Great Service – Do You Let People Know? A Challenge For You.

When we humans receive good service, we rarely compliment. When we love a product and it is something we use daily, we do not write to the company and tell them how much we love their product. We must make more of an effort to give bouquets of words to people who look after us or manufacture things which make our lives easier and better.

We no longer have an excuse not to do it. Back in the days when you had to use a typewriter or handwrite things, I can understand it took a bit of effort. Most companies have email or websites with contact forms. In the time you can leave a comment on a blog, you can send a compliment to a company. If you love a product you might want to let the company know just how much you love it – or they might stop making it!

It only takes a moment to send a quick email and I challenge you to send one (or more!) today. What would you write? Feel free to copy and paste this and modify it to suit. ;)

Dear (company),

I love (product!) I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy (using it, eating it, drinking it, etc). (if you want to insert something about how you use the product or why it is useful to you, put that here) Keep up the great work!


When we get bad service, most of us complain about it. If we do not complain to the company involved, we will complain to friends, family, even people we don’t know very well but happen to mention to us they are looking for what that company provides. We’ll say “Don’t go to (company) because (info about negative experience)”.

In both cases it is very important to let the company know how their staff are doing. They might have no idea a staff member is constantly leaving customers with a bad taste in their mouths and a dislike for their company. They might not know just how good a job one of their staff is doing in providing good service.

This new place we are moving to, we almost did not get to look at it. We arranged the time to visit the property. I was already daydreaming about BBQ’s on the balcony, sea breezes, beach walks. Yes, I know I said I was going to try not to do that anymore, but I couldn’t help it. I had asked about the cats and the property manager said they would find out if pets were allowed. Just a short time later I got this email –

I have just spoken to (one of the other employees) and he advises that there are strictly no pets at the property. I’m sorry – was there anything else that you were interested in?

Note the excellent last line there, that’s great customer service! Other people might have left it at just the one sentence. Because of that sentence, I replied with more info on what we needed in a property – I had already left details with one of their offices but not the one she worked at, they have two offices here in different coastal towns.

I replied re the cats –

That’s very shortsighted of the landlords, I must say. :( We’re good long term tenants! What if we agreed to put in the lease if our pets did any damage we could pay for it? But realistically that is exactly what they have a security bond for, so..

And that’s where I thought it would end and I was once again feeling a little heartbroken .. but this property manager is very good at her job. The next day I got this email –

I have forwarded your email on to (other employee) – he listed these properties. He has advised me that he will look into your request today. If it is a ruling of the Body Corporate then I don’t think there is much we can do.If not we may still stand a chance. I will keep you informed of the outcome.

And later that day –

I have just heard back from (other employee) and he has advised that the cats will be OK. So do you wish to keep our appointment for Friday afternoon?

Damn right I do! ;) And so we did take a look, though it was with another employee of the company as the property manager was very busy and it was lovely. We put in our application and waited to hear. On Tuesday, a day earlier than we expected, they let us know we were approved.

When we finally got to meet the lady who was responsible for making our dream come true, I thanked her enthusiastically for her efforts, especially re the cats. She is a fellow cat lover, and understood how important it was to us. I’m already putting together a letter to the manager of her company praising her and her service. I’d like to send it before we even get the keys, she made such a great impression on me.

I shall not be leaving bouquets for the current property manager. I wrote about how she may have been leaving the house rolled up in a carpet when she messed me about with inspections back in December. It’s now August and we have not had an inspection since – eight months. I bet the landlord is thrilled – actually I bet he does not know.

When we first moved in here, three things were wrong with the place. We wanted the landlord to put in screen doors so we could open the doors and get a breeze. We NEEDED a vent put into the laundry for the dryer. A light is badly wired – to the point it could potentially cause a fire.

We attended the real estate office and put in a form. We have asked on several occasions re those things. A year and a half later, all we’ve had is excuses and “I’m waiting to hear back from the landlord” – I strongly suspect they have not even bothered to ask. We did expect that the issue which could cause actual damage to the property might be taken care of, but apparently not.

Thus we have been unable to open any of the doors to get a breeze through the house, we had to put the dryer in the garage because it was making such a mess with fluff in the laundry, and we have one light which we cannot use at all.

We became people who just did the things we wanted instead of asking them because we could not get any answers – we installed an air conditioner without their knowledge. We found ourselves in a bad relationship when we’d been so lucky in the past with our landlords.

