Consumers have had enough of bad service being blamed on Covid, new study finds
The old Covid excuse simply won’t fly these days, apparently…
People across Greater Manchester are fed up with bad customer service being blamed on Covid, new research has suggested.
According to the UK Institute of Customer Service, the number of complaints about poor service in the last six months has reached the highest levels since 2009.
Companies are being accused of using the Covid pandemic as an excuse for shoddy customer service, long waits on the telephone and late deliveries, the study found.
The sectors with the biggest issues are transport, and local public services, such as GP surgeries, councils and police services and telecommunications.
The survey, which quizzed 10,000 participants, also detailed how at the start of the pandemic, consumers were tolerant of delays and other issues as businesses fought to cope with the effects of the crisis.
But now that several months have passed, the excuse is no longer deemed as sufficient.
Jo Causon, the CEO of the Institute of Customer Service, said: “Saying ‘because of Covid’ is not a good phrase. Organisations must not hide behind this blanket statement.”
As for a solution?
Well, Causon said that retailers simply need to be honest with their customers about any potential delays so they are aware of how long they might have to wait to inform their decision about what to buy.
She did admit, however, that many businesses had responded admirably to the difficulties created by the pandemic, and that managed queuing systems – such as inviting people to call at quieter times – was one major area of success.
Causon also pointed out that other companies had actually gone out of their way to assist people during the crisis, and that delays in deliveries can be blamed on the Suez Canal crisis in March, not bad customer service.
Three Manchester neighbourhoods named best places to live in UK for 2023
To be fair, they’re not wrong about these three!
The Sunday Times has named three Manchester neighbourhoods in its annual list of the best places to live in the UK 2023 — but it fails to name the best parts about them.
This year, Ancoats, Sale and Stockport have made it onto the prestigious list encompassing quiet market towns and up and coming neighbourhoods, deemed by The Sunday Times as the best places to make your home in the UK.
Once an industrial powerhouse, Ancoats has been regenerated into a hip and trendy neighbourhood filled with urbanites, that often lands itself on ‘coolest places to live’ lists — and rightly so!
The area is nearby the arty Northern Quarter and nestled in next to to the eye-pleasing Islington Marina. It has also been an incubator for Manchester’s best independents and its monthly pop-up markets in Cutting Room Square are a lively sun trap during the warmer months.
Ancoats’ numerous bars make it a must-visit late night destination too. Vietnamese restaurant NAM is just one of the places hosting the city’s most popular selectors in its boombox of a basement bar every weekend.
But oddly, The Sunday Times talks about Deansgate and Castlefield — situated at the opposite end of the city — when suggesting Ancoats as the place to buy. It talks about other great parts of Manchester city centre rather than Ancoats itself.
“No.1 Deansgate carries a cachet and a hefty price tag of about £1.2 million for a three-bedroom penthouse,” the article says, “Castlefield, at the other end of Deansgate, has a cool reputation and is home to the Manchester institution Dukes 92, a buzzing bar and restaurant.”
There is little mention of Ancoats’ many former mills turned trendy apartments, nor do many of its restaurants and bars get a look in. Though the article does mention the ALDI at Urban Exchange, and Michelin star restaurant Mana.
It fails to make any mention of all the places that make Ancoats a great place to live and hang out. Places such as: Erst, Elnecot, Flawd, The Jane Eyre, Sud, Hip Hop Chip Shop, Pollen, The Flat Baker, Rad’s, Blossom Street Social, Rudy’s — or just about any of the other fantastic eating and drinking spots that have people outbidding one another to live there.
The article then goes on to talk about the desirable suburb of Sale, in Trafford. Wedged between Urmston and Altrincham, it often gets overlooked by these two also sought after areas by prospective homebuyers.
Swathes of new businesses have opened up shop here including a second site for Simon Rimmer’s vegetarian restaurant, Greens, Ancoats OG Rudy’s, and Alty favourites Blanchflower and Sud (formerly Sugo).
The Times mentions Sale’s ‘surrounding acres of green space, woodland and waterways giving the town formidable lungfuls of fresh air’ — they’re not wrong about that. It continues: “This Trafford town has top-class schools, a buzzing café scene and is so well connected that you can live here car-free.”
But then it rather strangely mentions Sale Foodhall as a venue to visit, failing to acknowledge its recent closure. Announced earlier this week, the food hall shut its doors due to insurmountable rising costs, something felt deeply across many hospitality businesses operating in today’s climate.
Despite this sad loss to the town, Sale has rightfully earned its space on the list. Manchester is becoming an increasingly desirable place to live in with housing prices still lower than many other parts of the city — especially when compared to down south. Sale’s eclectic cafes, restaurants and independent retail spaces ensure its residents aren’t missing out on too much of the buzz of the city if they choose to stay local.
Many will agree that Stockport earned its place on the list. With plenty of independents and being surrounding by vast beautiful green spaces, it’s no wonder young families choose Stockport to put down roots.
There’s so much to shout about here, and The Times makes that clear, giving kudos to the likes of Rare Mags, Yellowhammer, Hillgate Cakery and Still Life Story Homewares.
It says: “Stockport has engineered a remarkable reinvention in recent years, turning itself from a standard former mill town into a funky, family-friendly alternative to Manchester’s Northern Quarter, a ten-minute train ride away.
“This is where the avocado-brunching millennials move when they have a Lejoux pushchair and are faced with the school run, but still want to live a fashionable life.”
