Posts Tagged ‘ Consumer ’

Are you Embarrassed to Work for Kodak? I’d be Ashamed

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On 6th March 2011 I wrote a blog explaining how deceptive calling the Kodak ESP9250 a printer is and how dissatisfactory Kodak’s impression of Customer Services had been to that point. I am sorry to say not much has improved and it’s not likely to either until they admit they have a major problem and speak to customers about what matters. I won’t go through the Oct 2010 – March 2011 events or thoughts, I’ll let you read it for yourselves

So where did I leave off, oh yes a rant at Kodak on the blog and via email at the beginning of March.

On Monday 14th March I finally got a phone call from someone at Kodak in the UK offering to help. Unfortunately this was a bad day at work for me; I was winding things up at work so that I could take two-three weeks out of the office for surgery and recovery. I suggested that I would have to call them back a few weeks. But of course that was a touch too difficult for them to understand, they called me back twice. The first time was an hour or so after I had woken from the anaesthetic and then the second time a day or two later, when I still didn’t know my up from down.

I finally called them back at the beginning of April to move things along and yes you guessed it, they hadn’t actually given much thought to resolving the issue despite the detail provided to them, along with the content of the blog which I know they were fully aware of.

After a number of conversations and then several emails with Customer Support staff in the USA on 3rd May I was promised a new replacement printer; a brand new model. It was promised fast in a number of emails, all apologetic about the delay and yet it still didn’t arrive until 25th or 26th of May; 3 full months after I posted the blog and 9 months after I made the initial mistake to buy a Kodak device (I have trouble calling it a printer).

So we have (or did have at the start of last week) the new ESP2170 printer installed and running as advertised or so it seemed.

During the conversations with the Customer Support personnel in the USA I was given a choice of accepting a newer model i.e. the ESP2170, an older model or yet another ESP9250. I think I snorted at that last option.

I asked one qualifying question to the lady I was speaking to; did the cartridges that we had purchased for the ESP9250 fit the new ESP2170. The question was answered in the affirmative. And as a show of good faith a few additional cartridges would be delivered. So I elected to go for the newer model on the basis that we would only have to wait a week. This was important because Mrs F was studying and revising for exams. Her revising techniques called for a lot of printing and without a printer she was in trouble and very very stressed. So you can imagine the relief we both had when the new printer finally turned up and she was able to print, albeit without the extra cartridges promised.

Mrs F then proceeded with her printing and use a full Black cartridge in a day and then tried to replace it with one of the older ones we’d purchased for the ESP9250. So having waited for so long we had a brand new functioning printer…………….for a day.

Yeah you can guess, we’d been lied to and they weren’t compatible at all. I don’t suppose for a minute that this was malicious just, very pathetic and doesnt even come close to the defination of the word ‘service’.

I then sent an email to the one person throughout of all this who has been very responsive and to a large extent reactive, asking him to call me. His name is Ricky Frazier and is a very good Customer Service rep that has to be embarrassed to be working for Kodak. He seems to be doing all he can with inadequate support from the infrastructure he works within.

He promised to send me 3 colour print cartridges as well as 3 colour cartridges along with details of how I could trade the old non-compatible cartridges with new ones that will work and details of which UK retailers stocked them.

I got a confirmation email from him and was also rewarded with further emails from the despatch teams confirm that 3 of each cartridge had been ordered and then expedited. You can image what I was feeling when I opened the package to find only one of each inside.

Not only does their definition of expediting mean sticking the parcel in the post, but it would seem that they cannot count. Just plain stupid.

There have been so many inconsistencies, so many failures and so many untruths told. Many had seen my rants on Twitter including @Kodak. Whoever was monitoring the @kodak mentions contacted me asking if they could help. On the assumption they would be able to concentrate for sentences longer than 140 characters I asked them to read the blog. They didn’t read it or didn’t respond. You can only laugh can’t you?

Whilst I was waiting for the printer to arrive I read this blog post on “How Kodak Learned to Listen to the Social Media Conversation” apparently and of course I commented. Another joke in their repertoire is this article in Amateur Photographer last year.

They really should go on tour.

