d been holding onto it for me, but couldn’t find a number for me in the phone book.  I know it’s a really simple one, but he had such an opportunity to take advantage, but instead played the role of good citizen.  His will be my car wash service of choice moving forward!”

The Sour Service Award goes to the V&A Waterfront, whose Aniem called from the Info Centre to say that a Loyalty card was waiting at its Info Desk, and became cheeky when I told her that it was not business calling time (before 8h30), and a particularly busy breakfast preparation time for us.  She retorted that as I own guest houses, I should answer the calls!  The application for the card was in my personal name, and only the e-mail address referred to the guest house.  The postal address and e-mail address were included in the application, and could have been used to communicate in a less disruptive manner.  After Tweeting about the disruption, the V&A Waterfront Tweeter Emma Jackson rudely defended the action, offered no apology, and set out to purposely personally embarrass me in the Tweet.  Chantelle Cole, Executive Manager: Strategic Marketing of the V&A responded sympathetically for the first time about the regular Twitter abuse by Jackson: I’m so sorry about this, I will raise the issue with our community manager and Info Centre team”. No further communication has been received.  Annemie Liebenberg, the V&A’s head of Tourism, to whom the Info Centre reports, did not return the call about the matter.

The WhaleTales Sweet & Sour Service Awards are presented every Friday on the WhaleTales blog.  Nominations for the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be sent to Chris von Ulmenstein at info@whalecottage.com.   Past winners of the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be read on the Friday posts of this blog, and in the WhaleTales newsletters on the www.whalecottage.com website.

Yesterday I experienced two Cape Town corporations who try to appear to be Social Media savvy in that they Tweet regularly, yet failed in their use of Social Media for the brands that they represent, thereby being guilty of poor customer service.  One wonders why they practice Social Media marketing when they do so only in corporation operation hours!

Customer expectations of corporation reaction have been raised since the introduction of Social Media, consumers having no understanding for corporate staff not working on weekends, after closing time on weekdays, or on public holidays, if their businesses are open to the customer.  A customer complaint especially demands almost immediate reaction.  Social Media is meant to demonstrate the empathy that corporates have for their customers, and to make them appear less …’corporate’! This weekend both Woolworths and the V&A Waterfront demonstrated how customer unfriendly they are via their Social Media practices.

I bought a chicken and avocado low GI sandwich at Woolworths in the Garden’s Centre yesterday morning, and the first bite of it contained a 5 cm long bone.  I Tweeted and Facebooked the photograph, but still have not heard a word of apology from the retailer via Twitter or Facebook.  Someone replied on Twitter that one should be grateful that Woolworths uses real chicken in its sandwiches, which is hardly the point!  Yesterday Woolworths only Tweeted once, at about 10h00!  It has not Tweeted at all today! On most days the corporate lays down its Tweeting mouse at 16h30, not Tweeting until the stores remain open in the evening. By contrast Pick ‘n Pay started Tweeting from about 8h00 yesterday morning, interacting with its customers until 13h00, followed by a few pre-scheduled Tweets in the afternoon. On weekday evenings the retailer stops Tweeting between 20h00 – 21h00, commendable relative to Woolworths, but still not in line with its store operating hours. The volume of Tweets by Pick ‘n Pay exceeds that of Woolworths by far, the latter ignoring most negative feedback it receives via Twitter!

The really annoying interaction was with the V&A Waterfront’s Tweeter Emma Jackson, who has shown abuse of her client’s Twitter account to settle her own scores with others in the past, which we have discussed with the Marketing department of the company.  The aggressive tone has been reduced, yet one can still sense the sarcasm in a number of her Tweets, now being sugary sweet.  On Friday evening the V&A Waterfront disappeared off Twitter for 17 hours, not reTweeting any positive Tweets about the super Salvation Army Christmas Carols, nor reacting to the notification of a serious problem with the street lighting in a section of the Waterfront which most Atlantic Seaboard residents use.  Seventeen hours later the Tweeter thanked us for the feedback and said the lights would be attended to, hardly necessary during the day.  A chain of Tweets, in which Ms Jackson denied that she had not been at her Tweeting post for her client (according to her personal Twitter feed she was at a party) followed, ending in a number of sarcastic and disparaging Tweets being sent from her personal account. Untruthful was her Tweet that the V&A only Tweets at ‘dedicated times’, which defies the object of being on Twitter.   Vituperative Tweeter Sonia Cabano got into the act on her troll Table Mountain and personal accounts, adding fat to the fire.  She should know that abusing one’s client Twitter account to settle personal scores can get one fired, as happened earlier this year when she was managing the Robertsons Social Media account!