Capital and Centric, the social impact developers who are currently working on transforming Stockport’s Weir Mill into neighbourhood apartments commented on The Times article: “Stockport is finally starting to get its flowers after years of bubbling under the surface, and for good reason.
“There’s so much going on here, whether it’s the rapidly changing skyline thanks to new town centre districts or the indie businesses flourishing despite the challenging economic climate nationally.”
Once a forgotten area of the North West with a small town mentality, Stockport has built a tight knit community of indies.
It offers everything from handmade sustainable fashion at Emiko Studios to sustainable homewares and tropical plants from Emma Nosurak, owner of Stockport’s The Plant Shop and Rare Finds. Even its traditional boozers have benefitted from recent makeovers, as often celebrated over on the Stockport Pints Instagram page, which has a loyal following of almost 10,000 fans.
Now in its 11th year, The Sunday Times’ guide includes 69 other destinations across the UK, with Wadhurst in East Sussex coming out on top this year.
Each place is judged on factors including school, transport, broadband speeds, culture, green spaces and its high streets by a panel who head to each destination on the list – they must’ve missed their train to Ancoats this year, though.
In 2022, Prestwich and Altrincham both made the list, but neither appeared this year. Other North West towns mentioned this year include Rawtenstall in Lancashire, Penrith in Cumbria and Tarporley in Cheshire, which was celebrated for its ‘elegant Georgian high street dotted with ancient coaching inns and cute shops.’
Driver in vintage Ford Sierra Cosworth caught doing 104mph in 30 zone
The driver could now face a hefty fine and lengthy ban
A driver was caught doing 104 mph through a 30 mph zone in a vintage sports car.
The speed camera flashed the white Ford Sierra Cosworth on Albert Royds Street, Rochdale, on Sunday afternoon, March 19th. GMP Traffic posted a picture on their Twitter page with the caption: “Words Fail!”
Responding to the GMP tweet, Councillor Daniel Meredith replied: “Hopefully gets the book thrown at them! Words fail! This is a residential area with children playing. Not Silverstone!”
The driver could now face a hefty fine and lengthy ban. Motorists caught doing high speeds can be hit with a ‘Band C’ offence — the most serious category of driving offence which can lead to driving bans of up to 120 days. Police also have the power to seize the vintage motor.
But the owner will be desperately hoping that doesn’t happen, as last month a rare Sierra Cosworth sold for almost £600,000 at auction.
Below the GMP post, tweeters filled the comments, with one saying: “Regular occurrence on that road. It’s a race track.” And a second typing: “Horrendous. Let’s hope courts back you up and get this clown off the road for a long scratch.”
Though some commenters, with knowledge of the car, jumped in with something less serious to say, as one put: “Probably trying to time travel back to the 1980s.” Another chimed in: “No wonder police couldn’t keep up with these years ago!”
And someone else joked: “Fire up the Quattro!”
McDonald’s brings back iconic Coke glasses in new peel-to-win game with cash prizes
It’s time you win yourself a new set of Coca-Cola glasses!
McDonald’s is launching a new promotional game this month with millions of prizes up for grabs — including cash prizes and the iconic Coke glasses.
The brand new fun promotion is called Winning Sips — where customers can peel back stickers on their McDonald’s packaging and be in with a chance to win prizes including £10,000 in cash, menu favourites, bucket hats, towels, and plenty more.
Launching on March 29th Maccies fans will be familiar with the peel-to-win format. But, as the name suggests, you can only play by purchasing medium or large soft drinks and milkshakes. All you have to do is peel back the sticker to reveal an Instant Win prize, or App Play game piece.
With the App Play game piece, customers will need to use the McDonald’s App — which is free to download from the Google Android or iPhone app stores — to scan the code to be in with a chance of winning.
Those who do this will be automatically entered into a prize draw for the opportunity to receive one of 10 cash prizes of a whopping £10,000. Fans are incredibly excited, especially about potentially winning themselves a new set of Coca-Cola glassware.
One said: “Omg wow remember these.” A second put: “Nostalgia. Reminds me of the ones from when we were younger.” A third joined in saying: “The glasses are back. Brings back memories, this.” While another wrote: “We’re going just to get these. So nostalgic.”
Of course it’s not exactly the same as Monopoly. You won’t be collecting game pieces the same way, and you won’t find any stickers on food items. The competition will be running from 5am on March 29th until 11.59pm on April 25th.
Full list of Winning Sips prizes:
- £200 Cash
- £100 Cash
- £50 Cash
- £20 Cash
- £10 Cash
- £5 Cash
- Sausage & Egg McMuffin
- Hash Brown
- Big Mac
- 6 Chicken McNuggets
- Fruit Bag
- Apple Pie
- Sugar Donut
- A Regular McCafé Hot Drink
- Medium Coca-Cola Zero Sugar
- Medium Milkshake
- Coca-Cola Glasses
- McDonald’s branded Socks
- McDonald’s branded Towels
- McDonald’s branded Bucket Hats
- £10,000 Cash
To enter, simply purchase any medium or large soft drink. These include:
- Coca-Cola Zero Sugar
- Diet Coke
- Sprite Zero
- Coca-Cola Classic
- Fanta Orange
- Chocolate milkshake
- Strawberry milkshake
- Banana milkshake
- Vanilla milkshake
There’s a limit of eight-game entries into the McDonald’s app, so don’t waste your money by trying more than that. You also have to be aged 18 or above to play. Customers have until May 9th, 2023 to claim their free prizes.
Maccies fans worried this is replacing the popular Monopoly promotion don’t need to worry, as it’s still coming ‘later in the year’, although a date has not yet been confirmed.