Anyway today I wrote an email to my mate Ricky and this time copied on the Exec VP responsible for InkJet Printers, Susan Tousi. This time I have asked for a full refund or a replacement with an HP or Lexmark printer. I do not see why after all of this crap I can’t get my money back a formal apology and some kind of compensation. What do you guys think?

So when the tv ad says that they will save my money from draining away, they should try harder to stop their customers from draining away.

I have no confidence in Kodak and do not want to use their products. I do not have any interest or wish to contribute to Kodak’s balance sheet.

I will leave it to you to decide if you wish to.


Recruitment Fraud – Action Needed?

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A week or so ago there was a topic that was posted on The FIRM’s discussion forum that was quite alarming. One of the members, an in-house UK based recruitment manager at a large company had flagged the issue of Recruitment Fraud.

I suspect that label could cover a multitude of sins, some very minor that we might experience every day and some major. This one falls into the latter category. It would appear that criminal gangs have been targeting the jobs market to collect personal information about people. In many of these cases it appears that the perpetrators of such fraud are creating spoof corporate websites and enticing people to apply for jobs through them. Of course the ‘candidates’ think they are applying for legitimate jobs at well known global companies In doing so, the targeted members of the public are asked to provide a range of personal information that would be relevant to a job application, but being given to a criminal company puts them at serious risk.

These fraudsters have also claimed to be able to arrange visas including travel and accommodation, couriers, legal advice or other services. The perpetrators can get quite clever providing alternate contact info for another spoof department or transferring calls. All with the objective of convincing the ‘applicant’ of their legitimacy and to con them into supplying personal information and money in the belief that a legitimate visa will be issued.

In addition the fraudsters have been known to send what appears to be real job offers to these ‘applicants’. In a recent situation one company actually had people turn up to start work. As you can imagine this caused a lot of frustration and disappointment to all involved.

It seems that it is all very convincing with many overseas workers looking to migrate being targeted at potentially great expense to them.

Many companies including RBS, British Airways and Shell ( only did a very brief search) are now putting notices on their corporate careers sites to inform people of how they advertise and the processes they follow during a formal recruitment lifecycle. There is of course no indication that they have been targeted or if they are just acting ahead of the game.

This is a serious issue and thought it wise to raise awareness of the issue to a wider audience and to suggest that everyone starts to think of a page or statement that we can put on their corporate careers web site. Not only are the individuals victims of this but so would your company be if this happened to you or them. It would damage your reputation and the level of trust people have in your corporate, customer/consumer and employer brands.

Many of you will be aware of this, but if not I hope it helps

A Kodak Moment, should’ve gone for LexMark

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In October 2010 I decided to purchase a new multifunction printer, (I needed Wi-Fi) and being mindful of the increasing costs of printer cartridges was quite impressed by the claims of the Kodak ESP 9250 and duly purchased it. The claims they make are quite true, the ink cartridges are far cheaper than other branded makes. What they didn’t tell you is their product isn’t that good in the first place and their Customer Services don’t like dealing with customers.

After only a few weeks I started to run into problems with it. The tray used to print photographs kept jamming as it calibrated itself to the point where it became unusable. FAIL #1

Rather than take a hammer to it out of frustration we took it back to the retailer in December 2010 and asked for an exchange. This, Staples obliged with without much fuss.

On getting the new Kodak ESP 9250 home we had to go through the laborious set up routines and software loads again – why is that the same drivers were already installed on the two laptops from the previous printer? FAIL #2
So we had it set up. All connected to the house Wi-Fi network and both Laptops able to see it. As soon as we went to print, the same problem occurred; the not-needed photo paper tray jammed first time out of the box. FAIL #3

Once we finally got it to work it was fine until we didn’t need to use it for about 15 min, then it just lost Wi-Fi sync and we had to reboot the pcs. I know full well this is not a problem with the Laptops because they are able to connect to other Wi-Fi networked peripherals. FAIL #4

There is clearly a design fault with the printer (well IMHO at least) in respect to the photo-tray jamming all the time and no clear information available to rectify the Wi-Fi issue. Now whilst Staples were very good first time around I thought I’d see if I could find any information online on the Kodak website, but no, nothing helpful. I did send a message to their Customer Services team via a form on the website, but no response. FAIL #5

