The parable of the good refund

How comfortable is your driving space? [Note the new team sponsor]
How comfortable is your driving space? Note the new team sponsor for Team Lotus

One of the things I have quickly realised in my new role as a Regional Minister is that I am going to be spending a lot of time in my car. And I have recognised that if I am going to be spending a lot of time in the car it makes sense to ensure that it’s as comfortable an environment as possible.

I don’t mean that I will be installing a foot spa and replacing the seat with an armchair. But it is sensible to make sure that things that I will need are within reach – so that the phone holder is in a sensible place, I have space in the door pocket for Werther’s Originals (other sweets are available) and so on. In finding a sensible place for my mobile phone I also need to make sure that if I am going to use it I am doing so legally.

In the spirit of making my car accommodation as nice as possible and being compliant with the law I bought a hands-free unit that links to my phone by Bluetooth* and also sends a local FM signal that my car radio can pick up. This means that I can stream music from my phone through the gadget to play through my car stereo speakers – enhancing and personalising my listening experience beyond the slightly less flexible CDs or impersonal Radio. It also means that when I get a call the gadget mutes the music and I can hear the call through the car stereo.

The gadget I ordered was not the most expensive on the market but it worked fine.

For about a month.

Then it became intermittent in connecting to the phone. Finally it stopped switching on altogether.

The problem was that part of the unit is supposed to be detachable so it can be placed in the most convenient place in the car, and that part of the unit is also rechargeable. However for some technical reason it stopped recharging. I contacted the seller and they advised about some possible ways to reboot it but those processes failed to reawaken the unit. So I contacted the seller again and asked what I should do.

Without hesitation the seller said that they would either replace the item or give a full refund. Because I was no longer confident with the gadget I asked for a refund and it happened almost immediately. That sort of customer service makes me much more likely to reuse that seller in the future. (For those who will worry about these things I have ordered a new (better) gadget).

So if this is some sort of parable, what’s the message?

All good parables sit in the reader’s mind gently ticking away until PING!’ a lightbulb goes off in the head. (lovely mixed metaphor there). For that reason I am reluctant to give you the answer. But I will give you some questions:

How well do you recharge, and to what or whom do you connect to do that?

How do you respond to complaints?

How likely is it that your attitude to others will attract or repel?

Be blessed, be a blessing

*Did you know that Bluetooth is so-called in honour of the 10th century Norse king Harald Bluetooth (see here for more)? It’s nice to think that in a millennium’s time there will be a communication standard called ‘Queen Elizabeth 2’…

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