I am looking forward to getting out of this place so I can write a letter to the manager of the real estate company and tell them how utterly disgusted I am with their service – and that I would never rent from them again, I’ll be advising anyone I know never to rent with them, and as far as buying a house? NO WAY. If it were perfect and had everything we wanted, we would not touch it if their name was on it.

I thought I would share a couple of pics of the new place with you today. I did not take these myself, sorry for the not brilliant quality.


I’m in major overdrive mode here at the moment – I have been replying to comments like a demon today so if you left one (River in particular – please send me your email address!) remember to check back and see my reply to it. :)

I’d like to ask my readers to please forgive me if I’m not replying to comments you’ve made over the next couple of weeks. I am going to try and do it as much as I can but things will be crazy. I will still be reading them and appreciating them just as much as I always do, but I have boxes to pack as well.. ;)

If this post did inspire you to compliment a company for their good customer service, let a company know about bad customer service or write an email about a product you love, please comment and let me know! ;)

customer feedback, move to the beach, renting

Everybody Needs Good Neighbours..

So we’re going from a house back to a “townhouse” when we move. We only have neighbours on one side. The rent on these townhouses is not cheap, they are considered executive so hopefully we will not end up with neighbours like..

Plympton, Adelaide – we were the middle townhouse in a block of 7. On one side we had an elderly lady who owned her townhouse, who was lovely and very quiet and cooked the most amazing smelling food but on the *other* side we had the teenagers just moving out of home for the first time. Loud music, parties every weekend, cars coming and going..

Seaton, Adelaide – we lived in a block of 20+ townhouses on a main road. The road was a terrible neighbour but we got used to it pretty quick. Again with the quiet people on one side, noisy on the other. The noisy were a group of young lads who used to sing along to their music and we got to enjoy it, NOT.

It was in Seaton that I woke up one morning to hear The Other Half on the telephone while Iron Maiden played so clearly and loudly I thought it was in *our* house. At 4:30am. I thought I must be dreaming because The Other Half had called the Police (not the band, the law enforcement types) on a neighbour for the first time ever waking up to that racket.

You know it is bad when The Other Half voluntarily calls the Police – he suffers from what we in the call centre industry named “call reluctance” – a complete inability to make a phone call. He will tolerate pretty much anything – and tell me to call if he can’t handle the noise.

Woodville, Adelaide – We lived in a villa which was attached to the villa next door. I remember Easter Weekend 2005. It was bizarre. Jesus Christ Superstar played at very high volume. I had to hide the Metallica so The Other Half would not scare the neighbours into moving out on the spot.

South Coast, NSW – I’ve spoken before about the noisy neighbours, the barking dog, the screaming kids across the road etc. However last night we had a new adventure. I woke up at 5am to the sound of the car across the road. When I looked outside suspicious goings on were.. well. going on. Cars were being reversed into the driveway. I swore I saw the man across the road carrying what looked to be an upside down tree. He was holding it by the trunk. I figured I might be hallucinating and went back to bed.

This morning, the neighbours across the road have double the amount of plants in their garden. Given all the driving that was going on, I can’t be sure they didn’t steal it from somewhere. Why else would anyone choose to plant things at 5am – in the RAIN? I am not joking!

I will admit, I had just finished an Agatha Christie novel before bed, the other thought was that they’d murdered someone and had to reverse their car in to load a body into the boot. Yes I agree, no more murder mysteries before bedtime. ;)

So today we went to take measurements and the electricity was on and I’m crazy about this place. We get the keys on the 3rd of September. We also measured the distance from the house to the beach – 1km. We’re the first people to live in it. Ever.

We took my Mother, who wasn’t too impressed with the idea of us moving until she saw the place, and now she’s on board. She keeps saying it is very far away – it is 19kms from where we are now. Pretty close by in Australian terms, and we did used to live 1600kms drive from her, and being down the street hasn’t inspired her to walk down here very much so I’m not sure what she’s on about. We’ll probably see more of them when we move! ;)

So for those of you new to the blog who don’t know, today marks the end of three months of searching for this place to move to in our dream location. Some previous posts with photos –

Beach Walk(s) With Photos
My Heart Is Broken – With Pics

This has been a Hump Day Hmmm post – the topic this week is being good neighbors in the world. Please join in, if you feel like you have something to say on this topic. ;)

move to the beach, noise, renting

Living On The Edge.