So being a big user of Twitter I thought I’d use a more direct approach and complained about the issues in a couple of 140 character tweets. I’d given them enough chance to respond hadn’t I? I won’t say that Kodak don’t have anyone listening to online buzz because they seemed to have someone doing it, but whilst Susan under the Twitter profile @KodakPrinters contacted me and asked for my email address, she failed to follow up or respond in anyway once I had sent my email address to her. I tweeted my frustration in the open and directly to her, again no response. FAIL #6

Now you may wonder if I was being rude or abusive and deserved to be ignored. But No I was not. I wasn’t happy and clearly stated how I felt about the level of customer services but I wasn’t and will not be abusive.

So I returned to the Customer Services pages on the Kodak website and sent yet another email to them, this time outlining my frustration not only with their printers, but also with being ignored by what they claim to be Customer Services. Hallelujah!! Finally a response from Ricky in Customer Services in Rochester, NY. Ricky asked me what the problem was then asked me to provide a list of information to him so that he could direct the complaint and problem in the right direction; all the time apologising for the inconvenience. In a further response from him I got a friendly and encouraging email telling me that he had personally passed the complaint and my information onto the UK team, which would be able to help me.

That was on 1st March 2011. Disappointingly I have still to hear from them. FAIL #7

It is clearly obvious to me that the Kodak Eastman company don’t really care about me as a customer, that their Customer Services people need to be retrained, starting with the use of email and phones. Kodak you should be ashamed. A brand once respected is failing to do the simple things.

I am stuck with the Kodak ESP 9250 printer for now. It’ll teach me to go for the cheap option; sadly it was not worth the money I paid for it, which wasn’t that much.

I doubt by venting in this blog will get a positive reaction but it helped get the frustration off my chest and if it saves others from making the same mistake, then great.

With the help of Social Media I met some fab people!

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Warning – This is going to be a long one!

This has been a rather busy week and one that I wish I could re-experience over and over again – it was that much fun. The highlight “day of the week” was definitely Thursday 10th June 2010 which started at 05:00 and didn’t conclude really until I got home again at 23:00. But boy what a buzz the day was; from start to finish I didn’t stop speaking with or listening to people for all but approx 45 minutes and what great people they are too.

So let’s start at the beginning. I had a journey of approx 30-45 mins by car to the train station and then a 1 hour train and Tube journey to get to the first location in London SE1. This is important because getting the choice of music right is essential for setting up the day right. So for those who know me you won’t be surprised to learn that in the car was Boston’s self titled album, with “More Than a Feeling” at a distorting volume, as the livener! So onto the train and I always pick the same few tracks on the iPod for this journey because 4 tracks can get me to where I need to be and in a very relaxed frame of mind. So it has to be 24.33 minutes of Supper’s Ready by Genesis – but the live version from Seconds Out, followed in sequence on the album by Cinema Show and then Dance on a Volcano and Los Endos. And then I arrive at where I need to be! The Start rather then The End actually! Smiling and relaxed but also pumped ready for action.

So why did I get to London SE1for 07:30. I was attending one of the regular Breakfast with The FIRM meetings. Rather than detail The FIRM and its background in this posting I will respectfully point you to Hello world! History of The FIRM – a previous posting. Whilst this older posting paints a picture it does need updating briefly.

True to the founding principles, The Forum for Inhouse Recruitment Managers is exclusive to in-house corporate recruiters or those working in such a capacity on site but for an RPO provider. We are strict – no one else gets in!

Today we have approx 2400 members in 44 countries representing over 1000 companies in approx 100 different market sectors. I won’t labour the background since much can be found elsewhere, either in the About Me page of this Blog or at The FIRM’s Group page on LinkedIn.

Back to the events of Thursday then. In the past we have had sponsors such as LinkedIn, Google, Barkers, 33, SHL, whereas this Breakfast with The FIRM event held at 15 Hatfields, and exclusive to Members of The FIRM was run entirely sponsor-less and allowed us to hear at length from fellow members; sharing experience and concepts. So we had over 50 in-house recruiters plus guests from The Buzz, Recruiter Magazine and UKRecruiter spend 4 hours in each others company. We even ensured that we had free wireless for all and created a hashtag #thefirmbreakfast should people want to use Twitter during the sessions. And of course Keith Robinson duly obliged to keep a worldwide audience updated. The thread is still available on – just search on #thefirmbreakfast for all associated tweets.

