It’s always a predicament isn’t it, when someone puts you on the spot and asks: “So, what do you do?”…
Now, I know that my days are filled to the brim, that I feel like I turn up for work on a Monday morning and leave the same day on Friday afternoon, that I can log onto my computer at 8am some mornings and not even realise it’s 2pm except for the rumbling noise my stomach is making and that I sit at my desk wishing for a few more hours in the day and never a few less. But, when someone asks me what it is that I actually do I go blank…unable to be articulate about anything I do at all.
It is partly for that reason that I jumped at the chance to write this blog. So, for anyone who has ever wondered what it is that we do I hope you enjoy this brief and reasonably light hearted insight. You’ll also get to hear from some other members of our customer service team with their news and views and, if you’re lucky, some of the weird and wonderful things we hear.
This time of year is always busy for us, particularly if we have some (ever elusive) early sunshine and, having seen through the Winter Stoppage Season and the annual Gold Licence renewals, we’re pretty keen to get the cruising season underway along with all the excitement it brings. It’s possible for the volume of calls we receive to increase by as much as 150% between December and May so we really do have to prepare ourselves in advance and ‘organised efficiency’ is definitely our motto for the spring and summer months.
We’ve said some ‘goodbyes’ and ‘hellos’ in the team recently; Sian, our team manager, has started her maternity leave and we’re all anxiously awaiting news on the new arrival (aptly named baby Rose or baby Jim by the rest of us). We suspect that Sian’s finding it hard to let go, as a self-confessed control freak, she’s still very much in touch and keeping the team on their toes. Katie has stepped up (with vigour) to take Sian’s place and, having completed her training with Debbie, Natalie has joined us.
Because of the complexity of the Trust as an organisation it’s almost impossible to train someone to handle every type of enquiry. We certainly do get asked some very odd questions and have to deal with some unusual situations…the crocodile in the Regents Canal and the towpath ‘naturist’ who wore nothing but a backpack and work belt are just a couple of examples which spring to mind.
Last month we’ve also been out and about. After the breach on the Trent & Mersey at Dutton we received, and still receive, lots of calls enquiring about it and the progress being made to fix it so we took a trip down there to see for ourselves. Some of you may have read our account of the visit. Having seen the repair works for ourselves we’re much better equipped to answer any questions you might have.
Back at the end of March we really weren’t expecting 10 inches of snow to fall overnight. While the determination, commitment and dedication of the team never ceases to amaze it was even more evident the morning after this snowfall. Everyone in the team made it in to work and Debbie, who was covering the calls from 8am, was so determined not to be late that she abandoned her car in the car park (the picture's at the top of the page - note that it is the only one there!).
And I’ll leave you with the tale of the lady who had downloaded our ‘Gold Licence Information’ sheet from the website. She called because she couldn’t understand why it was asking for details of her boat when she didn’t have a boat. After several minutes and quite a lot of confused interrogation she finally asked: “But why do I have to have a boat to search for gold?” (yes, seriously) then the penny dropped…
Sarina joined us in 2008 as our customer services co-ordinator. Among other things, she manages our national customer service team, complaints procedure and requests for information made to the Trust. She says that the most important thing to her is to be able to go home and feel as though she’s achieved something, however small that might be. Her job is hugely satisfying, widely varied, full of deadlines, immensely interesting, sometimes challenging and no day is ever the same, although some are surprisingly familiar!See more blogs from Sarina Young