Finally we found a place we love and want to move into in my dream location. I really hope we get approved for it, but we won’t know until Wednesday next week. It’s about 10 minutes walk from the beach, it’s well soundproofed. The garage doesn’t have a silly post in the middle like this house which makes me happier about parking the car, and I can’t reverse the car out of the garage in this house..

The place is a little smaller in some ways, we’re losing a bedroom and a bathroom. But we’ve never really needed two bathrooms anyway, and the extra bedroom is currently full of The Other Half’s hoarded junk.

It is amazing considering the last time we moved I made him chuck out heaps of junk because we had to pay a lot more to move it interstate. But he’s collected another bunch of it. I may be a digital packrat, but he is a junk packrat.

There’s something I never mentioned to you guys about this house we’re in now. We moved in here in February of 2006, and ever since we have been receiving mail for the previous tenants. It gets old fast. Really old. We would collect it up and once a month mark it all return to sender and put it in the post box. However it still keeps turning up, a year and six months later.

Then, we started to see some strange mail. We don’t open it, but you know those envelopes you can see through? A letter came from the council about their dogs not being registered and that they would be fined. Then we started to get letters from companies chasing them for money. Being the intuitive person that I am – and also able to foresee events coming to me as a surprise from time to time, I said to the other half – next there will be bailiffs knocking on the door.

That finally happened a couple of weeks ago. I wasn’t here but they left a note wanting to talk to us about repossessing our motorbike. We don’t have a motorbike. I rang the guy and explained they didn’t live here, and we then called the rental company, who as usual were absolutely useless and wouldn’t lift a finger to help us. So, we turned to the internet.

It is amazing what you can find out about people just by knowing their name. Our previous tenants own a pharmacy here in town. It’s not the one we use, thankfully. I say that because I spent an entire WEEK cleaning this house before we moved into it. The real estate agents idea of clean and my idea of clean are two different things – it’s not that I was being a clean freak, it is that the house was utterly filthy but you had to look close to see it.

We now know where they live – and we know that house is up for sale and nobody is living there. But at least we can redirect the people looking for money to the pharmacy.

So, I’m counting down the days.. will we be moving? Or not? I’ll let you know as soon as I know. ;)

move to the beach, renting

Door curtains and other useful tips.

The other half spent a quiet hour sewing hems on door curtains the other night. What is a door curtain, I hear you ask? Basically you put a curtain across your doorway so you can keep the door open and still keep the heating or cooling contained within that room. If you live in a house where you are heating or cooling anything, a door curtain can save you some serious money if you can’t shut doors – or if like this house, it has been built open plan without doors in the right places.

Essentially it keeps the heat/cool in the room where you have put it, without having to shut doors. This is perfect for those of us with kitties (make one for your laundry door which is usually where you put the kitty litter, you’ll love it!) who like to have full access to the entire house. You can usually find a suitable kind of material ready made in any fabric store, but if you are crafty you could make your own.

How did we hang it up? There was no curtain rail or anything there, and this is a rental house so we did not want to leave marks. We found a brilliant thing at a local hardware store. I can’t really describe how it works and I can’t remember what it was called, but it is basically a rod you can twist in the middle to extend it and somehow it stays up all on its own. Like magic.

So this house we’re renting is set on a hill, and we get wind drafts into the bedroom and through the front door. Some days the temperature in that room was getting down to 10 degrees C. Quite cold and not very energy efficient because when we go to bed we turn on the reverse cycle aircon to keep the room warm.

We’ve taken some of the left over material from the door curtains and used it to make window curtains in the bedroom. These now cover the two front windows and keep the heat in brilliantly. It is now a small dark warm cave of goodness. I’ll take comfort over fashion anytime and this is almost both, to me. Others may look at it with horror but they don’t have to pay my electricity bills, which fill me with horror and scare the other half’s wallet into getting out the credit cards.

Despite the fact that we have moved states and now pay at least 5 cents less per kwh of electricity used, our bills have been somewhat high – though we do pay extra for green electricity. This house has electric hot water – tip to anyone building NEVER EVER get electric hot water, it is not cheap or good – if you don’t have access to natural gas try LPG or even solar.

I used to work for an electricity company. One of my tasks was to speak with callers about ways to reduce their energy usage. Doing that all day every day inspires one to actually do some of the things one talks about all the time – and at the time one was living in a state where electricity was expensive. So here’s some of the better tips which worked for me.