The first session of the day was a talk from Paul Maxin, Global Resourcing Director at Unilever on how Unilever has managed its growth through effective use of a global RPO agreement with Accenture.

A very informative and eye-opening presentation – the numbers were huge and impressive. Some, such as the fact that they have made and had accepted 11,309 job offers in one year to March 2010 and achieved customer and candidate satisfaction rating at 80% – globally are staggering, hiring more people in one year than many members have in their global workforce. With RPO Unilever retain control over their Employer Brand, Talent Attraction and Acquisition Strategy and Talent Planning but outsource the operational side of sourcing and managing the talent pool including provision of ATS and CRM tools to Accenture

It was interesting on the day that some people questioned whether the Employer Brand can be effectively promoted and protected when using an RPO provider. I too am not a great fan of RPO, but you have to admit that Unilever gives detractors an idea of how the right choice of RPO partner and the right level and quality of process management will and can deliver effectively and play a crucial part in enhancing the corporate brand. Let’s face it, Unilever are in a more sensitive position than most with the vast majority of their customers being consumers and we all know how fickle we are!

Another very interesting stat that came out of the presentation was that Brazilians wash their hair more often than other nationalities!!! Random I know!

The presentation although only 45 minutes long was packed full of information for the audience, to absorb and consider. It was very clear that whilst the scale of Unilever’s recruiting is challenging, the basics are the same for most other companies; efficiencies, quality, delivery and customer satisfaction amongst others. Thanks Paul.

After a break our second presenter of the day Matt Jeffery Global Director of Talent Brand at Electronic Arts was introduced. He started of by comparing The FIRM to a nefarious organisation and comparing yours truly to Marlon Brando’s Don Corleone character in the Godfather. I found Matt’s comments flattering and honorable; I honestly have no knowledge of his whereabouts today officer!

Matt presented with passion about how EA go about their Attraction and Acquisition processes, a major priority is the emphasis of the EA Employer Brand (EB). He suggested that an EB is not owned by HR, but must be owned by all parts of the business and the workforce must be ambassadors for it. The EB is what others say about you! He explained how EA reinvented their Job Descriptions, ensuring the formats were standardised; clean, easy to read and actually gave the candidates the right information. Matt reminded everyone it is how the candidates read a job description that is important. A Job Description has to be simple and sell whilst conveying the right message at the same time; above all be exciting!

EA use their recruiters to backup the EB and are considered “Marketeers” for the brand, the company and the opportunity. I know this subject has been written about previously in various other blogs. (I have yet to hear a compelling reason why the corporate recruitment function needs to belong to HR. It could be a very interesting debate to have).

Matt went on to give examples of how EA have taken advantage of various Social Media platforms (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Blogs, YouTube etc.) to promote the EB and EA brand, build communities and engage with the potential talent pool, stating that EA ensure it is all about a bilateral relationship rather than just pushing information, by way of one-dimensional job postings to an unknown audience. Each of these channels have seen incredible subscription and follower levels.

An excellent and engaging presentation full of thought-provoking ideas. Thanks Matt.

The final hour of the Breakfast was taken up with a table session where attendees were asked to discuss with each other what major issues they faced or they needed to address going forward. The idea behind this was two-fold; it gave the attendees a chance to openly share ideas with each other as well as give us feedback on what they would like to discuss or hear about at future events.

Members during Table Exercise
Hot Topics that came out of this:

Candidate care;
Recruiter workload;
Social media;
Employer Branding;
Reducing agency spend

Some interesting Breakfasts and Webinars ahead, but it goes to show that with 45 or so companies represented on Thursday we all have similar issues to one extent or another. I would suspect that if we extrapolate across the global membership we’d be see very similar issues elsewhere.

