Sunday, 1 September 2013


I've had a lovely summer. After a couple of weeks on the beach (both figuratively and actually), I have spent the rest of the time in Europe either working or marketing (although I prefer to think of it as hustling for work). 

This, of course, has involved quite a lot of travel. Since my work in the months leading up to July had a lot of UK travel, I've been in a position to compare UK & European travel. 

The first thing that seems to surprise friends I have spoken with already is that train travel in the UK is no worse than in England - and is often a bit better. I'm typing this blog on a train from Caen to Paris. The connecting train was 40 minutes late and there wasn't a word of explanation or apology.  The train was starting from Caen and so I can see no reason for it to leave 5 minutes late - and again there is no explanation. At least with UK trains, you are usually inundated with messages giving a reason for the delay. 

The second thing I've noticed - in the UK and in Europe - is that most stations of any size advertise free WiFi or have a free WiFi signal available. In most cases they don't work - either you can't log on or the logging system is broken or  simply nothing happens. 

My point? Simple - just deliver on your promises. When I book a train leaving at 11:36 and arriving at 13:15 I, possibly foolishly, expect that the train will leave at 11:36. That was the deal and no amount of tea & coffee and music at the waiting area is going to disguise the fact that the operating company has failed in its most basic requirement. 

The same is true with WiFi. If you're going to supply it, then make sure it's working. If I ever mention the fact that the WiFi isn't working (and I've generally given up now) it is usually impossible to find anyone to take ownership of the problem (as we consultants say). 

Now, these are, I am happy to admit, very first world problems. It is, however, worth thinking about, I suggest. How does this work with your own enterprise? If you're a barrister in chambers are you delivering on the basic requirements of your clients? Do you even know what they are? At this point, too, let me categorically state that if you have not asked your clients, you might well have no idea what they think is a basic requirement. 

So today's lesson - deliver on your promises and deliver for your client. It's not complicated.

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