1. Replace all light globes with energy savers.

Yes, they cost more to purchase at the supermarket but this is the single thing we can all easily do which really saves a lot of energy. Put your maths brain on for a moment. Take your standard 60 watt globe. For every hour you have it turned on, it uses 60 watts. 1,000 watts = 1 kilowatt (1kwh). So with a 60 watt globe, you can run it for just over 16 hours and it will cost you 1kwh of electricity. You can replace your 60 watt globe with a 10 watt energy saver – it has the same amount of light. You will be able to run this for 100 hours for the same cost.

The bottom line – 100 hours vs 16.6 hours =1kwh. 100 hours is a lot better, so go install a bunch of them – and consider going lower than 10w – there are 5w globes out there too.

2. Air conditioning temperatures.

If you have an airconditioner, does yours allow you to set the temperature? If so, you want to go with 24-26 degrees Celsius in summer, and 18-21 degrees in winter.

3. Get rid of old appliances.

If you have a top load washing machine, you’re using a shitload of water. Seriously. For each wash you’d be using between 150-200+ litres of water. If you live in Australia you know we have serious water issues – do something about it. Buy a front load ASAP. Imagine 150-200 one litre milk cartons. Now imagine 50 one litre milk cartons to do the same amount of washing. Plus front loaders are more energy efficient and wash your clothes better.

If you have a beer fridge, turn it off or replace it with a new, more energy efficient version.

If you have an old air conditioner that will really be costing you big money. Purchase a new one if possible.

4. Use door snakes on all external doors.

It can make a huge difference to keeping your home warm in winter and cool in summer. Also consider using door curtains and getting thicker curtains for your windows.

5. I’m not going to tell you to take shorter showers.

However, putting a clock in the bathroom can help you to be mindful of how long you are spending in there. The less time you are in there, the less energy and water used. I know I tend to stand there lost in thought but putting in a clock was useful.

Finally, if you want to do something good for the environment, speak to your energy supplier about green electricity. For example, people in Melbourne can choose to purchase green electricity for as little as one extra dollar per week. Less than one can of coke per week to be completely green? That’s fantastic.

electrical appliances, green electricity, Home, renting

It is entirely possible

that the real estate woman who is supposed to be inspecting these premises will in fact leave bundled up in a rolled up carpet in the back of her vehicle.

I don’t think I blogged about this when it happened back on the 6th, but the woman turned up here to inspect my house at 11am that day. She’d sent me a letter saying the 6th originally, then soon afterwards a new letter arrived saying the 13th, so that was when I was expecting her. Not the 6th, when I was actually fast asleep when she arrived, and the house was not clean, because duh I wasn’t expecting her.

She has a key to the property. I heard her insert the key into the door. For some reason, she did not turn the key, and she left. Then about 3:30pm, I got a pissy voicemail message saying she came here for the inspection and she was “Unable to access the property” – hello? What, couldn’t she manage to turn the key? Was some magnetic force dragging her back to the car? WTF? And the tone of her voice, well I was ready to rip off her head and you know.. leave her running around like a chook with its head cut off.

So I did not call her right away, I calmed down first, with coffee. Then I rang, at 4:55pm, and was put on hold for about 10 minutes, then she gets on the phone, I say who I am. She has the tone, again. She says “When would be a convenient time for you” and the dripping sarcasm on *convenient* almost pushes me to start treating her like I talk to the 419 scammers. However, I have to be nice, right?

So I say “How about Wednesday the 13th of December?” “I actually am not doing any inspections that day” “Oh yes you are” “What do you mean?” “I have a letter here telling me you would be here on the 13th. That’s why I was not expecting you today, on the 6th.” She loses all her pissyness, crumbles into a little ball of “I don’t know how that could have happened, it must be a mistake, the letters are printed automatically”. So we arrange the inspection for today, between 10am and mid-day.

It’s now 15 minutes left till mid-day, no sign of her, and the longer she leaves it the more pissy I get, and the other half is home here with me today and he is starting to get scared. He suggested not long ago that I go for a walk, or take the car and go *shopping*. By myself!

Ooh, the doorbell rings.. back later.

Edit to add – that was the quickest inspection in the history of man, she was here less than 5 minutes. I tried to stay in here. :) So now we can go out, yay!

bitches, renting