We also wrapped up the whole session by showing the attendees some screen shots of what the new and impending community web site for The FIRM will look like. Watch this space (and others) over the next couple of months for more info. So thanks to everyone for coming and for your continued support of each other – this goes for every member of The FIRM whether you could attend or not and particular thanks and praise to Matt and Paul for their words of encouragement and for taking the time to deliver two outstanding presentations

The next Breakfast by popular demand will be a full day with members and industry thought leaders discussing tactics and ideas along with “how do’s” and “how to’s” around the creation and management of Direct Sourcing Models. Subject to getting sponsors on board and finalised we will be formerly announcing this in the next few weeks – thanks to Vanessa Townsend of Recruiter Magazine for the write up!

So on to lunch!

The rest of the day was spent in company of more friends made via a various social media platforms and what a good advert it was too for the power of connections via people you already know, especially Marianne

Louise Triance, a big supporter of The FIRM and very near neighbour of mine in rural England writes a great newsletter and blog, UKRecruiter, had arranged a social networking gathering for the early evening kicking off at 6.30pm in Holborn, London. With the help of some very generous sponsors this get together, which also had a #recnet Twitter hashtag associated with it was both very enjoyable and very successful. After some introductory comments from Lou, Stephen O’Donnell talked for 5 minutes about the NORA’s and announced that they are now able to accept nominations for this years awards and was followed by Fiona Lander of Lander Associates who talked for a few minutes about motivation.

Whilst I thought I was going to one of the few corporate recruiters amongst a majority of agencies I was very pleasantly surprised by their absence or their good sense at avoiding me!

There were at least 60 people in the small room so as you can imagine the noise level was quite high and as with most of these events people initially gravitate towards people they know. To overcome this Louise came up with the fantastic idea of Speed Networking. Facilitated on the night by Oliver Barrett, we were all asked to find someone we had not met before and then talk to each other for 3 minutes, after which time Oli blew a whistle and we moved on. Great idea and a real ice breaker. Needless to say the usual suspects where there; Matt Alder, Mervyn Dinnen, Gareth Jones, Emma Mirrington, Andy Headworth, Alan Whitford, Simon Lewis, Keith Robinson, Jeremy Snell and was I pleased to meet up with people I didn’t expect to be there, namely Carline Winder of 33, always a pleasure seeing her. On top of that there were two people with whom I had being tweeting for some time, @TheSourceress,(Katherine Robinson), and Wendy Jacob a real pleasure to finally meet two really terrific people. I even got to meet the real @RecruitingDad but my lips are sealed! Then there were all the newbies; @HeatherTravisUK, @sambluesky (Sam Woodwood) and Wendy Cowell of JobServe, thank you all for your conversations and your polite attentiveness – I know I can prattle on!!

A great evening, well organised and well supported, congratulations Louise and thank you!

One of the advance plans for the day was for four of us plus two initiates to slip off for a curry at the wonderful Masala Zone in Covent Garden, however 9pm came and went and tiredness was the decider, so excuses were made and departed to catch the train. As it was I was with Louise and we got to Paddington in time for the slightly delayed train to Reading and the final leg of our journey by car. Despite the fact we were shaking with tiredness we didn’t stop talking all the way home – fantastic day! Finally I got home just before 11pm very tired but buzzing from an awesome day.

Good to meet those I did for the first time, good to see you again for people already well met, I look forward to seeing you all again. Thanks for reading.

End-to-End Recruitment Lifecycle Management – Brand Protection

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In the last posting End-to-End Recruitment Lifecycle Management – Brand Promotion I acknowledged that it was the responsibility of the corporate marketing and PR depts. to promote the corporate brand and also suggested that as Recruiters we have an equal responsibility for doing so. To take it a step further we can promote the brand with as much gusto and enthusiasm but if we forget some of the basics and lose focus we will fail to protect the brand. Some may even goes as far as severely damaging the corporate image and in some cases damning themselves and their company to infamy or worse. Good examples of this could include Gerald Ratner, who in 1991 openly said that the products his jewellery store chain sold were crap! and thus coined the phrase “doing a Ratner” and more recently, a story more closely related to recruiting first reported in the Daily Mail of Mr Karl Winn, boss of a web design company who I referred to previously Recruiters Brand Protection – shameful.