Being annoyed with the abuse by Ms Jackson, I called the Waterfront head office, only to be told that the V&A management does not work on weekends (the V&A Waterfront is the largest tourist attraction in the country)! I asked the Information Office of the company to ask the PR Manager Carla White to call me, and provided my phone number.  I received a call, instructing me to e-mail Ms White.  I was shopping, without a laptop, so asked again that she call, so that she could put a stop to the Twitter abuse coming from Ms Jackson.  The request was also Tweeted, and again I was instructed by Tweet to e-mail.  Ms White only called six hours later, indicating that she had spoken to the Info Office as well as to Ms Jackson. She tried to fob me off with an excuse about not calling back, saying she had no phone with her when she went up the mountain for a hike, yet she could have called before then.  She was a poor listener, not allowing me to finish my feedback, harping on the fact that if there was no Twitter response it did not mean that the problem had not been picked up and attended to.  If this was the case, the Waterfront street lighting would have been fixed by 22h30, when we left the cinema on Friday evening.  There has been no further word from Ms White, nor an e-mail of apology.  One certainly got the feeling that Ms White, despite being the company PR Manager, was annoyed about being disturbed on her weekend off, and was surprisingly unprofessional in her handling of the matter!

The V&A Waterfront Tweeter only reacts to the positive Tweets, but rarely to the ones with criticism or problems about the V&A generally, and to specific restaurants and shops.  Poor service experiences at V&A Waterfront stores Exclusive Books, Woolworths, and particularly Willoughby & Co, on Wednesday evening were simply ignored.  A Tweet about the V&A Waterfront’s policy on smoking at events at its Auditorium, especially with children attending the Christmas Carols’ concert in Friday evening, was acknowledged on Saturday morning only, with a promise to have the policy checked.  We are still waiting for the reply!  It is surprising how the V&A Waterfront, having a multitude of Tweet opportunities (Festive Season events, new stores, Christmas gift ideas, its new V&A Market on the Wharf, parking availability, breakfast, lunch, tea, and dinner options, and lots more) rarely Tweets at this busy time of the year.  Funny is how the Tweeter is raving about her clothes shopping at competitor mall Cape Quarter this morning!

Given that corporates like Woolworths have trading hours which are customer friendly over the Festive Season period, one cannot understand that their Tweeters stop Tweeting before their stores close, meaning that customer feedback, good or bad, is completely ignored after 16h30, and is not picked up the next day. Similarly the V&A Waterfront stores close at 22h00, yet its customers are still enjoying its restaurants and other entertainment facilities after this time, and therefore they should be Tweeting until then at least.  They should also keep their promises about getting back with feedback, and not be so ‘Smart Alec’ in their Tweets.

Cape Town Tourism too barely uses Twitter over the festive season days, most of its staff being on leave (what happened to their pay-off line ‘You don’t need a holiday, you need Cape Town’, when their CEO Mariette du Toit-Helmbold holidays in Pringle Bay, and from which she mainly mommy Tweets?).  There are hundreds of proactive Twitter opportunities about Cape Town, to be shared with all the visitors we are expecting over the festive season, yet the volume of Tweeting is extremely low.  Very few Tweets praising aspects of Cape Town are reTweeetd by its Communications and PR Manager Skye Grove, the Cape Town Tourism Tweeter, which is bizarre, given that she should be neutral about what she Tweets, but has proven the opposite in the past!

