A little over a year ago I wrote on this very blog about the wonderful Easyjet losing my bags en route to a gig in Belfast (You can find that post here: http://matricardo.blogspot.com/2007/05/easyjet-lost-my-bag.html). Nothing spectacular about that. I was even a little ashamed to be writing about it as, I figure, everyone who (a) writes a blog and (b) flys a lot will have posted a bit of a rant about lost luggage. Tis the way of things. This week, however, this dropped into my email inbox:
"Dear Mr Ricardo,
Your comments on your blog have just been drawn to my attention by someone googling Groundcare Solutions.
I understand that blogging is an interesting way for your fans to follow you however the content gives me cause for concern. It is not for me to comment on how Easyjet would view your blog but it has implied determent to my company Groundcare Solutions.
It does not appear from your blog that you actually have any complaints with GCS but it is implied that on receipt of your luggage from the handling agent at LGW we did not conduct our delivery service to your satisfaction.
Unfortunately luggage does go missing, lots of it, but when you consider the volume of travellers worldwide it is minuscule. In all the years we have been trading we have received 2 complaints neither from yourself. It would have been appreciated that if you had a complaint against GCS that we were given the opportunity to address it with you directly.
Despite this incident being over 12 months old If you do have a complaint with GCS please raise them with me directly so that I may investigate please bear in mind information on your specific file will be limited. I would like to assure you that we operate an on going staff training programme and put relevant training in place if it is found to be required.
If you wish me to investigate further please contact me directly and revise any negatively implied comments on your blog re Groundcare Solutions."
Apart from the hilarious assumption that I have fans, this raises many thoughts.
My comments were, apparently, drawn to their attention by someone googling the name of their company. I think we've all been there - bored and sat in front of your computer, googling your own name in a slightly shameful fit of curious vanity. Never thought that people did it for the name of their company though. Unless it's someone's job. Some kind of P.R. person given the mission of "gauging public perception of their company through new media feedback and creating/managing buzz in the blogosphere" or some such codswallop.
Either way, I enjoyed the gentle threat of "It is not for me to comment on how Easyjet would view your blog". No, it's not. But you kinda did, didn't you. With a bit of a tut tut, and a glance over the tops of your glasses. Honestly, I would imagine that Easyjet would have better things to do than worry about the whinging of a tired, cynical old juggler on a blog that has less readers than your average Rubik's Snake fanzine. They're thick-skinned. They've had worse criticisms and I'm sure they'll be fine. They didn't email me. Groundcare Solutions did, however.
The thing is, if you go back and read my piece, I hardly attacked Groundcare Solutions at all. Pretty much all of my whining was directed at the pretty ropey customer service I received from Easyjet, together with the chaos of neither company being able to comunicate effectively with the other. I didn't say, or even imply, anything bad specifically about Groundcare Solutions, except that the driver who finally delivered my bags admitted he was late because he hadn't actually been to London before, which is, obviously, funny. Even that wasn't an opinion or an implication, it was a fact, unless he was lying, in which case don't employ lying drivers.
I had very little bad to say at all about Groundcare Solutions in my original piece.
I do now, though.
Groundcare Solutions told me that they found this blog by googling the words "Groundcare Solutions", which is why I have worked very hard to include those words as many times as I could in this post, to attract their googling little eyes again.
So safe in the knowledge that they're reading (and honestly, they must realise I'm going to write another piece about this, surely), here's an open letter to the little scamps:
You probably thought it was a good move to, once you'd had my blog brought to your attention, go to my website, find my email address and get in touch. Problem was your email had a tone of surliness to it, implying that I might be in trouble if Easyjet found out I had a gall to write about a bad experience, ticking me off for not being one of the two people to ever lodge a complaint, suggesting that I "revise any negatively implied comments". Not friendly. If you're going to get in touch to try to revise someone's opinions of you, then be nice, otherwise really, why bother?
"Unfortuately luggage does go missing", you write, "Lots of it". I know. I travel a lot. Saying that doesn't help. It just makes you sound patronising. Treat each customer like they're special, don't remind them that they're just a tiny part of a crowd, and that most of the others are just peachy.
"I would like to assure you that we operate an on going staff training programme and put relevant training in place if it is found to be required."
Allow me to help with that. Take the person who spends their time googling your company name just in case a blogger implied something you don't like, and, if they've been to London more than once, make them a driver.