What have these two gentlemen in common? For starters they were probably both successful in promoting the products and services of their respective companies, and for generating different degrees of success. Secondly they both lost the focus of who they are and how they are responsible for continued protection of the corporate image and brand. They both forgot that what they say and do can and will have ramifications. Whilst Ratner’s mistake was meant in jest it still had a disastrous affect on him personally and on the company he founded and grew. As for Winn – well the less said about him the better, eh?

As professional Recruiters we too have a responsibility for ensuring that the employer image we and our colleagues have striven to create is protected. There are many reasons for this, reasons we don’t all think of all of the time, however we need to be mindful that what we say or do – or what we don’t say or don’t do – how we say things and do things can cost your employer money. One thing to be aware of, you cannot create a brand; your customers, your market does that for you, but you can protect it.

I’d like to use the FMCG or Consumer market to provide one example of what I mean. Picture the company has spent millions of dollars developing, launching, marketing and supporting a product that when used is a global market leader, whether it be a washing power, a computer product, a confectionary item or a soft drink. Then think of all of the people, candidates, you speak with on a daily basis and how anyone of them could be a consumer of your company’s product and what decisions they may make based on their interaction with you and your team members.

It all comes down to candidate experience. Each candidate who applies and is considered needs to be made to feel unique by the in-house recruiters and by any agency staff engaged in the process. This all comes down to the levels, timeliness and quality of communications between all parties, how much information is given, how much assistance is given and how much time is spent with them. One objective I speak about a lot is the fact that we need to ensure that every candidate who comes through our process leaves at the end of their journey with a positive feeling about my company, regardless of the result and their success in securing employment with you. We aim to ensure that they will speak highly of us and reapply for another role at another time because they had a good feeling by us.

A word to the wise here – Don’t forget it is our job to process applications and fill Reqs, but please don’t forget that a job application and the prospect of the job with your company could have a significant impact on the life of a candidate, for all kinds of reasons, especially in today’s economic climate. Put yourself in their shoes.

Take the candidate experience into the reference to the FMCG or Consumer Market above and think how a candidate who has been poorly managed and becomes dissatisfied and frustrated by how the application process has gone. It is human nature to associate one experience with another and to generalise. Thus it is not too much of a leap to think that if a candidate has had a poor experience when applying for a job with you he or she may very well have or create a similar opinion about your products. Not only that they are likely to tell their friends and word will get around. It won’t go far in a market context but give enough candidates poor experiences and a reputation can very easily be created. Not only are you likely to alienate some people and put them off applying for jobs with your company but they may chose not to use your products. Don’t forget people are fickle and perception is everything.

As recruiters we can’t do much about the quality or flavour of a soft drink or the performance of a software product, but we can influence the perception of a large portion of the market with our professionalism and by the attention we give to them during a job application process. Our goal is to give someone such a strong and favourable experience that if we are able to offer them a job they will be hungry to accept. If on the other hand we cannot offer them a job we would like to have done such a good job with as much sensitivity as possible, that they will feel confident that they can apply again in the future or at least refer a friend to us.

Simple tips:

• Be honest – do not over sell but feel free to impress
• When telephoning, discuss what they want to do, what they want to achieve, make it about them
• Confirm everything in writing, preferable by email rather than IM or Twitter DM etc
• Provide thorough detailed job descriptions
• Set accurate expectations and with regard to the process and the timelines
• Be clear with interview arrangements and confirm in writing, with a map and directions
• Don’t hide behind the anonymity of your ATS front-end
• Be available to answer any questions they may have in follow up
• Provide details of interviews structure, who interviewers are and their functions
• Follow up for feedback – but make it about them, their opinions, concerns and questions
• Give them feedback
• Be polite at all times
• SMILE! It does come across over the phone I promise you


Sorry it is a bit 101 but I know from many candidates, as well as from reading concerns and complaints many have with their application process and experience, that many of us don’t adhere to basic principals all of the time. There is so much more that you can do and possibly should do. There is much that you will think cant be done for one reason or another, but don’t forget that even as professional recruiters we have all been candidates at some point and chances are we will be so again. How you like would to be treated and what would impress you?