Hoot Suite and other similar tools are a fantastic way for any business, big or small, to Tweet about its business (for e.g. Woolworths to encourage interest in its Luke Dale-Roberts Christmas range, ‘expiring’ on Christmas Day, yet we have seen no such Tweets), without physically having to be present. Last, but not least, corporate Twitter accounts can not be abused by vindictive Tweeters for their own personal gain. Tweeters should be checked for their tone on their personal Twitter account before being appointed, so that the corporate knows the Tweeting style and personality of its Tweeter (why did Robertsons’ Social Media agency Liquorice not check out Ms Cabano?). One wonders why the V&A Waterfront tolerates its Tweeter, and allows the damage she causes!

POSTSCRIPT 24/12: The V&A Waterfront’s Information Centre Assistant Manager Zulfa Nordien has sent the following e-mail, acknowledging that Twitter is not a foolproof means of reporting problems in the Waterfront.  She has sidestepped the issue of complaints about V&A tenants, and their speed (or lack) of response:

“Thank you for your tweets with regards to the lights that were out on Granger Bay, as well as the smoking in the amphitheatre. The lights had been logged and priority was determined. The issue has been resolved. The Amphitheatre is an open-air public space and smoking cannot be prohibited. We encourage people to be considerate of others when they smoke outdoors.  In the interest of accuracy in your tweets, please note that the Waterfront Management do have weekends off. However, there is always a duty manager and key management are always contactable in the event of an emergency or crisis.  Our Social Media Community Manager will adjust her tone when responding to your tweets.  Please note that if you require an immediate response to any query, please phone our Information Centre on 021 408 7600. Our customer service staff are well versed in all procedures and can escalate a query“.

POSTSCRIPT 24/12: Woolworths was a bit slower to respond, and it was difficult to find someone at Head Office to speak to, most managers appearing to have taken today off as well!  I found Candice Bull in the technical department, and she asked me to drop the packet and bone off at a Woolworths branch, to be sent from there to her at Head Office.  This is what Kim Mulder, Customer Service Email Administrator, wrote:

“Thank you for taking the time to inform us about the problem that you experienced at Woolworths. We are concerned to hear of your experience and will do everything possible to investigate the matter so that we may revert to you with feedback in this regard. If possible, please can you forward us the barcode, purchase date as this will assist us in providing you with accurate feedback. Please advise if you still have the bone available as we would like to have it collected. Kindly provide me with a collection address as we will have a consultant contact you telephonically to arrange the collection. In order for us to keep record of this query please forward us your name and surname as well as your contact numbers (preferably cell phone number). Please note that correspondence will be sent to you as soon as we have received feedback from our suppliers”.

POSTSCRIPT 27/12: Candice Bull has impressed with her service proactiveness, calling today, explaining that the packet with the bone has got lost in their system due to staff being on leave.  I referred her to the photograph in this blogpost, and she immediately recognised the packet as being from Tribeca, the contracted-out in-store café/food to go section. She intimated that this is a regular occurrence.

POSTSCRIPT 27/12: We have received the following reply from the Woolworths Cafê (run by Tribeca): “Thank you,Candice for sending this on to our team.  We will inform the store of the complaint and ensure they follow the correct procedures to ensure this type of incidence does not re-occur ,Abdus ,one of our team members ,will visit the store today to ensure the matter is addressed and the staff are retrained on the deboning process and disciplines”.

POSTSCRIPT 28/12:  Today Shehaam phoned from the Customer Care division of the Woolworths Head Office, and apologised for the incident.  She did explain that the Woolworths Café at Gardens Centre is not operated by Tribeca, but by Woolworths itself.  They will be training their staff in deboning chickens again, she said.  She promised to send a gift voucher by sms for the inconvenience, but it has not yet arrived. Philip, a store manager at the Gardens Centre branch, also called to apologise, and invited me to fetch the voucher from the branch should it not arrive by sms.

POSTSCRIPT 2/1: Chantelle Cole, the V&A Waterfront’s Executive Manager: Strategic Marketing, has finally replied to our complaints about the Twitter, blog, and e-mail abuse received in the past ten days from its Tweeter Emma Jackson, promising that Ms Jackson will no longer Tweet about us on her personal account:

The limitation of the written word is both intention and tone can be misconstrued. Our values are to engage in a professional and respectful way and so it is truly unfortunate that you have felt this to be the contrary. Emma will not engage with you in her personal capacity again’.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: WhaleCottage